Psychiatrist Job Description: An Overview

psychiatrist job description

psychiatrist job description

This article is about the psychiatrist job description.

According to the website, 1 out of 5 Americans suffers a “diagnosable mental health problem” every year. This figure, if one would base it on the 1998 US consensus, is equivalent to 44.3 million Americans. The good news is, many of these individuals receive support from families, schools, local government and the community.

What is a Psychiatrist?

The American Psychiatric Association defined a psychiatrist as “a physician who specializes in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental health and emotional problems”. They are the primary caregiver to people who are undergoing mental disorders.

Psychiatrist Job Description

The job description of a psychiatrist requires them to have medical training so they can understand body functions. Another duty included in the psychiatrist job description is to know the extensive relationship of emotions and different mental disabilities that affects the physical condition of a person. It is a psychiatrist’s job to identify physical and physiological causes of mental and physical diseases.

According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, the duties of a psychiatrist is to “treat mental illness through a combination of psychotherapy, psychoanalysis, hospitalization, and medication.” They help patients find solutions to their problems by having regular counseling and therapy sessions. Depending on a patient’s emotional and physical condition, there would be times that a psychiatrist will have to administer medicine to help balance a patient’s condition.   

Some of mental health conditions include schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, anxiety and depressive disorders. The treatment, diagnosis and rehabilitation of the aforementioned conditions are included in the psychiatrist job description.

psychiatrist job description

How Does One Become a Psychiatrist?

If you want to be a psychiatrist, you have to complete the curriculum requirements in medical school and pass the certification exams of this profession. Basically, a psychiatrist will have to finish a Bachelor degree (4 years), proceed to medical school (4 years), and go through residency (another 4 years).

During the first two years of medical school, students are required to take psychiatry, behavioral science, neuroscience, chemistry, biochemistry and physiology. After obtaining a degree in medicine, students will have to take a licensure exam for one to formally practice medicine.

After securing the medical license, they are now required to apply for residency for four years. In the first year of residency training, psychiatrist job description entails taking care of patients with mental health conditions.

In the next three years, the psychiatry resident focuses on diagnosis and treatment of these patients. They also have to learn the techniques of psychotherapy, how to prescribe psychiatric medicines and other medical treatments.

After residency, doctors have to take a written and oral exam to become a full pledged psychiatrist. The written exam usually lasts for one whole day. The exam will be on basic science, psychiatry and other specialty areas in psychiatry. On the other hand, the oral exam is an assessment of practical skills through actual observation of a patient examination.

Upon completion of the written and oral exam, the doctor may apply for board certification granted through the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN). After gaining certification, the doctor may further apply for a sub-specialty in other fields of Psychiatry.

Career Outlook for Psychiatrists

The Psychiatrist is a growing profession and is expected to rapidly increase in demand until 2016. Today, there is an extensive growth of health care structures which would mean greater demand of psychiatrists. More specifically, child psychiatrists and geriatric psychiatrists are expected to be efficient in delivering the psychiatrist job description as they become more in demand.

Salary of Psychiatrists

Professionals performing overall psychiatric job description earn approximately $164,000 as of 2009. Those who hold administrative positions in government agencies are expected to earn around $155,000 per year. Lastly, those in outpatient mental health facilities earn a rough estimate of $191,000 annually.

Being a psychiatrist can be very demanding especially in completion of the educational requirements. Compensation is highly rewarding because you are an instrument in improving a person’s mental health condition. If you want a financially rewarding career and make a difference in a person’s life, then, psychiatry is the right career for you.

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