Mental Health

Mandy Kloppers

The Differences between Psychology and Psychiatry

Several people are yet or cannot differentiate between physiologists and psychiatrists. Well, the two terms are confusing as they almost sound the same. However, there are key differences between the two.

In this blog post, you’ll get to learn the key differences between psychologists and psychiatrists. Additionally will get to know which career is more appealing than the other.

Psychiatrists are regarded as medical doctors as they utilize their clinical education and experience to treat people suffering from mental, behavioral, and emotional conditions.  The psychiatrists use medication, and psychotherapy approaches to treat people with the said conditions.

Physiologists are professionals who deal with human behavior and the mind. Although they deal with treating emotions and other behavioral abnormalities, they don’t utilize the medication approach. They refer people who need medications to psychiatrists.

With that basics, let dive into the more differences between these two professionals and understand their distinguishing factors.

 The Differences between Psychologists and Psychiatrists

In this section, you’ll get to learn the differences between Psychologists and Psychiatrists, and the differences are drawn from their responsibilities, Education and Training, and pay.

Differences in responsibilities

It is important to note that both Psychologists and Psychiatrists deal with people suffering from mental and emotional conditions. A psychologist is the first person at the receiving end and later recommends the patient to contact Psychiatrists.

If you suffer from a chronic condition like depression, stress, or panic attack, chances are you will be advised to see a psychologist.

The psychologist will conduct the evaluation and conduct some tests on you to do the assessment, hence recommending the best approach to resolve your problem. There are countries where the psychologist is allowed to go ahead and prescribed medicine, and there are where they are not allowed even to conduct the tests.

Psychiatrist’s role is in helping people who suffer from behavioral, emotional, and mental related disorders. It is the same as a psychologist, but a psychiatrist cannot prescribe medication—also, a Psychiatrist handles more complicated cases than a psychologist.

For instance, a patient suffering from a serious mental health condition and need treatment like paranoia, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia are directly recommended to see a Psychiatrist.

Both Psychiatrists and Psychologists work together and recommend one another depending on the case they are handling. A psychologist can handle it if it is not complex, but if it is complex and needs medication, psychiatrists are suited.

Differences in Education and Training

Another difference between Psychologists and Psychiatrists is the training duration. It takes less period or years to become a psychologist than the time you need to become a psychiatrist.

There are also differences in education training each undertakes. For psychologist, they are more concerned with guidance and counseling while psychiatrists are concerned with medications.

In training either to become a psychologist or psychiatrist takes between 4-b, exclusive of the postgraduate residency. Under the postgraduate residency, it takes around 1-3 years. It is from there you can start to practice on your own.

During the study to become a psychologist, you must sit for a professional exam conducted by relative bodies like in the US it conducted by Professional Practice of Psychology (EPPP) or Psychopharmacology Examination for Psychologists.

It is mandatory in several countries for psychiatrists to undertake education courses before they renew their licenses. The years of residency also differ from that of a psychologist because a psychiatrist usually takes up to years.

Additionally, as a psychiatrist, you get to specialize in one area. There are several areas of specialization in psychiatrists, including neuropsychiatry, forensic psychiatry, adolescent and child psychiatry.

It is imperative to get a license before starting to practice as a qualified psychiatrist after completing your studies and residence. Additionally, you need to meet other laws as they differ from one country to another.

Differences in Conditions treated.     

Psychiatrists are more concerned with people who n4ed medication, while psychologists are concerned with people who need counseling and social needs like advice. For instance, a person who tried to commit suicide is best suited to be attended by a psychologist than a psychiatrist.

Psychologists are concerned with people who suffer from psychological problems like learning difficulties, behavioral problems, anxiety, depression, and other related conditions. They are not onto offering medication solutions, and if they see a patient needs medication, they refer to a psychiatrist.

Differences between Psychologists and Psychiatrists on payments

The other difference between psychologists and psychiatrist is the payment. Psychiatrists earn more compared to psychologists, according to several sources. On average, a psychologist will earn around $80,000, while Psychiatrists earn approximately $220 000 per year.

While several factors determine the pay, like where they work, either it is private or employment. But those in the private sector earn more compared to those employed. When working as a private, you get to determine your prices.

Also, the level of your experience determines the pay. The more years you have been into the practice, the more you get paid.

Deciding Between a Career in Psychology or Psychiatry

If you have been thinking or wondering whether to choose to be a psychologist or psychiatrist, the two are good career choices. However, the choice depends on you. If you love talking to people, a psychologist is better for you. On the other hand, if you like to treat people by giving medicine go for a psychiatrist.

In both professions, study findings and counseling are useful tools. These two physicians frequently meet paths, particularly when their patients require pharmaceutical referrals.

Psychology provides individuals with the option to work in research to investigate human and animal behavior. At places like schools, research psychologists perform studies. Psychology also allows you to specialize in the arts, sports, education, or engineering.

Prospective psychiatrists complete clerkships in psychiatry and other medical disciplines while in medical school. Psychiatrists might specialize in forensic psychology or addiction psychiatry with further training.


It is now clear there are differences between Psychologist and psychiatrist. Although the two are related professionals, they are different from one another. Their work is related but each has its roles clearly stipulated but they work closely. If you these two terms have been confusing you now you have understanding.

Scroll to Top