Psychiatrist schooling can be very rewarding. Psychiatry is amongst the oldest medical specialties that is still very popular today. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the demand for psychiatrists is predicted to increase at a rate faster than normal through 2016. The increased demand for doctors along with the increased understanding of mental health concerns is predicted to drive the demand for highly trained psychiatrists. Learn more about a career in psychiatry throughout this short overview.
Psychiatrist Schooling Overview
Psychiatrist schooling is the gateway to an in-demand profession with the power to research, prevent, and treat mental illnesses. With the proper education, students can gain employment at:
- outpatient clinics
- substance abuse treatment facilities
- nursing care centers
- physician offices
- school districts, universities, and psychiatrist colleges
- research facilities
- independent practices
Psychiatrists are medical doctors who earn a psychiatry degree and specialize in the treatment of mental illnesses and disorders. Unlike psychologists and therapists, people who graduate through psychiatrist schooling are able to write prescriptions.
Educational Path for Psychiatrist Schooling
Even though psychiatrist schooling is a long-term accomplishment, it is worth the time investment. Psychiatrist schooling lasts approximately 12 years from the first college course to board examinations. The education pathway for a psychiatrist degree involves four stages:
- The student must graduate with an accredited bachelor’s degree. A degree in pre-medicine or psychology can be helpful to the completion of psychiatrist schooling but is not necessary. Students may major in any field as long as they finish mandatory pre-medical courses.
- The next portion of psychiatrist schooling involves four years of medical school. Students learn to diagnose and treat physical illnesses and then graduate with an M.D., Doctor of Medicine, or a D.O., Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine. Many psychiatrist colleges are connected to regional medical schools.
- The new doctor must spend four years as a psychiatric resident. During this time he or she will undergo extensive psychiatrist schooling in cognitive-behavioral therapy, psychotherapies, psychopharmacology, and general mental wellness. Most psychiatrist degree programs also dedicate several months to neurology, internal medicine, and/or pediatrics.
- Finally, the doctor must pass psychiatric degree board examinations to be certified in general psychiatry. For child and adolescent psychiatry, doctors must finish another two years of psychiatrist schooling and pass additional board exams.
Topics Studied During a Psychiatrist Degree
Each stage of psychiatrist schooling builds upon previous learning objectives, so students accumulate knowledge at an accelerated rate. Here are some of the topics studied during a psychiatrist degree program:
Medical Components of Psychiatrist Schooling:
- How the body works at a macro and micro level. Students in a psychiatrist degree program must understand anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, neuroscience, and behavioral science.
- How to diagnose and treat abnormalities in physical systems. Psychiatrist colleges focus on microbiology, immunology, and pathology.
- How to prescribe drugs to improve or stabilize certain conditions. Psychiatrist degree students take courses in pharmacology to learn about dosages and interactions.
- How to use psychiatrist schooling to make the best clinical decisions in inpatient and outpatient settings.
Psychology and Psychiatrist Schooling:
- How biological, psychological, ethnic, and socioeconomic factors affect human development, diagnosis, and treatment.
- How to use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, DSM, to identify disorders seen inside and outside of psychiatrist schooling.
- How therapeutic approaches can improve patient situations when combined with prescription drugs. Psychiatrist schooling introduces individuals to various therapeutic principles and techniques, including group counseling, cognitive-behavioral therapy, psychoanalysis, and long-term and short-term psychotherapy.
Communication and Ethics at Psychiatrist Colleges:
- How to conduct patient interviews and physical examinations. Faculty members coach students during psychiatrist schooling.
- How to distinguish among the needs of children, adults, and seniors. The programs at most psychiatrist colleges include courses in pediatric and geriatric medicine.
- How to develop and oversee treatment plans, including communicating to patients and family members about aftercare needs.
- How a psychiatrist’s actions impact patients. Before earning a psychiatrist degree, students must understand their responsibilities and obligations under the psychiatrist schooling code of ethics.
Psychiatrist Degree Specializations
After completing the core coursework of a psychiatrist degree, students can choose to specialize in a particular subcategory, age group, or patient background. Some common specializations within psychiatrist schooling include:
- Addiction psychiatry, focusing on impulse disorders related to alcohol, drugs, sex, gambling, or food
- Emergency psychiatry, connected to suicide attempts, violence, drug overdoses, abuse, or disasters
- Forensic psychiatry, concentrating on criminal investigations and court trials
- Learning disabilities, such as dyslexia, dysgraphia, and dyscalculia
- Psychosomatic medicine, which uses the knowledge gained within psychiatrist colleges to link physical illnesses with physical and mental stressors
- Anxiety disorders, such as phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, panic disorders, separation anxiety, and generalized anxiety disorder
- Mood disorders, including major depression, postpartum depression, seasonal affective disorder, and bipolar disorders
- Developmental disorders, such as autism or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder
- Cognition diseases and dementia
- Adult psychiatry
Students pursuing a psychiatrist degree can choose one or more specializations. After accumulating work experience, psychiatric professionals can always enroll in additional psychiatrist schooling to learn about more topics.
Differences in Psychiatrist Colleges
While most psychiatrist colleges cover the same basic topics, how they do so can differ dramatically. When choosing a psychiatrist degree, students should select a program that complements or challenges a particular worldview.
Here are some questions to ask when deciding on the best psychiatrist colleges:
- Does the psychiatrist schooling emphasize biology or psychotherapy?
- Do the psychiatrist colleges’ professors focus on research or patient interaction?
- Does the psychiatrist degree offer specialty clinics that match student interests, such as anxiety disorders or eating disorders?
- What is the level of residency supervision within psychiatrist schooling, and how are rotations chosen?
- Do the psychiatrist colleges offer online courses or part-time psychiatrist degree programs?
- How much influence do students have on what they learn in the psychiatrist colleges?
- What are the professional accomplishments and qualifications of the psychiatrist degree faculty?
- What are the strengths and weaknesses of the psychiatrist schooling?
Students should also be aware of the environment before investing in a psychiatrist degree program. During the admissions process, students are encouraged to ask questions about psychiatry colleges’ facilities, schedules, job opportunities, faculty interaction, resident relationships, and evaluations.
By evaluating psychiatrist colleges and assessing individual psychiatrist degree programs, jobseekers can make informed decisions about their futures. Above all, psychiatrist schooling helps professionals shape the outcome of individual and community health.