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3 Ways to Become a Psychiatrist

Are you intrigued by the complexities of the human mind? Do you enjoy helping people work through their mental health challenges? If so, becoming a psychiatrist may be the perfect career path for you. But how do you get started on this exciting journey? In this post, we’ll explore three different paths to becoming a licensed psychiatrist and offer some tips for success along the way. Whether you’re just starting out or looking to make a career change, read on to discover your options and take your first steps towards becoming a highly respected and in-demand mental health professional.

Complete an Undergraduate Degree

Becoming a psychiatrist requires a significant investment of time and money, but the rewards can be great.

1. Complete an undergraduate degree. While you can technically become a psychiatrist with any type of degree, most people complete a bachelor’s degree in psychology or a related field. This will give you a strong foundation in the basics of mental health and prepare you for graduate-level coursework.
2. Earn a medical degree. You’ll need to complete four years of medical school to earn your Doctor of Medicine (MD) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) degree. During your studies, you’ll take classes on topics like anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, and psychiatry. You’ll also complete clinical rotations in various settings, such as hospitals, clinics, and private practices.
3. Undergo residency training. Once you’ve earned your medical degree, you’ll need to complete four years of residency training in psychiatry. During this time, you’ll work closely with patients suffering from mental illness and hone your diagnostic and treatment skills.
4. Get licensed and certified. In order to practice psychiatry legally, you’ll need to obtain a state-specific license. You may also choose to pursue voluntary certification through the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN).

Attend Medical School

Assuming you have a bachelor’s degree, the first step to becoming a psychiatrist is attending medical school. During your first year, you will likely take classes such as general chemistry, biology, and organic chemistry. The next two years are spent learning about the human body and how diseases affect it. In your final year, you will complete rotations in different medical specialties, including psychiatry. After graduating from medical school, you will need to complete a four-year residency in psychiatry.

Complete a Residency in Psychiatry

This is a three-year program that will provide you with the necessary training to diagnose and treat mental health disorders.

Obtain a License to Practice Psychiatry

To become a psychiatrist, you will need to obtain a license to practice medicine. This can be done by completing an accredited medical school program and passing the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT). Once you have completed your medical training, you will need to complete a residency in psychiatry.

Start Practicing Psychiatry

If you want to become a psychiatrist, the first step is to start practicing psychiatry. This can be done in a variety of ways, such as working in a psychiatric hospital or clinic, seeing patients in your own private practice, or working as a research psychiatrist.
No matter which route you choose, it is important to get experience working with clients and diagnosing mental disorders. This will give you the skills and knowledge you need to be successful in your career.
Psychiatrists must have a medical degree and complete a residency in psychiatry before they can become licensed. If you are interested in becoming a psychiatrist, consider completing an undergraduate or graduate degree in psychology. This will give you a strong foundation on which to build your career.


Becoming a psychiatrist requires an immense amount of dedication and hard work, but the rewards can be great. With the right education, training and experience, you can become a highly sought-after psychiatrist in your field. By following these three steps to becoming a psychiatrist, you will have all of the resources that you need to make your dream career come true. Good luck!



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