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Due to the stress of everyday life and the current coronavirus situation, it’s no surprise that psychiatrist jobs are in high demand. Psychiatrists are medical experts who diagnose and treat individuals with mental disease. Some of these illnesses include bipolar disorder, addiction, eating disorders, schizophrenia, and depression. 

In this article, you will be able to find out what psychiatrists actually do, what qualities are required to be successful in this field, what type of education does one need, and whether this is a career choice worth pursuing. 

About Psychiatrist Jobs

What Do Psychiatrists Do?

Psychiatrists focus on diagnosing and treating illnesses of the human mind. They make diagnoses by assessing the physical and mental symptoms of their patients. Furthermore, psychiatrists work with patients to develop effective management plans for optimal treatment and recovery. 

All of the different types of psychiatry jobs include providing patients with psychological treatment, performing different procedures, and prescribing medications. 

Here are some of the most frequent reasons why individuals may consider seeking out the help of a psychiatrist:

  • Anxiety, fear, or worry
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Difficulties adjusting after stressful life events
  • Self-harm
  • Thoughts of hurting others
  • Having too much energy or not enough
  • Obsessive thinking
  • Constant negative thinking
  • Nervousness 
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Disjointed thoughts
  • Addiction (alcohol, drugs, porn, gambling) 
  • Bulimia/Anorexia
  • Trouble focusing
  • Insomnia
  • Childhood trauma

Psychiatrist Career Info and Duties

Psychiatrists are obligated to:

  • Direct, administer, or prescribe psychotherapeutic medications to treat different types of disorders (mental, behavioral, or emotional).
  • Collect patient records and information (including medical or social history).
  • Create individualized care plans by utilizing different treatments.
  • Work together with a team of psychologists, physicians, psychiatric nurses, and social workers to discuss treatment plans. 
  • Evaluate and analyze test findings and patient data— a key part of performing psychiatrist jobs
  • Conduct and examine diagnostic or lab tests on patients. 
  • Counsel other patients (or outpatients) during their office hours. 
  • Inform patients’ relatives, guardians, and close ones about the progress of treatment. 
  • Teach, take class, conduct research, and attend seminars and conferences. 
  • Submit summaries or case reports to mental health or government institutions. 

Psychiatrists help patients with mental health issues that are difficult or complex to diagnose, involve suicidal plans or ideas, and happen suddenly and/or are severe. Furthermore, psychiatrists help if a patient is not responding to typical treatment. 

Psychiatrist Job Types

The field of psychiatry has a lot of fellowships or subspecialties that require added training certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. Some of these include:

  • Forensic psychiatry
  • Clinical neurophysiology
  • Geriatric psychiatry
  • Child and adolescent psychiatry
  • Addiction psychiatry
  • Pain management
  • Consultation-liaison psychiatry
  • Brain injury medicine
  • Sleep medicine
  • Emergency psychiatry
  • Cross-cultural psychiatry
  • Military psychiatry
  • Sports psychiatry

Professionals in pediatric psychiatry focus on helping certain age groups, which, in this case, are children with psychological issues. Conversely, experts in geriatric psychiatry jobs work with the elderly. 

Professionals who practise psychotherapy in the workplace are called occupational psychiatrists. And forensic psychiatry jobs involve professionals who report to the judge and jury in both civil and criminal court cases.

Work Environment

Typically, psychiatrists are employed in private and public hospitals, private consulting rooms, and community mental health services. These professionals are also involved with different types of psychiatry research jobs; they provide expert advice on legal matters and may also teach. Psychiatrists can also be employed in universities, research centers, and government departments.

Professionals in this field of work sometimes take on a couple of different roles at once. For instance, psychiatrists may spend one part of their workday at a private or public hospital, and they may spend the rest of it rest working privately.

About 50% of the psychiatrists in the US keep private practices and work in a number of different settings. Moreover, there are around 45,000 jobs in psychiatry in the United States alone. 

