How to become a Psychiatrist

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Thesputopia
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How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by Thesputopia » Fri Jan 02, 2004 4:36 pm

Hi. I am a junior in high school and I am really interested in becoming a psychiatrist, but I need a lot of information. I need grounds and info, but I'm not sure where to find it. If anyone could help me out and give me advice on the steps to getting to where I want to be, that would be much appreciated. Really, any information would help. I'm just really naive in this area and I would like to have more knowledge about it. Thanks.

<edited by DrAdmin 11/29/09>

For people coming to this page looking for quick information about the steps to become a psychiatrist, here's information you'll find on the second page of this thread, but will likely find it useful:
As a quick summary:

First, you will have to do well in high school in order to get accepted to a decent college.

You will most likely go to college for 4 years and take the necessary pre-med courses, which includes 1 year of biology, 1 year of chemistry, 1 year of organic chemistry, and 1 year of physics. Around the end of your 3rd year of college, you will take the MCAT exam (like the SAT but for medical school). You will have to apply for medical schools, and acceptance will be based mostly on your grades in college and your MCAT scores.

Medical school then is an additional 4 years. The first 2 years are basic science classes - anatomy, biochemistry, pathology, histology, pharmacology, and more. The last 2 years are clinical rotations where you work with doctors and resident doctors rotating through all of the major areas of medicine - surgery, internal medicine, Ob-Gyn, pediatrics, psychiatry, neurology, and some electives. During your last year of medical school, you apply for a residency program in your field of interest - in your case psychiatry. You then go on interviews and the different programs. You rank the programs of interest to you, and the programs rank the applicants. It all goes into a computer, and around Mid-march you find out where you are doing your residency.

Residency in psychiatry is then a 4 year experience. You spend 4 months doing general medicine rotations either in pediatrics, family medicine, or internal medicine. You spend 2 months doing neurology rotations. The remainder of the residency is in a variety of areas of psychiatry plus electives. Essentially, you spend around 1 year doing inpatient psychiatry, 1 year doing outpatient psychiatry, and the remainder of the time is spent doing subspecialties of psychiatry - consultation liaison psychiatry (now called psychosomatic medicine), addiction psychiatry, child psychiatry, geriatric psychiatry, forensic psychiatry, and a few others, plus electives.

At the end of those 4 years, you are a board eligible psychiatrist.


Marie
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Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by Marie » Fri Jan 02, 2004 9:22 pm

Although they are not specific to psychiatry (they're about becoming a medical doctor, which is the same pathway to becoming a psychiatrist), check out the following websites: http://www.aamc.org/students/considering/careers.htm and http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/category/2320.html . People often confuse psychiatrists and psychologists, so if you're interested in psychology, check out http://www.apa.org/students/student1.html . Best of luck!

Guest

Re: How to become a Psychiatrist - Wow, Thanks!

Post by Guest » Sat Jan 31, 2004 3:19 pm

Those websites you provided are really helpful! I'm a sophmore in Highschool and am really interested in Psychiatry, but didn't quiter know how to become one. Thankyou very much.

Guest

Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by Guest » Thu Apr 29, 2004 4:55 pm

you can also visit psychiatry.com ifu need more info

Guest

Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by Guest » Thu May 20, 2004 8:29 pm

wow man, I am in the same predicament as you and the only thing that I'd love doin more than Architectural design/Programming is to be a psychologist(call me a shrink :-o ). Am also a sophomore high school.
--------------------------------------------------


kephartj
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Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by kephartj » Thu May 20, 2004 9:34 pm

i like to help people with their problems. you know talk them through. them and give them options on what they can do. which one would i want to be.

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DrDave
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Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by DrDave » Thu May 20, 2004 10:24 pm

I am assuming you are asking whether you would rather be a psychiatrist than a psychologist? If so, check out the thread below. Basically, psychiatrists are medical doctors who can prescribe medications, so most do prescribe medications when appropriate. Psychologists can not prescribe medications (in almost all states) and are trained almost entirely on "talk therapy". If you are more interested in providing talk therapy, then you'd probably be more interested in being a psychologist.

Here's the thread to review:

Psychology compared to psychiatry

Guest

Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by Guest » Thu Jun 24, 2004 6:05 pm

I have been a teacher for 6 years.

I'm married and have two children.

We have a good life but I'm not very happy because I when I got married at 19 I had to change my major and settle for a teaching degree.

What I really wanted was to be a physician, a psychiatrist.

During this semester, I realized that I surrendered my dream.

Now, I think is too late to consider going to any medical school anywhere.

What should I do?

Is it too late?

Are there any alternatives?

I hope there aren't any because I'm really scared to find out that it is not too late and then feel guilty for not having the guts to do it.

Can you help me?

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DrDave
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Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by DrDave » Thu Jun 24, 2004 7:11 pm

Only you know what you should do. I'd say it's never too late to go to medical school and become a psychiatrist, if you are smart enough and motivated enough.

Whether it is a good idea or not is a different story.

I'm not sure what type of alternatives you are looking for - like becoming a counselor or therapist, or as far as way to go to medical school as a second career?

As for feeling guilty about giving up on opportunities - there are always options that you have to pass up on. There is never any way to know whether you made the best decision.

First, I definitely wouldn't feel guilty for passing up an opportunity to become a psychiatrist as a second career - a lot of work would be involved, starting with taking the necessary classes to get into medical school, then going to medical school for 4 years, then doing a 4 year residency. That doesn't include the cost of doing this - which for you is not only the tuition costs, but also the lost income from leaving your current job.

I've known people who did it - most weren't married with kids, but a few were. They had spouses and circumstances where they didn't have excessive concerns about finances or child care issues - which would be huge concerns for most people.

These are obviously issues you need to discuss with your spouse - as it will have a dramatic impact on your relationship and your family - not necessarily a bad impact, but it would change things significantly.

You said you aren't happy because at 19 you had to get married, change majors, and settle for a teaching degree - perhaps passing up on a psychiatry career isn't the reason for your unhappiness. I think teaching is an excellent profession, and I know many teachers who are very happy doing what they do. Is it something specific about your job that perhaps you just need a different teaching position? If you are truly unhappy, perhaps meeting with a therapist would be helpful?

Please don't take this as professional advice, I'm just someone who has been through the process - not an expert by any means. I also went straight through college to medical school and residency, so I can't comment on what it's like to go back after another career.

Guest

Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by Guest » Mon Aug 02, 2004 8:25 pm

go for it!!

Guest

Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by Guest » Mon Aug 02, 2004 8:37 pm

Sweetheart it is never too late.My mother has 2 children and at age 37 she changed her career and went to nursing school.I know becoming a physician is a bit more difficult but you can do it.I am in my last year of high school and i have been wanting to be a doctor for the longest.I have been asking Admin Questions concerning the medical field.You dont want to be 60 or 70 years old having regrets about what you could have became.I think teaching is a good profession.But if you you are in the wrong field then i think you need to go back to school to become a Psychiatrist or whatever it is you want to become. I know for a fact that most teachers tell there students that they can be what ever they want to be. I think you need to take that advice for yourself,and dont let anything stand in your way.I'll wish you the best of luck..GO FOR IT!!!!!!! this is Kandy

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Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by Corpsman-Up » Tue Aug 03, 2004 11:19 pm

Is it do-able?

Absolutely.

Is it friggin' hard?

You bet.

I am attending medical school as a second career, and I love it. However, I also have a spouse who supports me wholeheartedly in following this aspiration, and I have a military affiliation which helps with the financial aspect.

If (IFF) you have the support of your family, (and not whimsical "jeepers it'd sure be swell if sweetums was a doctor" support, but actual informed support), I would say go for it. There are two people I can think of in my class who were teachers before medical school. They are doing juuust fine.

BTW, I am 36 years old. There is one woman in my class who is 50. Age needn't be a barrier, unless you choose to let it. Make sure you have examined the trek thoroughly, however. It is not for everyone.
Curtis Nordstrom
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Tru story here

Post by Guest » Thu Aug 12, 2004 4:47 am

True story here!

My mums friends husband (Long chain) before going to medical school, was a Chemistry teacher, he decided to change in his early 30's in which he became a doctor.

he carried this on into his 40's and now is (not sure what its exactly called) a A grade dcotor and also a fully qualified psychiatrist.
Yet he started at the age of 30!

