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What is a psychiatrist?

Psychiatry is a specific area of medicine that focuses on mental health conditions, from causes and diagnosis to prevention and treatment of a range of different conditions. 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.

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.

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.

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How do you become a psychiatrist?

Becoming a psychiatrist takes a lot of work, and first requires a degree in medicine (M.O) or osteopathic medicine (D.O) followed by several years of practice as a psychiatric resident, which can go on for 4 years. This period of time is spent training in diagnosis, psychopharmacology, and various psychotherapies. Residents are required to finish four months of post-graduate training in internal medicine and at least two months of neurology. After all of this, a candidate will be eligible to take a specialty board examination to become a board-certified psychiatrist. 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.

Psychiatrist salary/earning potential

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. Not many people are able to complete the process, which naturally makes the number of psychiatrists quite small, as few people have all the necessary aptitudes and qualities required to sustain such a long period of work and study.

As such, psychiatrists are paid very well generally, with the average salary being over $200,000 a year. This can be affected by various factors such as experience, location, and the organization being worked for, but generally, psychiatrists are paid well above the average wage in the US and elsewhere, indicating the incredibly skilled and difficult work they undertake.

What does a psychiatrist do in their job?

Psychiatrists are somewhat similar to psychologists in that they are primarily responsible for researching and focusing on mental health issues, however, the difference is that psychiatrists are able to prescribe medicines and treatments that go beyond forms of talk therapy, and which look at finding and treating the underlying cause of mental health issues, be they related to things like depression, mood issues, sleep issues or psychosis.

Psychiatrists can be considered a sort of compromise between a traditional doctor or physician and a psychologist, able to understand mental health and its intricacies while being able to relate these issues to physical causes and finding suitable treatments.

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.

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Position Company Location Posted
Faculty Position, Consultation Liaison Psychiatrist Moffitt Cancer Center Tampa, Florida US 08/08/2022
MOFFITT CANCER CENTERFACULTY POSITION, PSYCHIATRIST The Moffitt Cancer Center is seeking a Consultation Liaison Psychiatrist or Psycho-Oncology Psychiatrist at the Assistant or Associate Member level to fill a faculty position in ... More
Faculty Position, Consultation Liaison Psychiatrist Moffitt Cancer Center Tampa, Florida US 08/08/2022
MOFFITT CANCER CENTERFACULTY POSITION, PSYCHIATRIST The Moffitt Cancer Center is seeking a Consultation Liaison Psychiatrist or Psycho-Oncology Psychiatrist at the Assistant or Associate Member level to fill a faculty position in ... More
PMHNP (Location is 1 Mile from Beach!) Centermark Placements Santa Cruz, California US 08/08/2022
Relocation/Sign-on Bonus Company pays for relocation to Santa Cruz, CA Sign-on Bonus will also be offered to qualified candidates The Company Mission-driven ... More
Care Manager Housing Works Brooklyn, New York US 08/08/2022
Care ManagerHousing Works is a healing community of people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS. Our mission is to end the dual crises of homelessness and AIDS through relentless advocacy, the provision of lifesaving services, and entrepreneurial businesses that sustain our efforts. Join us and make a difference as a Care Manager in Brooklyn.Position Overview:The Care Manager works with clients and the clients network of providers to help minimize ... More
Community Therapist at Weill Cornell Medicine Weill Cornell Medicine New York City, Brooklyn US 08/08/2022
Department: Psychiatry Division: Geriatrics Location: Brooklyn or Staten Island Position Summary Position available for NYS Licensed clinicians interested in delivering evidence-based interventions to older adults at senior centers and conducting outreach activities to help destigmatize mental health in older age, such as community talks and mental health engagement groups. Positions are ... More
Open Rank Clinical Faculty Psychologist University of Houston Houston, Texas US 08/08/2022
Open Rank Clinical Faculty Psychologist Lead Behavioral Health Organization:Behavioral and Social Sciences Description:This is a non-tenure track faculty position for a clinical psychologist that will provide direct patient care as the lead behavioral health faculty for the University of Houston Health Family Care Center. Additionally, this psychologist will contribute to the educational mission of ... More
Clinical Pediatric Gastroenterologist University of Kentucky, Kentucky Children's Hospital, Department of Pediatrics Lexington, Kentucky US 08/08/2022
Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition Kentucky Childrens Hospital and the University of Kentucky are seeking to recruit a clinical pediatric gastroenterologist with an outstanding record of clinical and teaching endeavors. The ideal candidate would join a vibrant and collaborative division of pediatric gastroenterologist and would: Be recruited at the Assistant Professor, Associate Professor or Professor level to the University of Kentucky. ... More
Staff Psychologist Santa Clara University Santa Clara, California US 08/08/2022
Position Title:Staff PsychologistPosition Type:RegularSalary Range:$92,500 - $141,250 annual; commensurate with experiencePay Frequency:AnnualFor Priority Consideration, please apply by April 20, 2022POSITION PURPOSE: The Staff Psychologist (School Psychologist) is a member of the Student Health ... More
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