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Things You Need to Know About Psychiatrist Education

Rujuta Borkar Jul 15, 2020
The following story will take you through the details of what a psychiatrist education entails and the training that they have to undertake to get there.
The human mind is a weird thing. To understand it is near impossible. Why people behave the way they behave is something that can never be understood, and yet a psychiatrist tries. That is what makes this profession a highly respected one around the world.
To get there is not easy, and definitely not something that all can do. It requires an innate understanding of human behavior and the patience and expertise to read and decipher through the layers that the human mind is wrapped under.
More than anything else though, this profession requires a person to have the expertise to understand the problems that the human mind faces and what leads to the mental illnesses and personality disorders. There are people who are great listeners and there are also those who are pseudo-counselors.
But to get there professionally, to the extent where one can prescribe medication and the like (that is the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist. Where the former can't prescribe medication drugs while the latter can), one needs an education that can back the skill up.
That brings us to the point of education. If one has that skill and is looking to make psychiatry their profession, then they'll need the complete details of what goes into a psychiatrist's education and skills. Read the following story to know more about the educational requirements of a psychiatrist and how to go about it.

Education and Training

A psychiatrist is someone who will not only decipher the mental, emotional, and psychological problems that the patient is facing, but will also be entitled to prescribe medication for the same. The following is the education path that a student will have to undertake to become a psychiatrist.

Under Graduation Degree

A bachelor's degree is the first and most basic degree that a student needs to have. This is the only thing that will allow them an entry at a medical school.
And though there is no specification about the subjects that are chosen at the undergraduate level, it usually helps to include psychology, biology, and sociology due to its relevance in human behavior.
Other than that, chemistry and physics are also considered important choices to make because they help one understand their capabilities in science and provide for the necessary background for medical studies.

Medical School

After an undergraduate degree, the next step is to get into medical school for four years of studies and training. Here, the GPA scores become important. An aspiring student has to also give an MCAT (Medical Admission Test) for selection at the medical school (which should be chosen after careful research and after considering other key factors).
At medical school, the first two years are spent in studying mainly science and gaining theoretical knowledge that revolves around subjects like immunology, pathology, human anatomy, physiology, and medical law among others.
The next two years are spent in undertaking clinical training that focuses on allowing students to get an exposure to the varied fields in medicine in a highly practical setting.

Rotating Internship

A rotating internship becomes important for those psychiatrists who have completed a Doctor of Osteopathy (D.O.) degree, as opposed to those who have a degree in Doctor of Medicine (M.D.).
The rotating internship involves visiting and studying at a number of different establishments. This is taken up for a time period of about a year.

Residency Training

Resident training for a psychiatry student is taken up after he has completed his four years in medical school. The training may last anytime from 4-6 years. During this time, the student learns the skills of interaction with patients under the supervision of experienced and professional psychiatrists.
The first year of residency training has mainly to do with a general medical internship while a specialty training of a student's specific specialization will begin in the 2nd year.

Fellowship Training

A fellowship training is undertaken after the 4th year of residency training and this allows for a sub-specialty training that could be in any of the fields like research, forensic psychiatry, psychopharmacology, neuropsychiatry, emergency psychiatry, child and adolescent psychiatry, consultation liaison, geriatrics, addiction psychiatry, and others.


A license becomes a necessary tool by which the psychiatrists can practice in all states. This license is gained after a psychiatry certification is obtained. For this, a certified exam needs to be passed.
This exam could be taken from the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN). There are also sub-specialty exams that can be answered for the same. The gaining of this license allows psychiatrists to practice in all the states.
Psychiatrist education requires you to follow a long and strict path to reach your goal. But if the need to be a psychiatrist is strong, and the reason justified, you now know what it takes to get there. Decide if you really want to do this and get into it only then.