Heh I guess it's hard I myself want to beceome a psychiatrist unliek my mum who is a psychologist!
But yet there is one majoy difference, and i know this fromfirst ahdn experience, Psyhciatrist earn in nearly all cases MUCH more than psychologists even when taking private patients full time.

But its not all about the money and yes psychologists themselves (privates) earn a nice ammount of money and is a good enjoyable job, but is damned hard to become one!
yet my mums 47 and she's been qualified for 5 years yet she is still one and is managing great etc. And still managed to carry ons tudying even through the death of my father!

So there is no stopping you to become a psychiatrist no matter what your age or gender, ethnicity etc. Hope eveyrone achieves there dream, for I for one am going to hehe! :-D

Guest

Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by Guest » Wed Sep 22, 2004 3:21 pm

Hi, Im a Freshmen in High school and I've been wanting to be a psychiatrist for a long time and now I have to do a project on career search and I cant find any thing about how to become a psychiatrist or how long I have to go to schoolto be one.Please give me some kind of web sight I can go to to find info.

Thesputopia wrote:
Hi. I am a junior in high school and I am really interested in becoming a psychiatrist, but I need a lot of information. I need grounds and info, but I'm not sure where to find it. If anyone could help me out and give me advice on the steps to getting to where I want to be, that would be much appreciated. Really, any information would help. I'm just really naive in this area and I would like to have more knowledge about it. Thanks.

Corpsman-Up
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Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by Corpsman-Up » Wed Sep 22, 2004 4:39 pm

This is the website for you, definitely.

Look around, use the search function, and see the links in the upper right-hand section of the front page.

Good luck on your paper! :-D
Curtis Nordstrom
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DrDave
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Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by DrDave » Wed Sep 22, 2004 7:27 pm

As a quick summary:

First, you will have to do well in high school in order to get accepted to a decent college.

You will most likely go to college for 4 years and take the necessary pre-med courses, which includes 1 year of biology, 1 year of chemistry, 1 year of organic chemistry, and 1 year of physics. Around the end of your 3rd year of college, you will take the MCAT exam (like the SAT but for medical school). You will have to apply for medical schools, and acceptance will be based mostly on your grades in college and your MCAT scores.

Medical school then is an additional 4 years. The first 2 years are basic science classes - anatomy, biochemistry, pathology, histology, pharmacology, and more. The last 2 years are clinical rotations where you work with doctors and resident doctors rotating through all of the major areas of medicine - surgery, internal medicine, Ob-Gyn, pediatrics, psychiatry, neurology, and some electives. During your last year of medical school, you apply for a residency program in your field of interest - in your case psychiatry. You then go on interviews and the different programs. You rank the programs of interest to you, and the programs rank the applicants. It all goes into a computer, and around Mid-march you find out where you are doing your residency.

Residency in psychiatry is then a 4 year experience. You spend 4 months doing general medicine rotations either in pediatrics, family medicine, or internal medicine. You spend 2 months doing neurology rotations. The remainder of the residency is in a variety of areas of psychiatry plus electives. Essentially, you spend around 1 year doing inpatient psychiatry, 1 year doing outpatient psychiatry, and the remainder of the time is spent doing subspecialties of psychiatry - consultation liaison psychiatry (now called psychosomatic medicine), addiction psychiatry, child psychiatry, geriatric psychiatry, forensic psychiatry, and a few others, plus electives.

At the end of those 4 years, you are a board eligible psychiatrist.

Guest

Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by Guest » Mon Oct 04, 2004 6:43 pm

hey,
i still don't understand. What classes do you take in high school to become a psychologyst then what do you do in college to get your degree... im very confused and would like a little better understanding to fullfil my dream. :-? please help..
thank you

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Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by Corpsman-Up » Mon Oct 04, 2004 7:12 pm

In HS, take college prep courses.

In college, take whatever major you like, but make sure that you take the pre-medical science courses to prepare you for the MCAT exam.

Then, apply to medical school, and after you finish that you can become a psychiatrist by completing residency training in that specialty.

That's the Cliff Notes version...

Good luck!
Curtis Nordstrom
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"Unum nihil, duos plurimum posse..."

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Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by Guest » Sat Aug 13, 2005 10:37 pm

hi there..i'm a junior n high school also and i want 2 become a psychiatrist. What all do you need to know because i know ALOT of stuff about psychiatry. hmm lets see. a psychiatrist basically diagnoses and treats patients who are mentally ill, they can use either therapy or prescribe them a medication. They can work independently or with a company.(i plan on working independently). In order to become a licensed psychiatrist you must complete high school. get your bachelors degree in college.have experience working in a medical setting, and take a couple tests to become certified or licensed in your state.(its 2 tests here in texas i think).when you're in school you can decide whether 2 specialize in pediatric,geriatric or adult psychology.i figure i'll be done with all my school and training by the time i'm 30. the average income for a psychiatrist in the united states is 160,000per year.i'm not sure if u live in the u.s. or not.i started reading about psychology when i was in 9th grade and i found that Half Price Books stores carry ALOT of psychological books.you might also want to read about sociology.its about the behaviors of humans and stuff like that.i hope i helped u

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DrDave
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Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by DrDave » Sun Aug 14, 2005 9:37 am

Junior in HS,

You did provide some accurate information there, but it's not quite complete. I think it's great that you already have an idea of what you want to do with your life, but I would suggest keeping an open mind throughout college and medical school - you might be surprised to find something even more interesting to you than psychiatry.

The other thing to realize is that while you said after college you need to get some experience working in a medical setting, you are accurate - but not complete. You actually need to do well enough in college with your grades and MCAT test scores to get into medical school - which is very competitive. Med school is 4 VERY challenging years.

During your last year of medical school, you apply for residency. Psychiatry residency programs are generally not that competitive, but the top programs are. The residency program is 4 years, during which time you do clinical work under the supervision of other physicians. Parts of psychiatry residency are very hard work with little sleep and long hours. At some programs, the entire residency may be that way. At many psychiatry residencies, you do get a little bit less work the last 2 years - but it is still a lot of time at most programs.

You obviously pay for college. You have to pay for medical school, but most people can get educational loans (lots of them) for medical school. Residency pays around $35k-$40k, which doesn't sound too bad, but based on an hourly rate is probably close to minimum wage. Most people defer their loans throughout that time, but some will start paying them off near the end of residency. With somewhat less work the last two years, some programs will allow residents to do moonlighting work. This type of work can vary a lot, but can pay fairly well. Some very motivated residents have made a decent living, but they were VERY busy.

Once done with residency, you are "board eligible" which means you can work as a psychiatrist at most places. There is then a two step certification exam that takes about 1 year to complete if you are lucky and pass everything your first try. There is first a written exam - multiple choice, typical type of exam, that I believe has around an 80% pass rate. It has a lot of very tough questions as 1/3 of it is neurology and 2/3 are psychiatry. From what I recall, the neurology questions were VERY hard. You have to get a certain percent right on each part to pass. So, if you ace the psychiatry part, you can still fail the exam if you don't get enough right on the neurology part.

The second part of the exam is the more controversial. Once you've passed the written exam, you will get scheduled for an oral exam. The oral exam consists of 2 parts - a video portion and a live patient. For the video portion, you watch a 30 minute video of part of an interview, and then you meet with 2 examiners (I heard it may now go to 1 examiner plus a floating examiner who comes in and out of the various rooms) for a 30 minute test. You are expected to present the patient and then answer questions from the examiners.

For the live patient part of the test, you have a real patient you've never seen before come in the room, and you have 30 minutes to interview that patient. You then have a 30 minute test where you present the case to 2 (now maybe 1?) examiner and then answer questions.

While the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology has tried to make this an objective exam. Personally, I think it is an awful test. Not only is it very anxiety provoking which effects some candidates much more than others, but there are many many random factors. The particular patient, the particular examiners, what questions you might get asked and whether they fit in with your knowledge areas or not. Of course, the entire interview is an artificial situation.

