Psychiatrist: are physicians who specialize in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of mental, addictive, and emotional diseases rather than physical ailments.

A psychiatrist is able to understand the biologic, psychologic, and social components of illness, and therefore is uniquely qualified to treat the whole person.

Quick Facts

Competitiveness: Low

Length of training: 4 years

Number of residency programs: 181

Number of residents in training: 4,769

Number in U.S. currently Board Certified in specialty: 32,206

First year median compensation: $158,275

Mean number of hours per week in patient care activities: 42.3

Residency Information

Residency training in psychiatry is 4 years, you will need upto 2 years of additional training to subspecialize in the following:
  • Addiction Psychiatry
  • Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
  • Clinical Neurophysiology
  • Forensic Psychiatry
  • Geriatric Psychiatry
  • Hospice and Palliative Medicine
  • Neurodevelopmental Disabilities
  • Neuromuscular Medicine
  • Pain Medicine
  • Psychosomatic Medicine
  • Sleep Medicine
  • Vascular Neurology

Why Choose

Many psychiatry residents were considering a mental health care even before entering medical school, but a lot thought they would be family physicians.

It was their clerkship which positively attracted them to this specialty, the lectures and faculty were interesting; many liked the combination of science, psychology and sociology while in college, and this field allows for them to continue this combination of experiences.

Typical Psychiatrist Schedule

Your schedule will vary depending on your practice setting. If you are in a general practice you will split time between seeing patients in the office as well as at the hospital. If a staff member of the hospital your schedule is more concrete and may include leading group sessions and working with multidisciplinary teams.

Your on-call schedule will be for your own patients and the emergency room, but rarely will you have to leave home.

Overall, your schedule will be less disruptive than in other specialties.

If You're Interested

In this specialty you need to be comfortable asking questions on very personal topics and having patients answer truthfully. Although there is more scientific emphasis in psychiatry it is good to have clinical experience in cardiology, neurology, and endocrinology.

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