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Should I go into Psychology or Psychiatry?

I want to major in Psychology, but I want to get my Ph.D. Should I switch to Psychiatry? #psychology #psychiatry

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Jared’s Answer, CareerVillage.org Team

Hi Kiana. If your goal is to get a Ph.D., you can get one in Psychology, so you don't need to change your undergraduate major at all. In fact, you can get a PhD in a huge variety of fields, with a great number of undergraduate majors. I have to say, it's an interesting goal to say that you'd like to get a PhD, while still in High School. Why are you interested in a PhD? Maybe you should edit your question a little bit to add in a little explanation of why you're interested in getting a PhD. That might help other professionals here on CareerVillage with PhDs give you advice about that piece of your question.

Thank you comment icon I'm interested in getting a PhD because I eventually want to have my own office and be my own boss. I think someone told me you needed a PhD to be a self employed. Kiana
Thank you comment icon Well Kiana, I think I've got good news for you: in order to be self-employed, you do not need a PhD! Having a PhD is an advanced degree meaning that you've studied for many years. You can be self-employed in many fields, and don't need to have a PhD to do that! Having a boss isn't so bad though. You can learn a lot from a boss! Why don't you want one? Jared Chung, Admin
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Mia’s Answer

Hi Kiana . You can get a doctorate (PhD) in Psychology or as a Psychiatry; you just need to decided which one you want to do. As Jared said you do not need a PhD to establish your own business. Once again you need to decide what type of business you want to go into; that will be the driving force on what type of business and what level of education you might need.


Hope this helps!!

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William’s Answer

I chose Psychiatry. Psychology is a noble profession and helps quite a few people, but psychologists lack a fundamental the understanding of the medical issues that affect patients. An example, a patient comes to your office because they are depressed and anxious. As a physician, a Psychiatrist knows that a low functioning thyroid is one of many medical conditions that cause depression. I have cured depression and anxiety in hundreds of people simply by ordering some lab tests, identifying the medical condition causing their symptoms and -- after appropriately treating the medical condition -- cured their psychological symptoms. Psychiatrists are also trained in psychotherapy.


You can major in psychology as an undergraduate student and -- by taking the necessary science requirements -- apply to medical school.

William recommends the following next steps:

Contact local clinical psychologists and ask to shadow them during a work day, This will help you understand their day-today work.
Contact local psychiatrists and shadow one (or more) to get a better understanding of what we do.
Ultimately, you must choose which career path most appeals to your interests. They are both noble professions, provide an opportunity to help people and you will not go wrong by picking either one.
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Kat’s Answer

Hi! As the previous two people answered, yes, you can open your own business regardless of a Ph.D. The primary difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist is that the latter has a degree in medicine and can prescribe medication.


Psychologists with Ph.D. degrees usually pursue a career in clinical or counseling.


Psychiatrists are physicians that can help in diagnosing and treating and preventing medical illnesses.


Either career would require extensive schooling after your undergraduate degree.

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