I'm not sure there is a better way to test candidates, though - as the ability to interview patients is a vital part of psychiatry. And the field of psychiatry is trying to maintain credibility of the profession - so it is important to make sure board certified candidates are able to effectively talk with patients. Of course, I think this is important for almost all fields of medicine - yet very few other fields require an oral exam. Most of the abilities to interview, present, and understand patients are observed during residency, but I suppose completion of residency does not necessarily mean you are competent. My thought is that just passing the exam doesn't mean you are competent either.

And did I mention that the oral exam has around a 50% pass rate? This is for people who have done well enough in college to get into med school. Have completed med school and matched in a residency. Have completed a residency and passed a challenging written exam.

Your target age for finishing training is probably about right.

Complete High School around age 18, complete college around age 22, complete medical school around age 26, and complete residency around age 30. That's if you go straight through.

More and more people are taking extra time in college (5 years instead of 4), having a career before going back to med school and taking time off during med school (to do things like research or pursue a second degree).

In my case, I happily went straight through the whole process - actually cut one year off of college but added an extra year of residency to do a combined internal medicine / psychiatry residency program. I am very glad to be done with the training aspect of things.

I probably should have broken my answer down into several different threads, but maybe eventually I'll put together one thread of frequently asked questions or something like that.

Thanks for your comments!

Guest

Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by Guest » Sun Aug 14, 2005 6:57 pm

Hi- I started to medical school in Tennessee when I was 40 after entering college as a mother of two at age 34.My kids are grown now and I am now a 55 year old practicing gero-psychiatrist and I really love working with my patients. Certainly you are not too old to pursue your dream. It can be hard to complete a medical education as a young mother but not impossible with good support in place.

Guest

Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by Guest » Wed Aug 17, 2005 8:21 pm

Thank You so much for your inspiring response. I am a 34 yr. old single mom with a 3 year old daughter. I am currently at a junior college and planning to transfer. I was just becoming discouraged about pursuing psychiatry until I read what you said. Thanks again..you have touched me.

Guest

Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by Guest » Sun Aug 21, 2005 9:43 pm

I am a junior in high school and i have to write a career search paper as well. Psychiatry has always been my dream, and i just want to thank all of the people on this site for providing such copious and accurate information on the subject. You have saved my life with this paper!!! THANK YOU!!!

Guest

Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by Guest » Tue Sep 06, 2005 7:54 am

I deeply appreciate your information here. It's most informative. I'm currently in college and hope as well to push into med school and eventually become a psychiatrist. I did have one question though that still lingers. Is there a doctoral thesis involved in the graduation process from med school?

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Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by Polymath » Tue Sep 06, 2005 9:28 pm

no

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Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by Guest » Fri Feb 10, 2006 12:10 pm

I'm a senior in HS gettin ready for the whole college scene and my goal has always been to become a psychiatrist. Although i have at many times become discouraged because of all the people that say it is a very hard career because of med school being able to get accepted to one and then the residency and every thing like that. Is it really as hard as it seems to become a psychiatrist and is it worth going through all this hardwork?

[ Edited by Admin on 2006/2/10 18:14 ]

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Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by psychmike » Wed Oct 11, 2006 7:40 pm

I am another future psychiatrist with no clue where to start. I served in the military for five years as an air traffic controller. I am currently working in Ecuador now as an air traffic controller. I have researched some colleges online but didn't know what exactly to look for. Do I go for a BS in psychology? What would your opinion be concerning online colleges? Would Med School look at it as a bad thing? I think an online college would be my only option right now since I am not in the states. What do you recommend?

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Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by DrDave » Wed Oct 11, 2006 10:13 pm

You can major in any field as long as you complete all your pre-med classes. I can not imagine there is any online college that would be adequate to get accepted into medical school.

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Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by Guest » Sat Sep 06, 2008 12:39 am

Hey I'm a junior thinking about it too. Not sure I want to spend so much time in school though if I get the chance. Is there any easier way? haha I hope so. I take psychology right now and love the class. I've always been interested in those TV scenes involving therapy even though those aren't 100% accurate. If only it was a lot easier and quicker then this would be an easy decision for me.

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Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by DrDave » Sun Sep 07, 2008 8:33 pm

Guest wrote:Hey I'm a junior thinking about it too. Not sure I want to spend so much time in school though if I get the chance. Is there any easier way? haha I hope so. I take psychology right now and love the class. I've always been interested in those TV scenes involving therapy even though those aren't 100% accurate. If only it was a lot easier and quicker then this would be an easy decision for me.
As a Junior in high school, it is really too early to know exactly what you want to do for a career. Unfortunately, there are not many ways to shorten the path to becoming a psychiatrist. You could do one of the BA/MD programs that may allow you to combine medical school and college into 6 or 7 years, but you give up a lot in the process - you miss out on the college experience and never really fit in with the medical school class. This process is definitely not easier but is quicker.

You mention enjoying the TV scenes involving therapy - in general that type of therapy is now more likely to be provided by a psychologist than a psychiatrist. In my opinion, the path to becoming a psychologist is significantly less difficult than the path to become a psychiatrist.

If you are really considering the psychiatrist route, I'd suggest you take the required pre-med classes as well as all of the other college courses that you find interesting. Give yourself time, as it is still very early to be locking yourself into a career choice. You'll have just as many options even if you decide not to pursue medical school / psychiatry.

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Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by Guest » Mon Jan 12, 2009 6:19 pm

Is it bad if I kinda want to become a psychiatrist for the salary? I mean what I REALLY want to do is become a sociologist, because it's my favorite subject. However, the pay for a sociologist isn't that great and I'm afraid that actually conducting sociological research won't be nearly as enjoyable or fascinating as learning about sociology. Anyways, I plan on majoring in sociology as well as taking any required premed courses. I also wouldn't mind being a psychiatrist, it isn't my top choice but it's definitely up there

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Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by DrDave » Mon Jan 12, 2009 8:17 pm

Guest wrote:Is it bad if I kinda want to become a psychiatrist for the salary? I mean what I REALLY want to do is become a sociologist, because it's my favorite subject. However, the pay for a sociologist isn't that great and I'm afraid that actually conducting sociological research won't be nearly as enjoyable or fascinating as learning about sociology. Anyways, I plan on majoring in sociology as well as taking any required premed courses. I also wouldn't mind being a psychiatrist, it isn't my top choice but it's definitely up there
On the surface, it may seem bad that you want to select a career choice based on salary; however, I think in almost all cases salary will factor in on a job decision. Whether we like it or not, money is a necessary thing. If you said it was the only factor in your decision, I'd agree it's a bad thing. Considering it as a factor, even an important factor, is pretty typical.

I don't know anyone who is a professional sociologist. I would guess that most sociologists are professors at universities - and probably make similar salaries to other university professors. The pay is probably not great, but probably not horrible either. As you point out, you don't even know yet what a career in sociology would actually be like. In fact, you may find that a lot of what you find interesting in sociology overlaps with the types of things you would need to know as a psychiatrist.

You seem to be taking a very well thought out approach of majoring in a field that interests you, and also taking the necessary pre-med courses in case you should decide that medical school is the route you want to take. As you take more college level sociology courses, you will have an opportunity to talk with professors who can give you more insight about what most people do who major in sociology and ultimately make a well-informed decision.

The bottom line is that you want to be working in a field that interests you - and most likely, you will wind up selecting the best job (factoring in not just salarly but also other life style factors) of those that seem interesting. It is always a good thing to have options and the best scenario is to have to pick from several different jobs any of which would be satisfactory.

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Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by Ketski » Thu Jan 15, 2009 8:06 pm

Regarding medical school, does it matter which one you go to?
By that I mean, do employers look at which medical school one goes to, and will the salary in general differ if one goes to a different medical school than another?
Which ones do you recommend, and why?

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Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by DrDave » Thu Jan 15, 2009 8:40 pm

Ketski wrote:Regarding medical school, does it matter which one you go to?
By that I mean, do employers look at which medical school one goes to, and will the salary in general differ if one goes to a different medical school than another?
Which ones do you recommend, and why?
The medical school you attend definitely shapes you as a physician - as does the residency program you attend. It's not so much the employers you are looking at, but what do prospective residency programs think of the medical school you attended. In addition to getting a solid medical education (the most important criteria you should use for selecting a medical school), one goal of medical school is to get matched into the residency program you want. Match statistics can be a useful way to evaluate a medical school. For competitive programs, the better the reputation of the medical school, the better your chances are of getting accepted. There are competitive fields of medicine (like plastic surgery, orthopedic surgery, dermatology) and then there are competitive residency programs (pretty much any field at Harvard for example).

