A psychiatrist is physician, so becoming one, you have to go to a medical school and earn an M.D. You have to take a step-by-step educational process to become a psychiatrist, starting from pre-med studies up to a psychiatry residency. There are five steps to take you there. You can also learn the steps to becoming a psychiatrist on Med Career Hub.
Step 1: Earn a Bachelor’s of Science Degree.
The journey from high school to licensed psychiatrist is long and it will starts with a Bachelor of Science degree. You as a person who is aspiring to be a psychiatrist, you will have to take undergraduate studies in biology, chemistry, physics and math so as to meet admission requirements for medical school. Majoring in a science field or a pre-med can offer you the best preparation for the medical school. It is recommended to volunteer at a clinic or a hospital so that you can gain hands on experience that will improve your chance of admission in a medical school.
Majority of the people interested in psychiatry major in psychology, biology, chemistry, or engineering so that they can start learning more on how the mind works. By obtaining a 4-year degree from a university, this will prepare you very well to obtain an admission in to a medical school.
To get admission, you need to have the following,
One year inorganic chemistry study, one year organic chemistry study, one year biology study, one year mathematics study and one year physics study. You must have outstanding grades to secure admission. Undergo pre-med programs in some universities so that you can fulfill the required prerequisites for medical school application.
Step 2: Pursue Your Medical Degree.
So as to be a psychiatrist, you will have to go through medical training program the same that all the doctors go through so that you can learn about the mind, how the human body works and way to treat all kinds of illnesses. The Medical school will equip you with the fundamental knowledge required to be an excellent psychiatrist. You need to pass your internal medicine, surgery, obstetrics, emergency medicine, neurology, pediatrics and family practice. Ensure that;
You do well on your MCAT and apply the best school. This will give you many career choices.In your first 4 years of medical school, ensure that you are taking classes, doing the lab work, and learning about medical ethics.
After you have attended 4 years in a medical school you are going to earn your Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.) or Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree. After you have learnt and passed in the basic anatomy, pharmacology, psychology, ethics, physiology, pathology and medical laws. Generally you will learn all the fundamental skills, practices and behaviors to be a physician prior to specialization of studies during your residency.
Step 3: Complete a Residency.
After you have obtained your MD or DO, you will spend the next 4 years getting experience with patients under the supervision from licensed doctors. With this superviser, you may treat different illnesses that include anxiety, depression, substance abuse, psychosis, sexual dysfunction and developmental disabilities.
In the first year of your residency you will take several months in neurology, forensic psychology, chemical dependency and internal medicine. At this level you will be required to practice everything you learned in your classroom while you pursuing your medical degree.
The residency include neurology, general medicine rotations, psychiatry and electives that focus on the specialized fields that interests you in psychiatry. You will work in both inpatient and outpatient psychology.
Step 4: Obtain a License.
Before been licensed you are required by American Psychiatric Association (APA) to have passed your state exams, the United States Medical Licensing Examination. Remember that each state has a different examination requirements due to specific state laws. Therefore, if you move from your state to another, you have to sit for that state examination so as to practice psychiatry there.
So as to prescribe medication in your state, you need to have registered with the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) and have a federal narcotics license.
Step 5: Become Board Certified.
Registration and board certification by the ABPN (American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology) is usually voluntary, but been certified is important because it demonstrates your competence, this could improve your opportunities in employment. The ABPN provides the certification in the general psychiatry and in specialization areas such as addictions, forensic psychiatry and adolescent. The board certification is mostly valid for a duration of ten years. So as to be allowed to renew your credentials, it is a requirement that you have been able to maintain a very good standing in your field of professional and you have been an active practitioner in the field of your specialty and you have been participating in continuous education as well as self-assessment practices.
Work as a psychiatrist.
After you have been given the license, you may have several options in the employment field. You can decide to work at a psychiatric clinic, apply for a job at a hospital or you can even open your private practice. You have to figure out which field you are comfortable with then you can do applications or open your own office and receive the patients. These are options and principles that you need to consider;
Working at a hospital or in a clinic setting will provide you with the stability and structure, though the hours might be long like any doctor.Opening your private practice is usually lucrative, but sometimes it is tough to have patients when you are first starting out.
- If you have good analytical thinking, patience, and good listening skills you will have high chances of succeeding as a psychiatrist.
- Every professional has its principles, so you should always remember that you are practicing medicine, therefore observe the Hippocratic Oath. That includes doctor-patient confidentiality.
- You will be spending a minimum of twelve years in postsecondary education and training so that you can become a psychiatrist. So this field require dedication and commitments.
- Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts is the best school that offer psychiatry you can try there if you have what it takes..
All the best in your prestigious field of psychiatry. Determination and dedication are the essentials in any field.