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Quick Facts: Psychiatry Industry

Median Pay:   $79,743 per year | $38 per hour
Entry-Level Education:   Doctoral or professional degree

Psychiatry Occupations:

  • Psychiatrists$181,880
  • Psychiatric technicians$31,130
  • Psychiatric aides$26,220

Online Psychiatry Degrees

Often confused with psychology, a very similar study, psychiatry is a field that works to understand, diagnose and treat mental illnesses of all types. Working as a psychiatrist can be intense as well as fulfilling, and the rewards range from knowing that your work truly helps people live better lives to lucrative salaries. If you have an interest in one day working as a practicing psychiatrist, follow these steps to achieve your career aspirations.

The first step on the path to becoming a psychiatrist is earning a bachelor's degree. Psychiatrists need to attend medical school, and a prerequisite of being accepted into a medical school of any kind is having a bachelor's degree with an impressive grade point average.

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Although it is not necessary that you study psychiatry at the undergraduate level, choosing a similar major like psychology or anatomy might be a helpful way to start preparing for the challenges of medical school. Typically, your bachelor's degree will take four years to complete, and it can be earned online as well as on a traditional college campus setting.

Earn Your Doctorate in Psychiatry

After graduating with your bachelor's degree, the next step will be applying to a medical school, getting accepted and beginning your Doctor of Medicine. This typically takes an additional four years to complete, and it provides aspiring psychiatrists with the foundation they need to secure careers in the medical field after graduation.

During your time in medical school, you should expect to study subjects like anatomy, physiology, histology, biochemistry and advanced psychology. You will also work through common mental disorders, popular methods for treatment and communication methods for patients. 

Get Experience Through Residency Training

After completing medical school, you won't yet be able to work as a practicing psychiatrist until you have gained practical experience in the field, which typically comes in the form of residency training. Your residency will take place in a hospital, and it requires an additional four years of hard work.

You will have the opportunity to meet directly with patients, diagnose them and watch experts in the field. This is a challenging time for many individuals, but the results are well worth the hard work.

Become Licensed and Board-Certified

At the completion of your hospital residency, you will have spent a minimum of 12 years preparing for your role as a psychiatrist. However, there are still a few more steps between you and your new career.

You will need to sit for the exam proctored by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology in order to become licensed. Then, you'll need to register with the Drug Enforcement Administration in order to prescribe narcotics to patients. You can also become board-certified for even better credentials.

Becoming a psychiatrist is a long road, but the rewards include an impressive salary and a respected position within the medical community.