There are many decent medical schools where you will be competitive for more residency programs. There are a few medical schools that are lower tier and then there are a few medical schools that are upper tier. While it is usually a controversial list, a good indication of the highest regarded medical schools can be found at US News and World Reports.

When I was looking at medical schools, I was always curious to see the match lists of the recent graduates. You want to see which types of residencies the graduates pursued (were they more primary care fields or more specialty fields) and how high on their match lists did they match (top choice, top 3 choices, unmatched, etc).

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Ketski
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Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by Ketski » Thu Jan 15, 2009 10:38 pm

Thanks for responding. I've looked at that list several times before and I have a few questions.

1. As an inspiring psychiatrist, should I pay more attention to the Primary Care Score or Research Score or both?
2. Would it be a good idea to attend the university of the medical school I'm trying to attend? (higher chance of medical schools accepting their own university students?)
3. And I've found this site that ranks psychiatric programs by how much research money they've been funded. Would this be an good indication on how well these programs compare with other programs?
http://www.residentphysician.com/Psychi ... nkings.htm

And for those who need it, there is a list of programs by the "Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical School" here:
http://www.acgme.org/adspublic/reports/ ... cialty.asp

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Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by DrDave » Thu Jan 15, 2009 11:11 pm

Ketski wrote:Thanks for responding. I've looked at that list several times before and I have a few questions.

1. As an inspiring psychiatrist, should I pay more attention to the Primary Care Score or Research Score or both?
2. Would it be a good idea to attend the university of the medical school I'm trying to attend? (higher chance of medical schools accepting their own university students?)
3. And I've found this site that ranks psychiatric programs by how much research money they've been funded. Would this be an good indication on how well these programs compare with other programs?
http://www.residentphysician.com/Psychi ... nkings.htm

And for those who need it, there is a list of programs by the "Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical School" here:
http://www.acgme.org/adspublic/reports/ ... cialty.asp
1. Both can be factored in - and anyone can make a list based on different criteria - the list is just to give a general idea of name recognition within the medical field. Research Score is probably a better indication of rank within the academic community - primary care score gives a good idea of programs that tend to direct students in the direction of primary care.

2. I would not select a university based on the idea that you want to go to their medical school. Go the best undergrad university for you - and you'll get into the best medical school for you. I don't think a medical school would give preference over someone from their undergrad program over someone with better credentials from another school. Perhaps if you do research for someone in the medical school who is influential, you can get a bit of an advantage, but I'd say that is a HUGE exception to the rule of how people get into medical school.

3. I've actually never seen that list before - and I think that actually is a pretty decent list if you needed to come up with a list. Of course, there is more to getting a good education than just research dollars, but I do have to say that I don't see any rankings that seem particularly off from that list.

some random kid

Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by some random kid » Sat Mar 07, 2009 2:05 pm

wow, thanks a ton.
i'm a sophomore in high school adn i've always wanted to be a psychiatrist, so these links and stufff were really helpful!

Guest

Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by Guest » Sat Mar 07, 2009 3:46 pm

I have a question. What math class would be more useful to take if I plan on becoming a psychologist-psychiatrist, Calculus or Statistics? I am still a junior in high school, but i havent yet decided which math class to take next yr. Which would be more useful if I plan on majoring in psychology in college?

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Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by DrDave » Mon Mar 09, 2009 7:13 pm

Guest wrote:I have a question. What math class would be more useful to take if I plan on becoming a psychologist-psychiatrist, Calculus or Statistics? I am still a junior in high school, but i havent yet decided which math class to take next yr. Which would be more useful if I plan on majoring in psychology in college?
You really don't need calculus in the practice of either psychology or psychiatry. There are only a few medical schools that require calculus before starting medical school. Many kids going to college to be pre-med take Calculus their senior year of high school as they are in the advanced track in high school. It is certainly not required though.

Statistics class is likely something you'd take as part of a psychology program and while it is useful to know, you really don't need to take it before college / graduate school.

So basically take whatever will help you get into the best college. I'd say most likely calculus will look better, as long as you get a decent grade.

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Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by bones_inyourpoop » Sun May 03, 2009 3:12 pm

Hi, im currently a freshman in high school. I believe i have a gift that would really help in being a psychiatrist. I want to do my best and become a psychiatrist but i dont know how. Im truly very very lazy and dont do well in my classes. How do i motivate myself to pass with good grades, go to college, then medical school, etc.??? Also, are there any specific classes i can take??? Dont get me wrong, Im in GT classes but i get lazy VERY often and dont work to my potential "as i've been told wayyyy tooo many times" :roll:

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Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by DrDave » Mon May 04, 2009 12:24 am

Bones,

There are many reasons people don't do as well in classes as they should. I think you first need to sort out why you don't do well in school. Why is it that you are "lazy"? Is it because you are depressed? Is it because you are bored with the material? Is it because the material is too hard? I think your goal now should be to do as well as you possibly can in your high school classes. If you ultimately want to go to medical school, you will need to take your classes seriously and get good grades.

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Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by acceber » Sat May 09, 2009 11:46 pm

Wow after reading the academic criteria to be a psychiatrist I don't think I want to become one anymore. It sounds so stressful & I'm afraid I will get a mental breakdown. I'm a 16 year old Junior College student in Singapore and I actually wanted to study medicine to be a psychiatrist. However, medical school is really competitive in my country & I don't want to "kill" myself trying to get in.
I want to focus on therapy so I'm thinking of becoming a psychologist instead. But my main concern is whether I can prescribe medication as a psychologist to complement therapy. I believe therapy works best with medication for many cases. I think both prescribing medication & therapy are extremely crucial & I want to be able to do them both. What should I do? Should I get a degree in psychology and get a medical degree afterwards (will it take too long?) or work extremely hard to get into medical school?

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Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by DrDave » Wed May 13, 2009 10:23 pm

Acceber,

Medical school is very competitive in the US as well. Many people get very stressed before, during, and after medical school, so you aren't the first to think it sounds overwhelming.

Having said that, medical school can be a very rewarding path, and it is a necessary step to becoming a psychiatrist. In a few states in the US, they have started to allow psychologists to prescribe medications. Those psychologists need to have special training. I know New Mexico was the first state to allow this, with the main goal being to increase access to medication treatment of mental illness in areas where there aren't enough psychiatrists. I personally haven't followed the outcomes of psychologist prescribing, although I am curious how it is going. Most states still do not allow psychologists to prescribe.

I definitely wouldn't go into psychology with the expectation that you will be able to prescribe medications with additional training. Yes - you could go to medical school after getting your graduate degree in psychology, but I would definitely not recommend that route. There are many reasons, least of which is that much of what you will learn in your psychology program would also be learned in a psychiatry residency and be redundant. It will add years to your training with the benefits not being worth the time (in my opinion). I also think it would be harder to be motivated to complete medical school knowing you already have a professional degree that would keep you gainfully employed.

Most psychologists work in collaboration with a psychiatrist. Often a psychologist will ask a psychiatrist to evaluate someone whom they feel might benefit from medications. Additionally, most psychiatrists refer patients to psychologists for therapy. Just because you can't personally prescribe medications doesn't mean you can treat the patients. The psychologist deals with the therapy side and the psychiatrist manages the medications.

If you are really set on doing both medication management and provide therapy yourself, then you should do your best to get into medical school.

Bryanna

Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by Bryanna » Thu May 28, 2009 4:34 am

I am a Jr. in high school trying to research careers. I flunked my first 2 years of HS due to anxiety(causing absences). I transfered to an independant study program at a local adult/alternative school where I'm now on the fast track to early graduation. I cannot afford to go straight to a Uni so will be going to a community college for the first 2 years. Originally I wanted to look into becomming a psychologist. But knowing me, I want to know what is 1 step further, just to be sure. My history with science in my early HS/middle school years was bad. I cannot tell if this was because of the absences or not, because I did well in my independant study Bio class. I probably won't know till I take whatever science class is assigned my first college years. ANYWAY in your opinion, what are the chances that someone with my odd background and minimum(like, none at all) science experience can succeed in the schooling it takes to become a psychiatrist?