Injuries and Illnesses 

Due to COVID-19, many psychiatrists work longer hours than usual, which leads to additional stress and increased workloads. Since the beginning of the pandemic, psychiatrists have been experiencing work-related anxiety, depression, and stress. Increased responsibility, meeting targets and deadlines, and lack of restructuring and support are the main causes of stress among psychiatrists. 

Since psychiatrists frequently work with people who have severe mental illnesses, they are at a higher risk of being exposed to acts of violence or physical threats. According to what American Journal of Psychiatry has to say on the topic of jobs for a psychiatrist, more than 30% of experts in this profession claim they have been assaulted by a patient at least once during their careers. 

Work Schedules

The everyday schedules of psychiatrists vary depending on the employment setting and the area of practice. For professionals working in medical settings such as drug abuse treatment centers or hospitals, the day typically begins by performing rounds, which means checking on every patient individually. Also, many psychologists are on-call for emergencies. 

The recent psychiatrist career information reveals that the workdays of psychiatrists who work privately and in other settings are usually filled with individual appointments. Furthermore, these medical professionals may also be involved in other additional activities, depending on the areas of interest and the sphere of practice.

How to Become a Psychiatrist

In order to venture on the journey of becoming a psychiatrist, one needs to earn a degree from a medical school. During medical school, students are required to attain a bachelor’s degree, followed by a positive score on the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT). Furthermore, participants of medical school programs should expect to devote a minimum of 4-5 years of their life to supervised clinical training and future education. 

If you want to become a psychiatrist, one of the job requirements includes completing a residency. Please read the rest of this overview to find out more about the requirements for future psychiatrists in terms of education.

Psychiatrist Career — Essential Qualities

There are a couple of important qualities potential candidates must possess before deciding to step on the path to becoming a competent psychiatrist. These are the following: 

  • Empathy
  • Good observational and listening skills
  • The ability to educate patients and their families on treatments and diagnoses
  • Depth of knowledge
  • Personal and professional humility (essential for psychiatry jobs)
  • The ability to address accompanying or underlying symptoms
  • Holistic thinking 
  • Accessibility
  • Positivity

Psychiatrist Job Requirements and Education

Typically, psychiatrists must do a minimum of 11 years of training or more. To become a psychiatrist, one must first attain a Bachelor’s degree at an accredited institution. When preparing for medical school, students should focus on physical sciences, psychology, pre-med, or a blend of the three. 

Keep in mind that students who are majoring in psychology will highly likely take courses such as developmental psychology, abnormal psychology, statistics, biopsychology, and ethics. Also, remember that admissions at medical schools are extremely competitive. So, for example, if you are interested in addiction, the psychiatry jobs you can find in that area require the highest level of skill and education. 

Students who successfully enter medical school can select between the Doctor of Medicine (MD) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) programs to become psychiatrists. No matter which degree students choose, they can expect to finish four to five years of training. The courses taken during medical school vary depending on the chosen program, but psychiatry students can expect—among others—psychiatry clerkship, psychopathology, and behavioral science.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

To be able to apply for psychiatrist job openings, students require supervised training. During this time, ambitious students work for three to eight years in a hospital or clinical setting. After completing medical school and residency, students can apply for board certification and a medical license.

 MD program graduates need to take the United States Medical Licensing Examination, while DO program graduates need to take the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination.

Students who successfully receive their medical license can freely take the examination for board certification, offered through the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. Most importantly, the certification must be renewed every 10 years.

Of course, attaining a degree in psychiatry and becoming licensed does not automatically mean the end of education. Individuals interested in hospital psychiatrist jobs (among many more) who earn their board certification are required to enter into continuing programs throughout their careers.


Experts in this profession typically advance by building their practices. For instance, some specialize in fields such as legal, educational, or child psychiatry. Other professionals decide to become researchers, administrators in hospitals, colleges, or similar institutions, or even teachers.


