Psychiatrist career ladder...
What are the steps ( in chronological order) to becoming a psychiatrist? I understand that one must achieve a bachelor's degree, go to med-school, and complete a residency, but I am not sure what order these steps should be taken in.
Annette recommends the following next steps:
Looks like some great answers already and I'll just add a little more info.
The path of education is:
high school ---> undergraduate college (a BS or BA degree) ---> graduate college where you can study at a Masters level then Doctoral level
For a career as a psychiatrist, you will want to go to undergraduate college first and pick a major in something that will help make sure that you meet medical school requirements (these often include lots of science, math)- which includes doing very well with your grades. I am a faculty and administrator for a bachelor's program in psychology and we've had plenty of students go on to medical school from our program. Just keep in mind, whatever major you pick, you want to do well academically: medical school admission is very competitive with most students earning GPAs that are close to a 4.0. Competitive college students applying to medical school also volunteer and seek out undergraduate internships to help show their interest and commitment to the field in places like hospitals. But there is a predicted shortage of doctors coming to our nation and we need more good doctors! We especially need more doctors who also understand mental health issues and some training with mental health is becoming part of medical school already.
Now, a very specific type of doctor is a psychiatrist. A Psychiatrist is a medical doctor with a lot of extra training in mental health. Since they are also medical doctors, they can prescribe medications. See the answers above for more about becoming a psychiatrist.
If you want to help people with mental health struggles or needs, there are other careers that might also be worth exploring. For example, a licensed clinical psychologist is a highly trained professional that also works on assessing and treating individuals. Many clinical psychologists spend about the same time in school as medical doctors and also hold a doctoral degree (usually a Psy.D.). There are also licensed therapists, professional licensed counselors, licensed social workers, and more. These careers are licensed by states to provide mental health support. The level of education, training, and licensing varies for each role--- but these roles often work together to manage cases.
I've put a few links below for further exploration.
Good luck on your educational journey!
Tanaz recommends the following next steps:
Great question! The process can be a bit confusing. Here is the general breakdown though:
1. Complete high school
2. Research what college you want to go to for your bachelor's degree. Most medical schools will consider any degree as long as you've completed the prerequisites for the med school.
(I have a bachelor's in biomedical science with minors in chemistry and sociology, my friends in medical school have English, Russian history, and Psychology degrees.)
3. Take as many classes as you can for your degree at your community college to save money! Apply for financial aid through FAFSA. Some community colleges have programs to get you from that community college and into a nearby university.
4. Apply for and graduate with at least a bachelor's degree.
5. Prepare for and take the MCAT (medical college admissions test).
6. Prepare for and apply to medical schools (both MD (medical doctor) and DO (doctor of osteopathic medicine) can become psychiatrists)
7. Complete 4 years of medical school (first 2 years are book learning, second two years are clinical rotations). Licensing exams are done after the 2nd year of medical school and another after the 3rd year. Then the 3rd one is done during residency.
8. Apply for and attend the psychiatric residency. (Take your 3rd major exam here.)
GOOD LUCK! YOU CAN DO IT!!!