Mental Health

Mandy Kloppers

A Guide to Becoming a Psychiatrist

Psychiatry is a field where people go to learn about and help people suffering from mental illness. Like all forms of medicine, becoming a psychiatrist is hard work. There are all sorts of requirements you must fulfill to acquire this career. Here’s everything you need to know about how to become a psychiatrist and the best way you can afford it.

A High-Level Education is Required

The psychiatrist profession is one of those that requires everyone who aspires to be one to have a high-level education. It all starts by either obtaining your high school diploma or GED. From there, you’ll have to attend college and obtain your BA, which is a four-year program. We should mention that it really doesn’t matter what your degree is to be accepted into medical school. However, you do need to show proficiency in subjects such as biology, physics, organic chemistry and calculus. Since you’re most likely still searching for a suitable degree, you can get the knowledge you need through a pre-med degree.

Furthermore, it’s also important for you to maintain a high GPA to increase your chances of being accepted. This does depend on what school you choose as they have their own unique requirements. But on average, your GPA should be at least 3.7. To be accepted into medical school, you must first past the MCAT. Those who practice medicine can accrue more debt than your average degree program. In fact, the average amount of medical student debt is approximately $220,000. One of the best ways to finance this kind of education is to take out a student loan. Having Earnest medical school loans available can help you manage paying this amount back by offering reduced interest rates. Make sure to consult your lender for any questions you may have.

You Have to Complete a Residency Program

Once your time in medical school is complete, your next step on your psychiatry journey is to apply for a residency program. This is where you’ll finally start learning and honing your skills as a professional psychiatrist. During this time, you’ll be interacting, diagnosing, and even treating various mental health issues.

Apply For the Appropriate Licensing

How long it takes to become a psychiatrist does depend on the person. Residency programs can take three to as much as eight years to complete. Regardless, once your residency is over, you’ll be eligible to apply for the licensing you need to be a certified psychiatrist. These credentials will be part of what future clients look for when they choose a mental health counselor so understanding the distinction matters. The two licensing you can get are the U.S Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) and the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination (COMLEX-USA). Which one you get depends on how you went about your program. Those who did the MD program would get the former and the people who completed the DO program would obtain the latter. Either way, after you’ve obtained your license, you can then look into becoming board certified.

Photo by Trent Erwin on Unsplash

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