The Path To Becoming a Psychiatrist

The Path To Becoming a Psychiatrist

Psychiatrists focus in mental health, however they all receive the same basic medical training. The educational path to become a psychiatrist is long and requires hard work and dedication. To become a Psychiatrist, a person must complete college prerequisites, then complete medical school and a residency at which time passing boards completes the path to state licensure. 

The American Psychiatric Association, says this educational path allows doctors to diagnose both mental and physical causes of illness.  Psychotherapy, psychoanalysis, and prescribing  medicine are among the treatments they employ.

Prerequisites for Medical School

As part of their preparation for medical school, aspiring psychiatrists must complete coursework that is required for entrance into medical school.  Most times this includes a four-year bachelor’s degree.  English, mathematics, biology, chemistry, and physics are all required undergraduate courses. 

Even though there is no requirement for a specific major before enrolling to med school, many candidates choose to major in chemistry or biology.  Because medical school is so competitive, you’ll need good grades. Participate in extracurricular activities to increase your chances of acceptance.  Volunteering at a hospital or medical facility is also an favorably looked upon by medical school admission specialists.  In addition, scoring well on a standardized test called the MCAT is a must as getting accepted into medical schools is highly competitive.

The next four years at medical school

Medical school is a four-year program that leads to a doctor’s degree. Some colleges may integrate a bachelor’s and a medical degrees in one program. During medical school, the first two years are spend mostly in class work in courses such as physiology, anatomy, and pharmacology, chemistry, biochemistry, neuroscience, psychiatry, and neuroscience.
The next two years of medical school are spent is clinical rotations at teaching hospitals where they assist patient care in different specialties of which psychiatry is one such rotation.

Residency After Medical School

After graduating from medical school and passing appropriate board examinations, a person must match into a residency.  This is a four year process of which the first year is spent in a general hospital residency, where you will treat patients with a variety of ailments. Future psychiatrists must then spend three more years working with patients with mental health problems under the supervision of licensed Psychiatrists.  After completing residency, top students may want to apply for a Fellowship where they can specialize in a subspecialty of Psychiatry such as addiction psychiatry. The final step to becoming a licensed and practicing Psychiatrist is to pass board examinations.  This entire process is usually a minimum of 12 years but offers an outstanding career with great pay and the opportunity to help many people

For a more in depth article please check out this article about how to become a psychiatrist