People always tell me I'm intelligent and I reply that I'm common sense smart, not book smart.
I would just try and pursue psychology but it feels like I'm just "settling"
I know I'm a little early at deciding what I want to do but I need to know the paths to different careers, I don't like just jumping blindly into things.
Whatever I decide to do, I want to focus on children, because I sure could have used a good therapist a few years ago. I feel like I could really relate to alot of people.

Sorry for my rambling :P

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Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by DrDave » Sun Jun 07, 2009 10:31 pm

Bryanna,

I think you are right to think that your background is a unique path to lead to being a doctor, although I don't see that your experience in and of itself is limiting your options. I think you are also correct in your thinking that taking college level pre-med science classes will be a good test to see if being a doctor is a reasonable choice for you. If you can do well in pre-med level science courses, then your high school experience shouldn't be a major issue to your getting into medical school. In fact, I think your experience in overcoming challenges will be a big asset to you as either a psychologist or psychiatrist, and an admission's board should view it that way as well.

msc

Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by msc » Thu Jun 11, 2009 1:09 pm

Hi. I am contemplating becoming a psychiatrist as a second career. I am interested in finding out how I should go about taking the necessary classes to apply to med school. I have always been interested in the field of psychiatry but was discouraged from pursuing it when I was in college. I caved a bit too easily and majored in Finance instead (something I was told was a bit more practical). I am hoping it's not too late for me to pursue this even though I didn't take any of the necessary science classes in college. I am just at a loss as to whether there are college programs what I can apply to in order to take these fundamental science classes.

Thanks

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Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by DrDave » Sat Jun 13, 2009 9:38 am

msc,

I know a few people who were in the finance field prior to going to medical school. The people I know took classes at a local university in the evenings while they were still working. They were able to take pre-med level science classes. They then took the MCAT and applied to medical school. I would suggest you contact a local university to see if they offer the coursework you would need to go to medical school. It is a big investment of time and money, but the people I know seem very happy (once they were finally done with training). Just keep in mind that medical school is very challenging even for students who go straight through from college (academically, emotionally, and financially). It is probably even more challenging for those who have taken time off before going back. It can be done, and many people do it, but it is not an easy road.

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Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by LCB » Wed Jan 27, 2010 7:22 am

Hi, I have a similar predicament as the one mentioned earlier. I can't decide which math classes(s) to take next year. I'm currently in Pre-Cal and my choices are: College Algebra, Calculus AB or BC, and AP Statistics. I want to avoid Calculus because math is not my best subject but I want to be sure that if I'm planning to do something along the lines of becoming a psychiatrist, I for sure won't need to take the class later because if I have to take it some time, I'll take it next year. Also, I want to take AP Stat because I know I need that class but the Stat teacher at my school isn't that great at all. Should I wait to take that class until college or just deal with it next year. I'm pretty sure I will take College Algebra though. What should I do?

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Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by DrDave » Sat Jan 30, 2010 12:43 pm

Most medical schools do not require calculus, but a few do. You may want to check with a few medical schools that you'd consider (like your top state school and maybe one or two private schools) and see if those particular schools require calculus. Assuming you don't need calculus, what you take in high school probably doesn't matter too much. You usually need to take 1 year of college level math though.

Here is a nice list of medical schools with math requirements. If a medical school is not listed, it is because they don't have a math requirement. Of those listed, almost all require a year of college level math and many recommend calculus (but it isn't required). A few do require 1 semester of calculus and a few require 1 year of calculus. A few require statistics and a few recommend statistics.

McBride4

Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by McBride4 » Mon Jun 28, 2010 11:17 pm

I'm currently a college student, taking courses to prepare for getting a degree in Psychiatry. I have a few questions about reaching that final "Goal".

I thought the most logical thing to do is take the pre-med classes and getting a bachelors in Psychology, but I saw in one of your previous responses that that isn't a route you would recommend. Should I change my course, and major in something else?

Also, do you know how moving to London would affect becoming a Psychiatrist? Or are all of the requirements going to be the same over there? and will the final outcome be the same (income, job availability, etc.)?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks,
Glenn McBride
(Sorry, I posted this initially in the wrong place)

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Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by DrDave » Tue Jun 29, 2010 8:40 pm

Glenn,

If I previously said that majoring in psychology was a bad idea, then I need to clarify, as it isn't a bad idea. You should major in whatever field you like. If I said something about majoring in a field other than psychology, I was probably saying that you will learn all you need to know about psychology and psychiatry during a residency program in psychiatry, and you should major in whatever field you find most interesting. Majoring in psychology won't help you get into a psychiatry residency, but it won't hurt you either. If you really like psychology (which most psychiatrists do) and there are a lot of psychology courses at your college you want to take, then it makes sense to major in psychology.

Bottom line - don't change your major unless there are other courses you want to take. Your major really makes no difference as to your chances of getting into medical school or a particular residency. Your major should reflect your personal interests. The only other potential factor in selecting a major that gives you other career options if medical school doesn't work out for you.

I know virtually nothing about the medical system in London so I'm sorry that I can't help you on that one. The medical systems are different throughout the world and I'm sure that you would have to do special tests and meet extra requirements to train in another part of the world from where you ultimately want to work. Make sure you get information from someone who knows the two systems.

Best of luck.

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Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by kimsmarkin » Sat Sep 25, 2010 1:11 am

I am interested in becoming a psychiatrist. I would like to know more about the schooling after high school. Basically any information you have about school and just being a psychiatrist would be much appreciated .Information on schools in the Chicago area is preferred. Just tell me everything about the life of an aspiring psychiatrist.
The only thing we have to fear is fear itself

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Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by DrDave » Sat Sep 25, 2010 11:55 pm

kimsmarkin,

The very first post in this thread has a summary of schooling after high school. There are many schools in Chicago - both for undergraduate education as well as medical school. If you have more specific questions, feel free to ask.

lover j

Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by lover j » Thu Oct 07, 2010 12:50 pm

Hi. I am a junior in high school. I want to go into the field of Psychiatry, but I don't know what college is good for me to attend and what minors I should take. What should I do?

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Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by DrDave » Thu Oct 07, 2010 9:41 pm

lover j wrote:Hi. I am a junior in high school. I want to go into the field of Psychiatry, but I don't know what college is good for me to attend and what minors I should take. What should I do?
I would suggest you attend the best college for you - which means the one that has the best academics, but also consider cost, location, and class sizes. It is preferable if the college is known to have success in having graduates get into medical school. You'll want to make sure they offer the required pre-med science courses, and preferably in a curriculum meants for students interested in applying to medical school.

You can major / minor in anything you want.

Freyaya

Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by Freyaya » Wed Nov 24, 2010 7:56 pm

Hello there,

I'm a sophomore in high school, and I realize that I'm a bit younger than everyone else asking about Psychiatry here, but I've found that even in my Psychology class, I'm taking more notes than any other class and really focusing all my attention on it, especially the more scientific aspects of it. My question is this: In college, are there different classes for Psychology itself and then other classes for Psychiatry? Or is it that there's a general medical course that, from there, you choose the Psychiatry major in medical school?

My other question regards actual colleges. I use College Board to search for colleges, but not many seem to cater to Psychitatry, while several cater to Psychology, which ties in with my other question about whether taking Psychology as opposed to Psychiatry in college will affect the outcome.

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Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by DrDave » Thu Nov 25, 2010 4:48 pm

Freyaya,

You should check out this thread on high school students interested in psychiatry.

