How to Become a Psychiatrist

A psychiatrist is a doctor who specializes in diagnosing, treating and preventing mental illness. It is a field that is constantly evolving with new treatments frequently in development, meaning that becoming a psychiatrist requires a great deal of time and devotion. Psychiatrists are often life-long learners, continually keeping up with new research and techniques in order to provide the best possible care to people in need. The field has a growing requirement for trained professionals due to the influx of people suffering with mental health issues. The job market is predicted to increase steadily over the coming years. To become a psychiatrist, you must first complete the necessary education and training. Read on to learn more about what you can expect throughout the process.

How to Become a Psychiatrist

A psychiatrist's role is to assess a patient's symptoms using interviews, psychological testing, and observation. Based on the assessment, they will develop a treatment plan, which may include medication, psychotherapy, or hospitalization. Psychiatrists can also advise on factors such as diet, sleep, or general health to help their patients with issues related to their mental illness. In addition to diagnosing and treating mental disorders, some psychiatrists also play a crucial role in researching mental health. They can be involved in researching the causes of mental disorders and developing new treatments for them.
What skills are required to become a Psychiatrist?
Successful psychiatrists possess a number of different skills. Below are the main traits a psychiatrist should have;
● Excellent oral and written communication.
● A calm manner and the ability to work well under pressure.
● Problem-solving skills.
● High level of sensitivity towards patient troubles.
● The ability to manage a wide range of relationships with patients, families, and colleagues.
● Able to maintain confidentiality and adhere to strict ethical guidelines. ● Have a good working knowledge of mental health disorders and the various treatments.

Psychiatrist Salary

There is a wide fluctuation in salaries among psychiatrists due to the many different fields included in the title. But as a rough guide of the higher-end salaries; professionals who work for government bodies are likely to earn around $255,000 annually, working in outpatient facilities sees an annual pay of approximately $250,000, and residential psychiatry work will see you earning about $240,000.
However, it is essential to note that experience plays a vital role in how much you will earn in this field and which state you work in. Fresh graduate professionals can expect to earn around $194,000, practitioners with 5-9 years of experience will sit around $205,000, and individuals with 20+ years of experience will gross more at $237,000.


The path to become a professional in this industry is long, demanding and expensive. There are numerous steps that you need to follow before starting your career.
Graduate college
To get into medical school, you will first need to complete your college education. You are suggested to focus on pre-med, psychology and physical sciences. However, people are sometimes known to get into medical school even when they haven't studied one of these topics. There are also specialist colleges offering courses directly aimed at students wanting to continue into psychiatry.
The MCAT is the Medical College Admission Test and is requirement if you want to study further. The best possible score you can get is 528 points. However, most schools accept a score of anything over 511 points. The test itself is and includes four sections and lasts 7.5 hours. Sections include:
● Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems
● Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems
● Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior ● Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills
Graduate medical school
Generally, this will take around four years. Put in as much effort as you can! High grades can increase your chances of getting your preferred residency.
Apply to be a licenced doctor & complete your residency
When applying to become a licensed doctor, be sure to register in the state where you want to complete your residency or where you intend to practice in the future.
When you apply, it is likely that you will have to take an exam; there may be some other requirements such as background checks. Residencies are carried out in a medical setting so you can get on the job experience of the role. They usually take around four years to complete.
Licencing & Board certification You will now need to earn your license to practise psychiatry. All states have their own set of unique rules and examinations. It is not mandatory, but if you wish you can also receive a certification from the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN) at this point.


It takes years of hard work and dedication to master the skills needed to help people struggling with mental health issues. But it’s worth it. The feeling of helping people change their life for the better is what drives many psychiatrists to persevere even when things get tough. If this role sounds like something you want to do, start planning your journey. The sooner you begin, the sooner you can be on your way to helping others heal their minds and find peace in themselves.


Is becoming a psychiatrist hard? Becoming a psychiatrist is no easy feat. It requires years of rigorous study, training, and testing. And once qualified, there will be constant on-the-job education to keep up with the latest treatments and studies in the field.
How long do psychiatrists go to med school? Med school itself takes around five years. However, it is worth noting that you will also need to graduate college beforehand (2 years) and then complete a specialized residency for further training afterward (4 years).
Do you get paid during residency? Psychiatry residents do typically receive a salary during their training. The amount of money you earn will vary depending on the facility you train at and your experience level. The pay tends to increase as you complete each year. So, when you become a third-year resident, you will earn more than when you first started as a first-year resident. Some facilities also offer additional benefits, such as health insurance and paid vacation.
Can I be a psychiatrist without med school? Unfortunately, no. Due to the complexity and importance of the role, you will need to complete medical school and all other relevant training if you want to become a practicing psychiatrist. While the process may be lengthy and strenuous, it is necessary to ensure that patients receive the best possible care.