How to Be a Psychiatrist

A psychiatrist in a blue shirt holds a clipboardA psychiatrist is a physician specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of mental health disorders such as depression, schizophrenia, anxiety, ADHD and eating disorders. Many, but not all, psychiatrists specialize in the treatment of a particular type or group of mental health conditions.

Psychiatrists must complete the medical school and four additional years of psychiatric education. Psychiatrists spend much more at school than most mental health professionals. Medical steps allow them to prescribe psychotropic drugs.

How to Be a Psychiatrist

The trip to the medical school starts at college, so aspiring psychiatrists have to graduate in high school or get a GED. From there, the steps are as follows:

  1. Graduate college. You do not need a specific degree to enter the medical school. However, most medical schools expect that students will have taken and spent a year of biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, calculus and physics. A pre-med major can help you meet these basic requirements. A high GPA may increase the chances of admission to the medical school. (The average GPA of eligible applications is 3.71).
  2. Take the MCAT. This is the examination of the medical school. The average score for eligible applicants is 511 (out of a total of 528 points). This 7.5 hour test includes four sections:
    1. Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Live Systems
    2. Chemical and physical foundations of biological systems
    3. Psychological, social and biological foundations of behavior
    4. Critical analysis and reasoning skills
  3. Application and admission to the medical school.
  4. Graduate medical school. The medical school usually lasts four years. High degrees of medical schools can increase the chances of a student to get a good stay.
  5. Apply to be a licensed physician. You should apply in the state where you intend to practice or finish your stay. Generally you will need to have a state council review. You may have to meet additional requirements, such as completing a history checker.
  6. Completing a psychiatric home. Psychiatric dwellings usually last for four years. During your stay, you will learn and experience a wide range of mental health conditions, usually in a hospital environment.
  7. Become certified by the American Council of Psychiatry and Neurology. Council certification is optional, but most psychiatrists want to be certified. You will need to have a certification on board and renew your certification every 10 years.
  8. Fill in any additional licensing requirements. Most states require doctors to complete a certain number of continuing education credits to maintain their leave.

How long does it take to become a psychiatrist?

The time it takes to become a psychiatrist varies from person to person. Some people need more time to graduate from college than others. Others need time after graduation to study for MCAT. Occasionally, a person is able to complete college faster than is typical.

Assuming that a person does not take breaks and graduates on a typical timetable, the time from graduation from high school to psychiatric counseling certification is as follows:

  • 4 years college
  • 4 years of medical school
  • 4 years of stay

This requires a total of 12 years after high school, so the younger age at which a psychiatrist may expect to start practicing is about 30 years old.

How much does it cost to become a psychiatrist?

The average cost of becoming a psychiatrist varies depending on where he / she goes to school, if he / she receives student loans and if he / she lives in an area with a high cost of living.

Foreign students attending four public universities spend about $ 23,890 a year on tuition fees, for a total of $ 95,560. This does not take into account the cost of books, room and board, food and student fees, which can be several thousand dollars a year.

People who are interested in treating mental illnesses who do not want to go to medical school may want to look into their careers as therapists or psychologists. External students attending public medical schools pay an average of $ 58,668 per year for a total of $ 234,672. The cost of books, room and board, as well as other costs can significantly increase this price.

This means that, together, for a non-state public college student, the cost of the medical school and college is about $ 330,000. State public students usually pay less, while private students can pay twice or even three times that amount.

Psychiatric dwellings typically pay $ 60,800 a year. However, some residents may feel they are not paid for the amount of work and experience involved. Many psychiatrists spend the first years of their career life, playing financially preventive and struggling with the debt of student loans. According to Medscape, the average American trained psychiatrist in 2018 won about $ 256,000 a year.

Can you become a psychiatrist without a medical school or a degree in psychology?

You do not need a degree in psychology to become a psychiatrist. In fact, most people who plan to go to medical school choose pre-med, biochemistry, or a similarly important, not psychological.

You must, however, go to the medical school to become a psychiatrist. People who are interested in treating mental illnesses who do not want to go to medical school may want to look into their careers as therapists or psychologists. Those interested in the medical side of mental health can enjoy a career as a psychiatric nurse or a psychiatrist physician.

Various sub-specialties in psychiatry may require additional training. This course depends on your specialty, so it is important to explore your career. Doctors who know that they want to practice within a specific sub-specialty should seek to remain in this specialty.

How do you become a psychiatrist in Canada or the UK?

The process of becoming a psychiatrist in Canada is essentially similar to the one in the United States, with two exceptions: Only 11 of the 17 Canadian medical schools require MCAT and psychiatric homes in Canada are 5 years instead of 4 years. Psychiatrists must enroll through the College of Doctors and Surgeons or a provincial college.

The education system in the UK is very different, and so the process becomes a psychiatrist. Upon completion of the high school, students are going to a medical school, which lasts 4-6 years. Then, students begin basic education, which is a program that is similar to a medical stay. The institution's education usually lasts 2 years. Students must complete an additional three years for basic psychiatric education, followed by three years of advanced psychiatry training.

Bibliographical references:

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  7. Medscape Psychiatrist Compensation Report 2018 (n.d.). Retrieved from
  8. What is a good MCAT result? (n.d.). Retrieved from
  9. What is psychiatry? (n.d.). Retrieved from
  10. What is the real cost of a medical school? (2018, June 18). Retrieved from

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