Psychiatrist Jobs & Psychiatry Career Guide 2024

What is a psychiatrist?

A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who specializes in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental illnesses and emotional disorders.

The field of psychiatry is relatively new in the realm of medicine. Psychiatrists are trained in psychotherapy and drugs to provide comprehensive mental health treatment. They can diagnose mental illnesses and treat them with medication and talk therapy. The primary difference between a psychiatrist and a therapist is the ability to prescribe medicine and psychoactive drugs.

Psychiatrists have to have diverse skill sets. They must understand the biological and psychological causes of mental illness. They need to know how to use medication to treat conditions, how to recognize warning signs of mental illness, how to talk to patients about their mental health, and how to respond to challenging situations.

They also build rapport with other professionals in the field, evaluate how mental health affects physical health, and help patients manage their emotions.

One of the key distinctions between psychologists and psychiatrists is that psychiatrists will generally seek to identify a biological or physiological cause for certain mental health conditions or symptoms, aiming to treat these with medicines as well as psychological therapies, whereas psychologists generally focus on psychological therapies and psychological factors alone.This means that psychiatrists need a good knowledge of genetics, and other physical health issues that can affect mental health, blending physical medicine and mental health therapy to be able to diagnose and treat a wide range of conditions most effectively.

See also; what’s the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist?

It is common for psychiatrists to specialize in areas such as;

  • Addiction
  • Child and adolescent psychiatry
  • Forensic psychiatry
  • Sleep disorders
  • Geriatric psychiatry

This gives psychiatrists a wide range of specialisms and routes to develop in their career, making it an interesting and varied role with plenty of opportunities for dedicated and hardworking individuals.

Learn more about other behavioral health jobs.

What do psychiatrists do day-to-day?

  • Conducting patient evaluations and assessments – reviewing medical records, conducting interviews, and administering diagnostic tests.
  • Developing treatment plans – prescribing medications, providing therapy or counseling, or making referrals to other healthcare providers.
  • Monitoring patient progress over time and making adjustments to treatment plans as needed
  • Collaborating with other healthcare providers
  • Keeping up-to-date with the latest research, clinical guidelines, and best practices in psychiatry
  • Administrative tasks – completing medical records and documentation, responding to patient inquiries, and managing medication schedules.
  • Teaching medical students and residents
“On a typical day, a psychiatrist may be seeing patients in a clinic, hospital, or private practice setting. They may be conducting diagnostic evaluations, meeting with patients to discuss treatment options, and providing psychotherapy or medication management. They may also be consulting with other healthcare providers, such as primary care physicians, social workers, or therapists. In addition, many psychiatrists are involved in teaching, research, and advocacy efforts to improve mental health treatment and outcomes.”
Dr. Jeffrey Geller, President of the American Psychiatric Association

Here is what a typical shift for a psychiatrist might look like:

8:00 AM – 9:00 AM: Review and Preparation

  • Arrive at the hospital, review schedule, check for any overnight updates from nursing staff or changes in patient conditions, and prepare for morning rounds.

9:00 AM – 11:00 AM: Morning Rounds

  • Visit patients in the psychiatric ward, conducting assessments, adjusting treatment plans, and interacting with patients to evaluate their response to treatments and any side effects of medications.

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM: Consultation Requests

  • Respond to consultation requests from other departments, assessing patients for psychiatric symptoms and providing recommendations for their care. This might include visiting patients in the ER, ICU, or other wards.

12:00 PM – 1:00 PM: Lunch and Administrative Tasks

  • Take a break for lunch and catch up on administrative duties, such as documenting in electronic health records, responding to emails, or attending a brief departmental meeting.

1:00 PM – 2:00 PM: Follow-Up Appointments

  • Scheduled follow-up appointments with patients who are stable enough to not require hospitalization but need regular monitoring. This might involve discussing progress, addressing any concerns, and updating prescriptions.

2:00 PM – 3:00 PM: Multi-Disciplinary Team Meeting

  • Participation in a team meeting with other healthcare professionals such as psychologists, social workers, occupational therapists, and nurses to discuss patient care, treatment strategies, and discharge planning.

3:00 PM – 4:00 PM: New Patient Evaluations

  • Evaluates new admissions to the psychiatric unit, conducting comprehensive assessments to diagnose conditions and develop initial treatment plans.

4:00 PM – 5:00 PM: Wrap-Up and Documentation

  • The final hour is often spent wrapping up the day, completing patient notes, discussing any urgent cases with evening or night staff, and preparing for the next day.

Who employs psychiatrists?

Psychiatrists are employed by all sorts of organizations, such as hospitals, clinics, universities, community agencies, courts, prisons, the military, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, and private practices.

These organizations tend to offer various treatments and therapies for patients suffering from mental health conditions that may have underlying or unknown physical causes. This means that psychiatrists can work with people of various ages and in all kinds of different institutions, both independently and in support of other therapies and clinicians or multi-disciplinary teams.