Although it’s difficult to become a psychiatrist, the salary is well worth it. Based on 2014 data by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, these medical professionals earn a median annual salary of $181,880. Furthermore, the lowest 10% in this profession earned $61,600, whereas the highest-paid earned more than $187,000 yearly. 

Keep in mind that professionals who have attained certification via the ABPN may be able to attain a much higher salary due to their credentials.

So what is a starting salary for a psychiatrist? Well, an entry-level psychiatrist with up to one year of experience may expect to earn $193,743 (based on 90 salaries). Whereas, a psychiatrist with up to four years of experience may earn $196,249 (based on 422 salaries).

Of course, the cost of living and geographical location also play significant roles in how much a psychiatrist earns. According to 2014 data by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, professionals in Wyoming earn the most ($260,820), followed by Alaska ($232,480), Indiana ($229,980), Mississippi ($229,060), and Alabama ($228,850).

You may ask yourself: “What is the average salary of a psychiatrist?” According to the latest data from 2020, psychiatrists in New York earn an average of $140.52 per hour or $292,286 annually, followed by Massachusetts ($289,522), Washington ($287,502), and New Hampshire ($281,773).

Psychiatrist Job Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, psychiatrists may expect a growth of 16.2% by 2022, a number that is higher than the national average for all occupations. The expected growth would increase even more by putting more focus on mental health issues and healthcare legislation. 

By making health insurance more accessible and affordable to US citizens, many more people would seek out help from medical establishments, including psychiatrists.

Psychiatrists Job Openings and Job Prospects

Another key reason for the rapid growth and demand for this profession is the aging of the baby boomer generation. As more and more people are suffering from mental illness due to aging, the skills of these professionals will be required to help them, along with the challenges and changes.

Experts in this profession may expect much better career opportunities in areas with aging populations. Projections Central’s job outlook for a psychiatrist reveals that the highest growth opportunities for psychiatrists with degrees are expected to be in Utah (35.2%), Georgia (33.6%), Kentucky (29%), North Carolina (26.6%), Indiana (25.6%), Arkansas (23.5%), and New Hampshire (23.2%).

Psychiatrist Career Pros and Cons

We already know how much of a positive impact competent and dedicated psychiatrists can make on their patients’ lives. However, what other benefits are there to psychiatry jobs, other than the feeling of accomplishment? Also, does this profession have any drawbacks? Read on to find out.


  • A rapidly growing job market
  • Plenty of self-employment opportunities (about 20% of all people in this profession are self-employed)
  • High salary (senior-level prison psychiatrist salary is an average of $300,168)
  • Helping people feel good
  • Never boring 


  • Competitive and lengthy educational process (includes challenging and stressful years)
  • Expensive educational process (especially at institutions that are more prestigious)
  • Frequent overtime and irregular hours
  • High levels of burnout


What is the job outlook for a child psychiatrist?

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be a 15% increase for all psychiatrists, including professionals in the field of child psychiatry from 2019–2028. 

Furthermore, according to data by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, there is a great shortage of child psychiatrists. In fact, only a mere 20% of children with mental illness receive proper treatment.

What are other jobs exactly like a psychiatrist?

Although there are zero jobs that are exactly like psychiatrists, there are a couple of similar occupations individuals interested in this profession may try. These are the following:

  • Registered nurses
  • Social workers
  • Psychiatric technicians
  • Adult and vocational education teachers
  • Psychologists
  • General and family practitioners
  • Mental health counsellors
  • College and university teachers
  • School psychologists
  • Addiction counsellors

What does a psychiatrist career entail?

As we elaborated previously, individuals interested in becoming psychiatrists must first finish extensive education. These professionals must attain a medical degree from an accredited school, complete a residency program, and become board certified. Furthermore, to become a psychiatrist, one must be licensed to practice medicine.


If you are interested in pursuing the many psychiatrist jobs, go for it. Of course, it will require years of hard work, dedication, and possibly sleepless nights, but it will be worth it in the end. Overall, psychiatry is a marvelous medical specialty, and, as a career choice, it’s both flexible and diverse.