Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

Child and adolescent psychiatry is a demanding field with strong job prospects that involves the diagnosis and treatment of emotional problems and mental illness in children and teenagers. Read on to learn more about career and educational options, earnings and licensing for psychiatrists.

Is Child and Adolescent Psychiatry For Me?

Career Overview

Child and adolescent psychiatry is a niche profession within the broader scope of psychiatry that specializes in helping children and teenagers overcome severe stress, depression and other mental disorders. Your day-to-day tasks as a child and adolescent psychiatrist might include conducting talk therapy sessions with patients in individual or group settings, administering medical tests, prescribing medication and completing insurance paperwork. You'll also have to stay up-to-date with the latest medical advancements. To work in the field, you should be emotionally stable, possess strong communication skills and be willing to spend many years completing your educational training.

Employment and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for all physicians, including psychiatrists, was expected to grow by 18%, or much faster than average, over the 2012-2022 decade. Positions for child and adolescent psychiatrists exist in children's hospitals, youth facilities, schools, private practices and other health programs. As of May 2013, psychiatrists earned a mean annual salary of $182,660 (

How Can I Work in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry?

Educational Requirements

If you're interested in becoming a licensed child psychiatrist or adolescent psychiatrist, you'll need to earn a doctoral degree in psychiatry. Alternative requirements include a medical degree, followed by at least three years of internship and residency work. As a doctoral student, your course load could include topics in research design and analysis, cognitive and behavioral therapies, psychotherapy and personality assessment. You may also pursue topics in learning and emotion. Prior to entering graduate or medical school, you might earn a bachelor's degree in psychology, biology, chemistry or physics.


Upon graduating from medical school and completing a residency program, you'll be ready for a career as a licensed psychiatrist, clinician, researcher or professor. According to the BLS, all states require medical doctors, including psychiatrists, to be licensed. Requirements include passing the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE). Once you are licensed, you can complete the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology's certification exam and assessment process and achieve board certification status.

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