Jump to Our Latest Psychiatrist Job Listings

How to become a psychiatrist

The journey of how to become a psychiatrist is long and challenging, but it can be rewarding and fulfilling. Becoming a psychiatrist can take 8-10 years, depending on how long the residency program takes and how many steps you need to complete.

1. Get an Undergraduate Degree

Your first step is to earn a bachelor’s degree from an accredited four-year college or university.

You will need to major in pre-med, biology, or related fields. During this time, you will also need to take courses related to psychology and medicine.

Some of the classes you will need to take in undergrad include human anatomy and physiology, pharmacology, biochemistry, histology, and neuroscience. In addition to taking a challenging pre-med course load, many aspiring psychiatrists complete internships in a psychiatric clinic or hospital to get more hands-on experience and elevate their med school application.

2. Attend Medical School

Since psychiatrists are doctors, they must go to medical school and earn either a medical degree (MD) or doctor of osteopathic medicine (DO). You will need to complete a four-year program to earn your MD or DO degree. During medical school, you will take courses in anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, and other medical subjects, as well as receive hands-on training through clinical rotations.

3. Complete an Internship and Residency

After medical school, doctors complete a one-year internship and a four-year residency program. Aspiring psychiatrists should choose a residency program that offers a specialty in psychiatry. They’ll work in clinics and hospitals treating various people and conditions.

Even once you’ve completed your residency, you may want to do a fellowship in a more specialized area, such as pediatric psychiatry, addiction and substance use disorders, or neuropsychiatry.

4. Earn and Maintain a License

You must pass an American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology exam. Most states also have medical boards that issue their own licensing requirements.

Be sure to upload your resume to PsychologyJobs.com and setup job alerts to find the right opportunity.

Finally, continuing education courses (see our list of CE providers) allow you to stay on top of current research and implement cutting-edge techniques in your practice.

From the end of high school, all of this training takes at least 12 years, which is an immense amount of time spent in development, and isn’t for the faint of heart.  Additional specialized training can make this period of time even longer, so it’s a very serious commitment that shouldn’t be taken lightly.

How much do psychiatrist earn?

Psychiatrists have great earning potential, due in large part to the immense amount of time, effort, skill, and investment they take on to become fully certified psychiatrists.

The average salary is $247,350

See our psychiatrist salary guide for more information.

Is being a psychiatrist stressful?

It definitely can be, as psychiatrists often deal with patients who are seriously ill or have been through tragic situations and circumstances and aren’t always able to help or resolve these issues. While not all psychiatrists deal with psychopaths and severely mentally ill patients, it’s a high-stress job as it can be difficult to diagnose correctly, and comes under intense scrutiny to ensure patient safety, much like other medical doctors and professions.

While challenging, it is a very rewarding job at the very frontline of trying to help people deal with mental illnesses and find solutions to some of the most tragic and disturbing illnesses and afflictions that exist.

