1. Education
Kendra Cherry

Becoming a Psychiatrist: An Educational Roadmap

By November 27, 2012

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become a psychiatrist

Reader Question: "I'm really interested in becoming a psychiatrist, but I have no idea what I need to do to get into this profession. What steps do I need to take and what kind of degree do I need to pursue?

Do you enjoy learning about medicine and psychology? If so, then perhaps you have considered becoming a psychiatrist. While people often confuse psychiatrists and psychologists, the two professions actually have a number of important differences. Psychiatrists must earn a medical degree with additional training in mental health, while psychologists must earn a doctorate degree in psychology.

Your basic plan should involve first earning a bachelor's degree in a related field. Next, you will attend medical school and complete a residency. Finally, you will need to become licensed to practice in the state where you want to work. While it might sound simple at a glance, it is important to remember that schools are highly competitive. Great grades and strong recommendations are essential. It also involves a big commitment of time and effort. In most cases, it takes about eight years of post-undergraduate study and training in order to become a board-certified psychiatrist.

Obviously, you'll need to spend some time researching programs and talking to your own academic advisor for further advice on your individualized academic plan. However, be sure to check out our quick overview of the process and general steps you will need to follow in order to become a psychiatrist.

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