Psychiatrists are medical doctors who have received special additional training in mental health. To become a psychiatrist, it is therefore mandatory to first attend medical school and then complete a residency and fellowship training program in psychiatry. Psychiatrists usually treat patients with severe mental illnesses such as schizophrenia or other psychoses. They are also the only mental health professionals who are allowed to prescribe medication to patients.
Choosing the right college if you are considering a medical career such as psychiatry can be difficult. First, you should consider the academic reputation of the school. The admission boards of medical schools tend to favor students who have attended colleges with high standards of education. Then you should make sure that the college you are interested in does indeed offer all premedical courses required for admission into a medical school. Finally, once you have started working towards your B.S. or B.A., don't forget that medical schools are looking for students who have achieved a high GPA, even during their first semester of college.
Applying to medical school is notoriously difficult and requires you to take the standardized Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). Your college and high school grades and personal references, as well as personal attributes, will also be examined by the admission board and you will have to pass an admission interview . If you are admitted, you should then complete your medical training, which takes about four years. During the first two years, you will mostly study science, while you will spend the next two years learning about the various fields of modern medicine.
Residency and Fellowship Training
At the end of your general medical training, you can then choose to specialize in a variety of fields, one of them being psychiatry. Your residency training will then begin, followed by one-year fellowship training. In total, the residency and fellowship training takes four years. During those four years, you will study psychiatric-specific subjects such as neurology, forensic psychiatry and geriatrics. Once you finish this residency and fellowship training, you will need to pass the initial certification exam in the field of psychiatry examination. Then, you will finally be a fully-licensed psychiatrist.
Finding Medical Schools
Medical schools can be found throughout the United States and Canada. A list of american medical schools, sorted by state, can be found on the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) website. When choosing a medical school, students should consider the facilities offered by each school as well as their overall academic reputation.
- Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images