Psychiatrists are medical professionals specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness, addiction, and other mental health issues.
To become a psychiatrist, you must earn a bachelor’s degree in psychology or pre-med major from an accredited medical school. From there the candidate is expected to take a college test to get a medical license.
You are also expected to attend a psychiatry residency program for approximately four years before landing any psychiatry jobs or practice fully.
Basically, it takes approximately 12 years to become a qualified psychiatrist. That said, let’s look at the following career requirements and information for psychiatrists.
- Earn a bachelor’s degree
As mentioned, you will need to obtain a Bachelor of Science degree from a reputable medical college or university to become a qualified psychiatrist.
Best majors to declare include pre-med, psychology, or biology. Likewise, the candidate must also excel in courses like physics, biology, math, and chemistry that are required to get into medical school. It is also vital that the candidate has some experience with mentally challenged patients.
- Take the medical college admission test
After graduation potential psychiatrists are expected to attend medical school. However, students must undertake a standardized medical test a year before applying for medical school.
The test includes three multiple-choice sections covering physical science, oral reasoning, biological science, and writing. The best part is, one is allowed to take as many tests as possible to increase their chances of passing.
The eligibility of a student to attend medical school is determined by their undergraduate performance and admission test score. In case you end up failing the test, you can do a retake a few days after the previous test and reduce your chances of getting disqualified.
- Graduate from med school
Generally, a student takes four years in medical school during which they are expected to earn a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) or a Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree.
Medical students spend their first two years studying courses like chemistry, behavioral science, anatomy, psychiatry, neuroscience, and physiology.
The next two years are spent in a clinical setting with real-time patients under the supervision of experienced doctors. It is at this period where students gain more experience.
Once you graduate from medical school, you can apply for an internship or a residency at a hospital of your choice.
The program takes approximately five years to complete. During this period, potential candidates are trained in various fields including forensic psychology, neurology, chemical dependency, and psychopharmacology.
The training consists of both practical application and didactic learning. The candidate is also allowed to treat a variety of issues under supervision. Read more here https://money.usnews.com/careers/best-jobs/psychiatrist
- Serve a fellowship
After completing your residency program, you can opt to join a fellowship program for more training.
Likewise, some psychiatric subspecialties like child and youth psychiatry, psychosomatic medicine, forensic psychiatry, and geriatric psychiatry require additional training. Most fellowship programs take approximately one year to complete.
Candidates are allowed to diagnose and treat patients under the supervision of certified doctors. They are also involved in research projects, seminars, courses, and case conferences.
- Obtain a license to practice psychiatry
Once you have successfully completed medical school and residency, you are now eligible for a medical license. Licensing allows you to practice psychiatry legally.
It is also important to understand that different states have different licensure requirements, which is why you need to choose a residency program in the state you wish to practice.
However, most licensing organizations will access your knowledge of medical practices and state regulations before issuing the license.
Finally, you will need to take a test for board certification. Certification improves your ability to secure a job as it demonstrates your competence. Candidates are offered certifications in general psychiatry, including other specialties like addictions, forensic and adolescent psychiatry.
One is expected to renew their certification every ten years. However, one must maintain an active practice and a good standing in the profession to be eligible for certification renewal. They should also participate continuously in self-assessment practices and expand their education.
- Continue education
As mentioned, one has to further their studies throughout their career to remain certified. Although this certification isn’t absolutely mandatory, failure to obtain one may limit your chances of securing most psychiatry jobs. Generally, most states require a psychiatrist to earn an average of 30 medical education credits for them to continue practicing. Click here to read more.
As with any other health care position, becoming a psychiatrist means attending a medical school. In addition, psychiatrists need to have excellent communication skills, empathy, clinical knowledge, problem-solving skills, active listening skills, and leadership skills. Also, consider joining a professional organization to ensure you remain updated on the best psychiatry practices. Working with mentally challenged patients can be quite stressful, so you must prove that you can handle any stressful situation.