PSYCHIATRISTS are physicians who specialize in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental illnesses and emotional problems. They treat the whole patient--both mind and body. They diagnose both physical and emotional symptoms as well as the causes of stress. They obtain medical history, educational and social experiences, and family relations. They examine patients, and order, perform, and interpret diagnostic tests. They determine the nature and degree of the disorder and decide on a program of treatment. Treatment plans may include psychotherapy and medication. In very severe cases, hospitalization may be recommended.
Salary, Size & Growth
- $182,500 average per year ($87.75 per hour)
- A small occupation (22,700 workers in 2010)
- Expected to grow rapidly (2.2% per year)
The first step in becoming a PSYCHIATRIST is to complete a college education that prepares students for admission to medical school. After obtaining a bachelor's degree, students then complete 4 years of medical school, after which, they enter a 4-year general psychiatric residency program. All states require psychiatrists to be licensed, by passing a written exam. After completing their residency, most psychiatrists take a voluntary certification examination, given by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, to become a Diplomat in Psychiatry.