I believe your questions should already be answered there, but if not, feel free to post in that thread.

deliz0214

Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by deliz0214 » Thu Dec 09, 2010 12:23 pm

Hi guys,

It seems to me that one of the posts submitted has 2 different areas related to the medical field confused. Now, do not confuse psychology with psychiatry. Though closely related, to become a psychiatrist you MUST be a medical doctor first. Psychologists on the other had ARE NOT medical doctors. In order to be a psychiatrist you must first graduate as a medical doctor and attend a 4 year of residency in psychiatry. Psychiatrists are able to prescribe medications to treat psychiatric conditions. Psychologists study behavior and help people to cope with their situations, but are not able to prescribe medications unless they do a post-doctorate degree in neuropsychopharmacology, which is accepted in some states and gives them the ability to prescribe medications. Note that the post-doctorate degree is about 2 more years of study. Currently I am trying to become a psychiatrist myself. Will graduate medical school this coming June thus will be applying to residency as I speak. Hope this was useful and if you have any more questions write me at: deliz_0214@live.com

qureshimran

Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by qureshimran » Tue Mar 15, 2011 8:08 am

Keep up the good work, guys! really informative and intellectual posts.

ecas

Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by ecas » Sat Apr 02, 2011 6:11 pm

Hi i am currently a senior in high school and i want to become a psychiatrist. I feel as though i am hindered somewhat from the fact that I absolutely hate and suck at math and I am planning on probably going to Ohio University which is known more for its partying than its academics. I know i can work my ass off for something i truly want but, i just do not know if it will be enough. Should i still try and become one?

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Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by DrDave » Thu Apr 07, 2011 10:48 pm

ecas,

You are lucky that math is not the most important subject as far as getting into medical school. In fact, many medical schools don't even have a college math requirement to get accepted. There was a recent thread here about math requirements in medical school.

The courses required by almost all medical schools includes: biology, chemistry, organic chemistry, and physics. If you don't do well in those science classes, then getting into medical school will be a big challenge.

As far as where you go to college - as long as you do well, and you score well on the MCAT, you should have a reasonable chance of getting into medical school somewhere. While this is just my opinion, in my experience, where you go to college doesn't matter as much as your grades and test scores for most medical schools. The only times I've heard it making a difference is when applying to the very top level medical schools.

ecas

Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by ecas » Thu Apr 14, 2011 7:48 pm

Thank you very much, that is actually very helpful. Much appreciated to give me your time. Also, just out of curiosity, what is your take on private practice v.s. say working in a hospital? Any preferences or pros and cons?

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Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by DrDave » Thu Apr 14, 2011 9:51 pm

There is an old thread on inpatient psychiatry compared to private practice. I don't think I have much new I can add.

princess11

Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by princess11 » Fri May 27, 2011 3:27 pm

Are the studies n the path really difficult of being a psychiatrist? :?:

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Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by DrDave » Sun May 29, 2011 10:26 pm

princess11,

The studies to become a psychiatrist are very challenging. Pre-med coursework is challenging for most people. Most students who are smart enough to get into medical school, though, are able to do pretty well in the basic science courses. Medical school is challenging for most medical students, and the curriculum for a psychiatrist is no different than any other medical field from surgery to dermatology to pediatrics. Medical school is the same. It is challenging mentally, physically, and emotionally.

Work-load during residency for psychiatry depends on where you do your residency. Some can be extremely challenging, but there are probably some programs that are not too bad. In general, psychiatry residencies are probably not as rigorous as most other residencies. However, that does not mean they are not challenging.

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Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by soffijosheph » Wed Jul 27, 2011 1:25 am

I like the information. It is important and very useful for my brother because he want to be a Psychiatrist.

Swordfish17

Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by Swordfish17 » Fri Oct 14, 2011 1:48 pm

Hello i'm 17 almost 18 i took my GED and started college a year early. I'm really considering becoming a psychiatrist because not only does the study catch my fancy but i feel i could contribute alot to the field and help alot of people. Now i'm enrolled in a JC currently but i've found this distance learning college that is totally accredited and you basically max out on CLEP tests and then at the end transfer all your credits to a school that accepts them and you take distance learning classes til you graduate. Statistics show that you can get your BA/BS in like 2-3 years. Now i'm wondering is this a good was to go they have pre-med classes you can take but alot of the studying you do at home. I'm just wondering is this a better route to go or should i stick with the more traditional route on my way to become a psychiatrist?

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Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by DrDave » Mon Oct 17, 2011 10:06 pm

Swordfish17,

I would highly suggest you take the required pre-med courses at a 4 year university. You can probably take the other courses at a junior college.

Guest

Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by Guest » Thu Nov 03, 2011 4:03 pm

Ever since I was a freshman in high school it was my dream to become a pediatric psychiatrist. I am now in my second year of community college with a 4.0 GPA and plan on transferring soon (after completing my Associates in Science degree) to a University in my area. I have been doing a lot of research on the educational route to med school, residency etc. For a while I was in debate whether or not it would be better to settle for a career as a clinical psychologist (I know it would be easier and quicker). I read through the forum though and was inspired by a lot of people that I shouldn't settle for what's easier or quicker, that I should pursue my dreams (thanks, guys :). I wonder now though, what is the best major when planning on becoming a psychiatrist? I know it should be something I am interesting in, but it seems to me a major in Bio, Chem, Physics etc would better prepare me for the MCAT?
Also, I read on what you (Dr.Dave) had said pertaining to the final examinations, written and oral, and how it takes about a year. If you don't pass the first time can you retake it, and if so does it cost a lot of money? Thanks!

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Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by DrDave » Fri Nov 04, 2011 10:58 pm

Your major does not matter. Medical schools don't really take it into account in who they will accept. I suppose it is possible that if you are a science major that you would be more familiar with some of the material on the MCAT; however, the MCAT only tests you on the material in the required pre-med courses. I wouldn't choose to major in a biology or chemistry just because you think you will be better prepared for the MCAT. Major in a field you enjoy, but one that will also offer you career options if medical school does not work out for you.

As to the final exams, you must be referring to the psychiatry board exams. I don't know what the current pass rate is, but I think they got rid of the oral board exam part since I took my board exams. When I took the boards, there were two parts - a written exam which you had to pass before you could take the oral exam. I would guess the written exam had around a 70-80% pass rate, maybe even higher than that. I think everyone with whom I trained passed the written exam. The oral exam was another matter altogether. I'd guess that had around a 50% pass rate. It seemed pretty random on who passed and who failed as I know several very good clinicians who had to take it a second or even third time before passing the oral exam, yet I know some less than excellent psychiatrists who passed the oral exam the first time. I'm guessing they got rid of it because the results weren't the most consistent (they did try to be as objective as possible in how they scored, but there are so many random factors in a live oral psychiatric exam) and it was very expensive to administer. The board exams were expensive - well over $1000, plus for the oral exam I had to fly to a nearby city, stay overnight, etc.

If you don't pass the first time, you can retake it. Another interesting fact is that you don't have to pass the board certification exam to practice psychiatry. Some hospitals may require it, but most don't, as long as you are "board eligible".

Dj_brunk

Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by Dj_brunk » Sat Nov 05, 2011 12:15 am

I am confused by all the information I have been reading on the internet. I am planning to pursue a career in psychiatry. I am fully dedicated to the idea, but need some more information. I have recently completed my 4 year degree majoring in Psychology. On some websites I read you have to do pre-med courses, on others I have read you apply for medical school after your 4 year degree. Do you have to attend college for both pre-med and med school courses or just one or the other or both? How many years of school do you have to go through and what schools are required? I apologize if this is a little repetitive, I just get confused by all the different sources and conflicting information.

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Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by DrDave » Sat Nov 05, 2011 11:02 pm

Dj_brunk,

Make sure you are not confusing becoming a psychiatrist with becoming a psychologist.

In order to become a psychiatrist, you have to go to medical school. Medical school is a 4 year graduate school program AFTER your 4 years of college. You need to take the required pre-med college level courses before you can apply to medical schools.

You take pre-med courses in college. you take medical school courses in medical school. So, 4 years college (or in your case maybe longer to complete your pre-med courses), 4 years of medical school, then 4 years of psychiatry residency.

Nina44

Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by Nina44 » Sun Jan 01, 2012 5:08 am

I just want to thank you all for your time ! I want to mention that becoming a psychiatrist îs not easy ! The number one thing you must know îs it takes time and long long long hours !

NicoKren

Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by NicoKren » Wed Jan 18, 2012 12:22 pm

Hi!! I'm currently a freshman in college in my spring semester. I am attending a local college, Richard Stockton of NJ, to be exact. It is not the best school in the nation but family problems have put me here. My first question is: Will this hinder my ability to make it into medical school?

I am a psychology BA major currently with a minor in Spanish. I am very interested in pursuing psychiatry and know all about the pre reqs (biology, chemistry, etc). Therefore, I am planning to become a double major of Psych and Bio. Do you think this is a good idea? Or could I change to BS and still be accepted into med school?

