Career Opportunities Within the Field of Psychiatry

June 22nd, 2016 by

Psychiatrist with childPsychiatry is the study of mental disorders or abnormal behavior. When individuals from all walks of life struggle with these mental or behavioral issues, they often meet with psychiatrists in order to assess their medical problems, receive treatment or medication or undergo private or group therapy. The field of psychiatry is certainly not new, and it is an integral component to overall health.

If you are fascinated by science and medicine, and you want to work directly with patients who benefit from your help, then pursuing a career in psychiatry may be a great option for you.

Learn a little more about what psychiatry is, what types of careers are available within the field, the typical salaries for these careers, what it takes to become a successful professional in psychiatry and the job outlook for the field.

Exploring Psychiatry Further

Since psychiatry is all about mental health, those caregivers who help patients with mental health problems are considered to be working within the field of psychiatry. The most commonly associated treatment with psychiatry is therapy, but that in itself can cover a range of techniques.

Some individuals with mental health issues might benefit from one-on-one verbal therapy, and others might benefit from physical therapy or prescription therapy. Psychiatrists discuss issues with their patients, help them to better control their mental illnesses or disorders, spot patterns in their behavior and even dig deeper into their past to help understand their current mental health issues.

Psychiatry is a valued and important part of health, and it is absolutely essential for a wide range of individuals with mental health problems.

Careers in Psychiatry

Perhaps the most common career associated with psychiatry is that of psychiatrist. On average, most psychiatrists spend around 50 percent of their time meeting directly with patients. The rest of the time might be spent filling out paperwork, researching specific mental issues and new treatment methods, teaching or consulting. Some psychiatrists may also assess patients to determine their diagnosis and potential courses of treatment.

Although it is possible to be a general psychiatrist, many professionals in the field opt to specialize in a niche area. This could mean becoming a geriatric psychiatrist and working with seniors, becoming an addiction psychiatrist to help recovering addicts, becoming a forensic psychiatrist to help understand and apprehend criminals or becoming a neuropsychiatrist, which involves treating patients with nervous systems problems or brain injuries that impact mental health.

For those who want to work in psychiatry, but don’t want to earn an advanced degree, one option is also to become a psychiatric technician or a psychiatric aide, two positions that involve caring directly for people with mental disorders in their daily lives.

Typical Salaries in the Field of Psychiatry

For those who decide to become licensed and registered psychiatrists, salaries can be very lucrative. On average, psychiatrists working full-time in the United States can expect to earn an average of $173,000 each year. Those working in private practices or private clinics tend to earn slightly above average, and those working in state or public hospitals or recovery centers may earn slightly less. Psychiatric technicians can expect to earn just over $31,000 annually, and psychiatric aides earn approximately $28,000 each year.

Psychiatry Job Outlook

Mental health is becoming increasingly appreciated as a key part of wellness. As medical professionals understand the importance of mental health, they are more likely to refer patients to psychiatrists for treatment and medication. This is positive for aspiring psychiatry professionals, and the forecast for job demand in the field predicts a five percent increase over the next decade.

What it Takes to Achieve Success in the Psychiatric Field

Above all, anyone interested in pursuing a career in psychiatry needs to be compassionate, patient, understanding and a good listener. You should also be organized and detail-oriented. To become a psychiatric technician or aide, post-high school training is necessary.

To become a psychiatrist, you will need to earn a bachelor’s degree, attend medical school for four years and then serve a four-year residency before getting licensed.

Learn more about your options to earn your degree online; begin with a search through our directory at

About the Author:

Sandy Davis

Sandy Davis is a long-time educator who holds a Master’s Degree in Education, having taught English, writing, and communication on the secondary and college levels. With ten years of experience in blogging, social media and content management, she is a freelance writer and content marketing specialist for a diverse range of clients.

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