Latest Psychiatrist Job Listings

PositionCompanyLocationPosted
Community Preceptor – Psychiatry & Behavioral MedicineEast Carolina University Greenville, North Carolina US07/17/2024
Job Description: he Brody School of Medicine (BSOM) is committed to the goals of its mission: to increase the supply of primary care physicians serving the state, to improve the health and well-being of the region, and to train physicians who will meet the health care needs of the state. The key to achieving this mission is to assure that students receive a significant portion of their clinical education in the community practices throughout our region. This dedicated … More
MEDICAL DIRECTOR CENTER FOR TELEPSYCHIATRY & E-BEHAVIORAL HEALTHEast Carolina University Greenville, North Carolina US07/17/2024
Job Description: This is a full-time faculty position to serve as the Medical Director for the Center for Telepsychiatry and e-Behavioral Health (CTeBH).The Center currently serves 40 hospitals and 21 community-based clinics across the state of North Carolina. The members of the CTeBH are made up of a combination of professional personnel, faculty, and contracted external providers. The CTeBH reports to the Executive Dean of the Brody School of Medicine and works closely … More
Child/Adolescent Psychiatrist Opportunity in Norfolk, VA – Join Kempsville Center for Behavioral Health!Universal Health Services Norfolk, Virginia US07/16/2024
Kempsville Center for Behavioral Health in Norfolk, VA, is actively recruiting a Child/Adolescent Psychiatrist to join our esteemed team. This employed position comes with a Monday-Friday schedule, focusing on patient care in Residential treatment services. Responsibilities include admissions, discharges, and weekly care for patients in the caseload. Requirements: MD/DO degree from an accredited programBoard eligible or certified in Child/Adolescent … More
Board-Certified/Board-Eligible Psychiatrist – Admissions – Fairmount Behavioral Health System, PhiladelphiaUniversal Health Services Philadelphia, Pennsylvania US07/16/2024
Fairmount Behavioral Health System in Philadelphia is actively seeking a Board-Certified/Board-Eligible Psychiatrist for admissions. This role offers a fantastic opportunity for both new graduates and experienced psychiatrists. The schedule is Monday through Friday, 11 am – 7 pm. No weekend requirement. Philadelphia – A vibrant region offering a plethora of recreational activities in close proximity to Philadelphia, NYC, and the beaches of New Jersey. For consideration, … More
Parkview Behavioral Health Psychiatrist – Allowed Time Off – Child & Adolescent PsychiatryParkview Health Fort Wayne, Indiana US07/16/2024
Join Our TeamTo meet the growing demands in our area, Parkview Health is seeking Board Eligible / Board Certified Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists to work at our Parkview Behavioral Health Institute in … More
Mental Health Counselor/African American Resource Center LiaisonCSUF Counseling and Psychological Services Fullerton, California US07/16/2024
DIVISION OF STUDENT AFFAIRSDEPARTMENT OF COUNSELING AND PSYCHOLOGICAL SERVICES … More
Join Our Team at The Carolina Center for Behavioral Health – Inpatient and Outpatient Psychiatry Positions Now OpenUniversal Health Services Greenville, South Carolina US07/16/2024
Discover Exciting Opportunities at The Carolina Center for Behavioral Health Greenville, South Carolina Adult Psychiatrist Child/Adolescent Psychiatrist Geriatric Psychiatrist Carolina Center for Behavioral Health in Greer, SC is seeking passionate Inpatient/Outpatient Psychiatrists to join our esteemed team. As a part of our group, you’ll collaborate with a fully staffed support team, ensuring our patients receive tailored … More
Forensic Psychiatrist – Part-time or Full-timeTe Whatu Ora Waitaha Canterbury Christchurch, NZ07/15/2024
Kia hiwa ra! Kia hiwa! Mo matou – About us and our Purpose ‘Ko nga tangata, te matua mahi – Putting people at the heart of all we do’ … More
Position
Job Description: he Brody School of Medicine (BSOM) is committed to the goals of its mission: to increase the supply of primary care physicians serving the state, to improve the health and well-being of the region, and to train physicians who will meet the health care needs of the state. The key to achieving this mission is to assure that students receive a significant portion of their clinical education in the community practices throughout our region. This dedicated … More
Company
East Carolina University
Location
Greenville, North Carolina US
Posted
07/17/2024
Position
Job Description: This is a full-time faculty position to serve as the Medical Director for the Center for Telepsychiatry and e-Behavioral Health (CTeBH).The Center currently serves 40 hospitals and 21 community-based clinics across the state of North Carolina. The members of the CTeBH are made up of a combination of professional personnel, faculty, and contracted external providers. The CTeBH reports to the Executive Dean of the Brody School of Medicine and works closely … More
Company
East Carolina University
Location
Greenville, North Carolina US
Posted
07/17/2024
Position
Kempsville Center for Behavioral Health in Norfolk, VA, is actively recruiting a Child/Adolescent Psychiatrist to join our esteemed team. This employed position comes with a Monday-Friday schedule, focusing on patient care in Residential treatment services. Responsibilities include admissions, discharges, and weekly care for patients in the caseload. Requirements: MD/DO degree from an accredited programBoard eligible or certified in Child/Adolescent … More
Company
Universal Health Services
Location
Norfolk, Virginia US
Posted
07/16/2024
Position
Fairmount Behavioral Health System in Philadelphia is actively seeking a Board-Certified/Board-Eligible Psychiatrist for admissions. This role offers a fantastic opportunity for both new graduates and experienced psychiatrists. The schedule is Monday through Friday, 11 am – 7 pm. No weekend requirement. Philadelphia – A vibrant region offering a plethora of recreational activities in close proximity to Philadelphia, NYC, and the beaches of New Jersey. For consideration, … More
Company
Universal Health Services
Location
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania US
Posted
07/16/2024
Position
Join Our TeamTo meet the growing demands in our area, Parkview Health is seeking Board Eligible / Board Certified Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists to work at our Parkview Behavioral Health Institute in … More
Company
Parkview Health
Location
Fort Wayne, Indiana US
Posted
07/16/2024
Position
DIVISION OF STUDENT AFFAIRSDEPARTMENT OF COUNSELING AND PSYCHOLOGICAL SERVICES … More
Company
CSUF Counseling and Psychological Services
Location
Fullerton, California US
Posted
07/16/2024
Position
Discover Exciting Opportunities at The Carolina Center for Behavioral Health Greenville, South Carolina Adult Psychiatrist Child/Adolescent Psychiatrist Geriatric Psychiatrist Carolina Center for Behavioral Health in Greer, SC is seeking passionate Inpatient/Outpatient Psychiatrists to join our esteemed team. As a part of our group, you’ll collaborate with a fully staffed support team, ensuring our patients receive tailored … More
Company
Universal Health Services
Location
Greenville, South Carolina US
Posted
07/16/2024
Position
Kia hiwa ra! Kia hiwa! Mo matou – About us and our Purpose ‘Ko nga tangata, te matua mahi – Putting people at the heart of all we do’ … More
Company
Te Whatu Ora Waitaha Canterbury
Location
Christchurch, NZ
Posted
07/15/2024