How to Become a Psychiatrist

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Contributor, Benzinga
May 26, 2020

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Interested in a career as a psychiatrist? You can play an integral role in helping individuals overcome mental health challenges so they can lead happier and more productive lives. This career path also allows you to do meaningful work while earning a comfortable salary. 

Here’s your guide to becoming a psychiatrist.

Psychiatrist Overview

Before you take the first step needed to achieve your career goal, it’s a good idea to learn what your role as a psychiatrist will entail. You also want to know average salaries, education requirements and the job outlook for the profession before deciding whether it’s a good fit. 

Job Description

Psychiatrists are physicians who diagnose, treat and help prevent mental disorders. You’ll use psychotherapy, medications, psychosocial interventions and other treatments (such as electroconvulsive therapy) depending on patients’ needs. You can prescribe medications or recommend hospitalization for patients who need 24/7 care. 

Salary Information

In May 2019, the average annual wage for psychiatrists was $220,430, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education Requirements

Prepare to spend an extensive amount of time preparing for a career as a psychiatrist. The profession requires you to earn a bachelor’s degree, complete medical school and spend time in both internship and residency programs, notes

Job Outlook

The projected growth rate through 2028 for psychiatrists is 16%, according to This is 11% higher than the expected average for all occupations. 

Steps to Becoming a Psychiatrist 

Take these vital steps to become a board-certified psychiatrist. 

Earn a Bachelor’s Degree 

Before you can be admitted to medical school, you will first need to earn a bachelor’s degree. Most aspiring psychiatrists major in psychology, biomedical sciences, statistics, chemistry, biology, chemistry or a related field. 

When evaluating colleges, look for options that are both reputable and accredited. It’s pointless to earn a degree that won’t be recognized by medical schools you’re hoping to attend.

You also want to be mindful of the cost of attendance. The college or university you’re considering should have tuition and fee rates comparable to that of other schools that offer similar programs. 

Attend Medical School

It takes some legwork to be admitted to medical school. Institutions prefer applicants who excelled in their undergraduate program and have an extensive resume that includes extracurricular activities and volunteer experience. You will need to provide letters of recommendation and shine in medical school interviews to give yourself the best chance of being accepted to the program.  

An exceptional score on the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is also preferred by most medical schools. The minimum acceptable score varies by school, so it’s best to inquire before applying. 

During medical school, you will complete coursework and work with patients while being supervised by psychiatrists. Expect to spend 4 years in medical school before entering a residency program.  

Get Licensed and Board Certified 

Before you can get licensed, you must complete a residency program. This can take several years but is a must-do to obtain your medical license.

Once you’re licensed, you can get board certified by taking the exam offered by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN). You must renew your ABPN certification every 10 years. 

Expand Your Knowledge 

It’s a good idea to stay up to date on the latest trends and developments in the field that impact psychiatrists. This can be done by completing the required continuing education programs on an annual basis. 

Here are some useful courses to help you prepare for medical school. 

1. How to Get Into Medical School — From a Current Med Student

Source: Udemy

Just $11.99 gets you a seat in this highly-rated course from Udemy. How to Get Into Medical School — From a Current Med Student walks you through the application process from start to finish. It includes 22 lectures condensed into 2.5 hours of on-demand video and 4 articles. You will also receive a certificate of completion when you reach the finish line. The class is co-facilitated by Ernie Morton, current medical school student and Amanda Morton, multiplatform strategist. 

2. Crack Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) – 2020 

Source: Udemy

Offered by an online training academy, Knowledge Surge, Crack Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) – 2020 prepares you to pass the exam needed to be considered for admission into medical school on the first attempt. This course includes the following practice tests: 

  • Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills (150 questions)
  • Chemical and Physical Sciences Practice Passages (75 questions)
  • Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems (75 questions)
  • Psychological, Social and Biological Foundations of Behavior (100 questions)

It’s only $11.99 to enroll. The class also comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee if you’re not satisfied with the material.

3. Writing a Powerful Medical School Admissions Essay

Source: Udemy

You will need to include your personal statement as a part of your medical school application. If you don’t know where to start, consider this course from Udemy. It’s available for only $11.99 and shows you how to write a compelling personal statement without getting overwhelmed. Register today for full lifetime access to 20 lectures jam-packed into 2 hours of on-demand video and 1 downloadable resource. 

Prepare for a Career as a Psychiatrist 

Ready to make your dream of becoming a psychiatrist a reality? Enroll in a bachelor’s degree program and go the extra mile to earn stellar grades. Doing so will help you stand out among the medical school competition. 

Take a look at our online course options to learn more about the medical school process and tips and tricks to earn a high score on the MCAT. We’ve also included a class that teaches you how to write an exceptional medical school admissions essay. 

Southern New Hampshire University Online

SNHU Online Offers:

  1. Flexible schedules
  2. Affordable tuition
  3. Online tutoring
  4. Access to electronic research materials
  5. Specialized academic advising
  6. Supportive online community