Linda Ann’s Answer
Well, you cannot study psychiatry at the undergraduate level. To become a psychiatrist, you graduate with a BS in one of the life sciences or psychology, attend medical school and then for your residency and fellowship, study psychiatry. So you are looking at about 9 years of schooling post-high school. You of course need to pass licensing laws to practice as either an MD or DO.
Psychologists cannot practice without licensure and supervision by another licensed psychologist. It requires the completion of a PhD or PsyD which generally takes 5 years beyond the bachelor's degree. So the time in school and preparation for an eventual profession is the same for psychology as it is for psychiatry! Getting into a graduate program in psychology is highly competitive.
Psychiatrists today are generally NOT trained in talk therapy. They prescribe medications for their clients and monitor blood work with follow-up appointments. Note that only about 1/3 of psychologists are clinical or counseling psychologists, i.e., ones who engage in talk therapy. Psychology is a diverse field.
Linda Ann recommends the following next steps:
- Go to the website of the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT). Explore the course work that you need to have completed to be successful on the MCAT. All medical schools require MCAT scores and personal interviews before you can study to become a medical doctor (whether aleopathic- MD or osteopathic- DO)
- Go to the website of the American Psychological Association (www.apa.org) and explore the diversity of work that psychologists engage in. Go to each "division" and read about the nature of the work of many different psychologists.