To answer the question it is important to understand that although the names sound similar they are really different professions. Psychiatrists are physicians [have a medical doctorate (MD) or doctor of osteopathy DO]. Psychiatrists attend medical school and complete post medical school training for 4 years (general psychiatry) and can do a fellowship afterward to specialize (child and adolescent psychiatry, geriatric psychiatry, addiction psychiatry, consult liasion psychiatry, etc). Psychiatrists prescribe medications to treat mental health conditions and may also do psychotherapy. Psychologists have a PhD or PsyD. PhD programs tend to be research oriented and PsyD programs tend to be more clinically focused. Psychologists provide treatment by performing psychotherapy. Psychologists may also do neuropsychological testing. Organizational psychologists may work in corporate america providing consultation and analysis to improve workplace teams and processes. So, both of the programs are challenging (in different ways). A strong science background, particularly in biology, chemistry and physiology are necessary for medical school (psychiatrists). Strong written, verbal, and interpersonal skills are helpful for both professions, but even more so for psychologists.
I don't think it is more difficult. It's just different. You have to be open to a more broad area of study because as a psychiatrist you get to study the entire human body! You are going to learn pediatrics, surgery, ob/gyn and more! You are going to meet amazing people and do amazing things. I think there's nothing better. I say go for it!
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Hey Samantha! Sounds as if you are thinking of helping people. You should be commended for wanting to serve others. I agree with everything the first respondent said. I'll add that they are both challenging and rewarding careers. The training, pay, and eventual work are different. Psychologists can provide "psychological testing" and psychiatrists do not. Psychiatrists can prescribe medication, order tests, admit patients to hospital, perform procedures such as ECT (electroconvulsive therapy) in addition to therapy. Psychologists, in most states, are generally limited to therapy and testing. Psychiatrists on average make more money that psychologists. Psychiatrists generally have longer training. I wish you SO much success in deciding what you would like to do for your career! I'm a child psychiatrist and I LOVE my job. It's fun to help guide young people. I work with psychologists and clinical social workers in addition to other physicians such as myself (psychiatrists are considered physicians and psychologists are not as they didn't go to medical school).
A career as a psychiatrist is long because you need to complete a Bachelors degree of your choice that comply with all the Pre- medical requisites or you could do a 3 year Pre-medical degree. Then, you go to medical school for 4 years. After graduation you have to apply for a residency in psychiatry. Psychiatry Residency training program duration is 4 years. Psychiatrist are trained to prescribe medication and to do therapy.
Psychologists are trained to do therapy and to use diagnostic assessments tools. They are not physicians , so they don’t prescribe medication or can’t do medical procedures .They have doctoral degrees like PhD or a PsyD . But you don’t need a doctoral degree to provide therapy. For example social workers and licensed professional counselor.
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