In the future, past school and everything, I really dream of being with patients at my own practice. I want to specialize in OCD. I was wondering if psychiatrists are able to interact with patients just as much as psychologists do. Nowadays I hear many people say that psychiatrists only prescribe and talk for a few moments. I am hoping this is not true. I have so many dreams that involve my own practice and I do not want them to be dimnished.

Thank you for your help and kind words!!

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Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by DrDave » Thu Jan 19, 2012 12:01 am

NicoKren,

If you get great grades and get good MCAT scores, you should have a good shot, even if your college isn't the best. I would think most medical schools should be understanding of selecting a less expensive college given the high cost of education.

You can major in any field and it won't affect your chances, as long as you take those required pre-med courses. It doesn't help if you have a double major, but it doesn't hurt. Major in a field you enjoy that will also give you career options if medicine doesn't work out for you. It doesn't matter whether you earn a BA or a BS.

As a psychiatrist you have a lot of options of how you want to work. If you want to do mostly psychotherapy, you do have that option. While it may seem shallow, one reason why psychiatrists often focus much of their practice on prescribing medications is because it generally pays better. You can structure your time seeing some patients for psychotherapy and others for medication management, which is how many psychiatrists structure their practice.

Don't be surprised if you find that your interest in OCD will change as you get more training. I have found many different aspects of psychiatry interesting as I've gone through my training and career. Some were topics that initially didn't seem that exciting, but as I learned more about them and met people who struggled with different issues, my interests expanded.

Psychiatrist Someday

Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by Psychiatrist Someday » Fri Mar 30, 2012 1:09 pm

DrDave wrote:Bryanna,

I think you are right to think that your background is a unique path to lead to being a doctor, although I don't see that your experience in and of itself is limiting your options. I think you are also correct in your thinking that taking college level pre-med science classes will be a good test to see if being a doctor is a reasonable choice for you. If you can do well in pre-med level science courses, then your high school experience shouldn't be a major issue to your getting into medical school. In fact, I think your experience in overcoming challenges will be a big asset to you as either a psychologist or psychiatrist, and an admission's board should view it that way as well.
I've been studying intensely on how to become a psychiatrist and I'm finding that maybe I should really consider going to a community college first.
Do medical schools frown on your record of going to a community college? Half of the reason for doing this is that I'm trying to save money too.

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Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by Danny1994 » Sun Apr 22, 2012 1:47 pm

So I am a junior in high school. The thing is I really want to be a psychiatrist and I know I have time to think about how I want to do it but I really don't. I am a duel credit student. I will have an associates degree before I graduate high school next year so I'm going into college as a junior. I really don't know if it is better to get a bachelors degree in psychology or just go straight for all the pre medical stuff and be a pre medical student and get my bachelors in that. I was wondering if one was better than the other. Because of read a lot about both I just don't know which is the best way to go with all this.
Thanks!

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Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by DrDave » Mon Apr 23, 2012 10:09 pm

Danny1994,

There is no such major as "pre-med". Pre med just means taking the required classes to apply to medical school. You can major in psychology and take the pre-med courses, although I don't know how much flexibility you will have as you'll be entering college as a junior. You'll have a pretty busy schedule and I'm not sure how you can time taking the MCAT with your pre-med coursework as most people take the MCAT their junior year so they can apply during their senior year. You won't have enough of the pre-med coursework done your junior year, unless you took some of it as part of your associates degree. In general, it is recommended to take the pre-med science courses at a 4 year college, so I can't recommend taking them before you enter college.

Guest

Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by Guest » Sat Apr 28, 2012 10:28 am

I'm a freshman in high school and as of right now my grades aren't doing so good. I think i might even fail this year :cry: The only class i've ever really excelled in is science. I know i'm going to have to do a lot better in all of my other classes if i ever want to become a Psychiatrist when i get older, and i REALLY do want to become one. Does the fact that i might not pass this year effect my chances? Will they hold this against me in any way? I'm just not sure how that sort of thing works. If it doesn't effect my chances and i could still possibly become a Psychiatrist, i assume i would become a board certified Psychiatrist between the ages of 30-32 (depending upon how i do in high school and if i decide to attend college for 4 years or 5 years.) Am i right? What exactly is the reason people attend college for 5 years? Do you take more classes? And does it make them any more qualified than those who only attend for 4 years?

I feel that i'm asking stupid questions :oops: but the only way you learn is by asking questions, and i would really like to have all this much needed information. Also, i'm only a 15 year old freshman. I'm trying my hardest! :mrgreen: I would also just like to just thank everyone on this page for giving so much helpful info! I know more now about becoming a Psychiatrist than i ever have before. And if there are any alternatives to the standard plan to becoming a Psychiatrist, could someone let me know? I know i have to work very hard in school, but i was just wondering if there was an easier way to go about it? Are there any extra classes i can take? Is there college classes that i could possibly take for preparation while i'm still in high school? Is there ways that i could become a board certified Psychiatrist sooner? I wouldn't think that there is, but it can't hurt to ask! :D

Thank you!

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Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by DrDave » Sat Apr 28, 2012 10:56 pm

Guest,

If you are struggling with your high school grades, you need to make that your first priority. You need to do your best to get solid grades in high school in order to get into a decent college.

There is no short cut, and instead of finding out if there are college classes that can speed things along, you need to focus on doing well in the high school classes you are required to take.

You have a lot of time before you need to worry about your career choice. Make sure you do as well as possible in high school as that will give you the most career options later on.

Cari

Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by Cari » Sat Jun 02, 2012 2:05 pm

Hi, I don't know if this has already been answered or not so if it has, sorry.
But anyways, I was wondering if it was possible to still be able to become a psychiatrist if you took two years of schooling at a community college and then transferred to a University (assuming you did well enough), and THEN do your 4 years of med school, and your 4 years of experience/internship etc. I have to do community college for my first two years because it's cheaper and I need time to save up my money in order to at least survive at University.

I'm dead set on becoming a psychiatrist. It's what I absolutely want to do, so if CC conflicts with that I don't know what other alternative I have.

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Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by DrDave » Sat Jun 02, 2012 2:18 pm

Cari,

You certainly can go to community college and then transfer to a four year university, and then go to medical school. The only recommendation I would make is that you take the required pre-med courses at the four year university. In general, medical schools strongly prefer pre-med coursework be completed at a four year university and be the equivalent of the science classes someone in that major would take. In other words, take the same general chemistry course that is required for chemistry majors, and take the biology course that biology majors have to take.

Cari

Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by Cari » Sat Jun 02, 2012 2:34 pm

DrDave wrote:Cari,

You certainly can go to community college and then transfer to a four year university, and then go to medical school. The only recommendation I would make is that you take the required pre-med courses at the four year university. In general, medical schools strongly prefer pre-med coursework be completed at a four year university and be the equivalent of the science classes someone in that major would take. In other words, take the same general chemistry course that is required for chemistry majors, and take the biology course that biology majors have to take.
Ah that's a relief! In that case I'll be just fine. Thank you!!! :D

Martha5

Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by Martha5 » Wed Aug 29, 2012 4:51 pm

Hello, I am getting my BA in Applied Behavior Science and than I was told to take my masters in another field like Psychology. and than my DRs and I would be on my way to becoming a Psychiatrist.And how i feel like i was told wrong. and adivce? Martha

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Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by DrDave » Wed Aug 29, 2012 10:29 pm

Martha5,

I'm not sure what you mean by DRs - is that some sort of exam? You don't need to obtain a masters degree. You would apply to medical school once you've completed all of your pre-med coursework and taken the MCAT.

You can major in any subject and still go to medical school and then do a psychiatry residency.

yesyesyes

Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by yesyesyes » Thu Aug 30, 2012 12:04 pm

Hi, I would love to become either a psychologist or a psychiatrist. However, I am really bad at memorizing. I do decently well in Chemistry class, but in biology class, I did not do "well." Do you think I should become a psychologist, rather than a psychiatrist, because it seems like in medical school, I will have to memorize tons of things... Also, psychiatrists earn much more than psychologists do. Do you think it will be worth it for me to have all these stress because I have to memorize so much and earn a lot as a psychiatrist? I appreciate your answer!

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Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by DrDave » Thu Aug 30, 2012 11:14 pm

yesyesyes,

It really depends. I know some people who were not great at memorizing, but they were "good enough" and smart enough to do fine in medical school. They definitely struggled and had to work harder than others who had much better memories for biology. If you do well enough in college to get into medical school, then you have the ability to do fine in medical school. It is very rare for someone who gets into medical school to fail out. When I have seen it happen, it usually had to do more with personal issues than with the school work being too hard.

When you are talking about chemistry and biology, are you referring to high school courses or college pre-med courses? If you are still in high school, I think it is worth seeing how you do in the college pre-med level classes. You can keep your options open until it is clear to you that the coursework is not for you.

While the general topics are similar and there can be overlap in the types of patients seen, being a psychiatrist is very different from being a psychologist. You shouldn't choose one over the other because of the pay difference, or at least it shouldn't be your only factor to consider.

yesyesyes

Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by yesyesyes » Tue Sep 11, 2012 7:38 pm

yes, I am a senior in high school.
I'd like to know how the human psychology works and help others fix their problems.
I want to be a person whom people can trust and tell me honestly their struggles, when they don't have any one to talk to.
I want to encourage the hopeless, rebuke the stubborn, and lead them to a better direction in life.
I want to be like... a mentor.
Do you think either psychologist or psychiatrist is a fit for me? If so, which one of the two? If not, what should I consider doing?

Thank you so much!!!

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Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by DrDave » Tue Sep 11, 2012 10:01 pm

yesyesyes,

Fortunately, you don't have to make a decision any time soon. You have plenty of time to explore your interests. I think you can probably be happy doing either psychiatry or psychology, or many other fields. I think a lot of what you are describing are great qualities of most teachers as well as therapists.

I think you should try to go to a college that has a good psychology department as well as a good pre-med program. You can take the pre-med classes, and if you don't do that well in biology, you can later decide that medical school is definitely not for you. If you do well in the pre-med classes, eventually you'll have to decide which path you want to take. You'll probably be happy either way but I usually recommend keeping your potential options open until you have to make a choice.

You very well may find that there is some other field that you love while you are in college.

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Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by Emma_J » Tue Sep 25, 2012 4:39 am

For anyone looking for making a career in Psychiatrist, there is need that he or she should do well in high school to get accepted to a decent college.

• College with duration of 4 years for it is required to take the relevant pre-med courses.
• At the end of 3rd year of college, it is desirable to take MCAT exam, which is desirable to apply for medical schools.
• In the medical school one has to spend additional 4 years. First 2 years are basic science classes while the last 2 years are clinical rotations in which one has to work with doctors and resident doctors of all the major areas of medicine.
• During the last year of medical school, you must go for a residency program in your field of interest. Residency in psychiatry is a 4 year experience.

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Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by DrDave » Thu Sep 27, 2012 9:31 pm

Emma_J,

Thank you for trying to clarify the requirements but I would like to add a few clarifications. First, you don't need to attend 4 years of college to get into medical school. While almost all medical students did attend 4 years of college, it is not a requirement. I know several doctors who completed college in 3 years.

You say the MCAT is desirable to apply to medical school. I am not aware of any US medical schools that will accept someone without taking the MCAT. I think most people would consider the MCAT is a requirement.

The other information is fairly accurate.

DrBubbie

Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by DrBubbie » Sun Sep 30, 2012 11:36 pm

Hi DrDave I just started my junior year in high school and I have read through most of the posts and I'm very much focused on making a career for myself as a psychiatrist. I have spoken to an already board eligible and qualified for over 20 years psychiatrist and I would like to ask what the difference is between majoring in science as to majoring in another subject while still taking all of the required pre-med courses?

Latestarter

Re: How to become a Psychiatrist

Post by Latestarter » Mon Mar 17, 2014 11:24 am

DrDave wrote:Junior in HS,

You did provide some accurate information there, but it's not quite complete. I think it's great that you already have an idea of what you want to do with your life, but I would suggest keeping an open mind throughout college and medical school - you might be surprised to find something even more interesting to you than psychiatry.

The other thing to realize is that while you said after college you need to get some experience working in a medical setting, you are accurate - but not complete. You actually need to do well enough in college with your grades and MCAT test scores to get into medical school - which is very competitive. Med school is 4 VERY challenging years.

During your last year of medical school, you apply for residency. Psychiatry residency programs are generally not that competitive, but the top programs are. The residency program is 4 years, during which time you do clinical work under the supervision of other physicians. Parts of psychiatry residency are very hard work with little sleep and long hours. At some programs, the entire residency may be that way. At many psychiatry residencies, you do get a little bit less work the last 2 years - but it is still a lot of time at most programs.

You obviously pay for college. You have to pay for medical school, but most people can get educational loans (lots of them) for medical school. Residency pays around $35k-$40k, which doesn't sound too bad, but based on an hourly rate is probably close to minimum wage. Most people defer their loans throughout that time, but some will start paying them off near the end of residency. With somewhat less work the last two years, some programs will allow residents to do moonlighting work. This type of work can vary a lot, but can pay fairly well. Some very motivated residents have made a decent living, but they were VERY busy.

Once done with residency, you are "board eligible" which means you can work as a psychiatrist at most places. There is then a two step certification exam that takes about 1 year to complete if you are lucky and pass everything your first try. There is first a written exam - multiple choice, typical type of exam, that I believe has around an 80% pass rate. It has a lot of very tough questions as 1/3 of it is neurology and 2/3 are psychiatry. From what I recall, the neurology questions were VERY hard. You have to get a certain percent right on each part to pass. So, if you ace the psychiatry part, you can still fail the exam if you don't get enough right on the neurology part.

The second part of the exam is the more controversial. Once you've passed the written exam, you will get scheduled for an oral exam. The oral exam consists of 2 parts - a video portion and a live patient. For the video portion, you watch a 30 minute video of part of an interview, and then you meet with 2 examiners (I heard it may now go to 1 examiner plus a floating examiner who comes in and out of the various rooms) for a 30 minute test. You are expected to present the patient and then answer questions from the examiners.

For the live patient part of the test, you have a real patient you've never seen before come in the room, and you have 30 minutes to interview that patient. You then have a 30 minute test where you present the case to 2 (now maybe 1?) examiner and then answer questions.

While the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology has tried to make this an objective exam. Personally, I think it is an awful test. Not only is it very anxiety provoking which effects some candidates much more than others, but there are many many random factors. The particular patient, the particular examiners, what questions you might get asked and whether they fit in with your knowledge areas or not. Of course, the entire interview is an artificial situation.

I'm not sure there is a better way to test candidates, though - as the ability to interview patients is a vital part of psychiatry. And the field of psychiatry is trying to maintain credibility of the profession - so it is important to make sure board certified candidates are able to effectively talk with patients. Of course, I think this is important for almost all fields of medicine - yet very few other fields require an oral exam. Most of the abilities to interview, present, and understand patients are observed during residency, but I suppose completion of residency does not necessarily mean you are competent. My thought is that just passing the exam doesn't mean you are competent either.

And did I mention that the oral exam has around a 50% pass rate? This is for people who have done well enough in college to get into med school. Have completed med school and matched in a residency. Have completed a residency and passed a challenging written exam.

Your target age for finishing training is probably about right.

Complete High School around age 18, complete college around age 22, complete medical school around age 26, and complete residency around age 30. That's if you go straight through.

More and more people are taking extra time in college (5 years instead of 4), having a career before going back to med school and taking time off during med school (to do things like research or pursue a second degree).

In my case, I happily went straight through the whole process - actually cut one year off of college but added an extra year of residency to do a combined internal medicine / psychiatry residency program. I am very glad to be done with the training aspect of things.

I probably should have broken my answer down into several different threads, but maybe eventually I'll put together one thread of frequently asked questions or something like that.

Thanks for your comments!
.


Hello! Im also a jr in ha needing some advice i dont really have the grades(2.8) to go to the college i want so my counselor suggested that i go to a jr college for 2 years and the one ill be going to has a great transfer program to UC Davis( great medical program there) & i was wondering if me going to a jr college would damage me as is could that effect me negatively in becoming a psychiatrist . I really want to be one it fits me perfectly. Thankyou & what steps do you think i should take .


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