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What are the first steps to becoming a psychiatrist?

I'm looking into becoming a psychiatrist and was wondering what steps I should take.

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Michel’s Answer

You will need to go to medical school. Picking a degree is important and a lot of people pick Biology because this degree does knock out all of the prereqs that you will need to take, but if you enjoy psychology you can also pick that degree and complete other courses you will need later on or during the process. You will then need to take the MCAT it is a 7.5 hour exam with subjects like biology, psychology, physics, chemistry, sociology, reading comprehension, biochemistry, genetics. After that you will apply for medical school. If you get in you will do two years of education in class and two in the clinical sites learning about the different fields. After that you will apply to residency and then study for four more years to become a psychiatrist.
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Houcine’s Answer

Hello Heaven,

Embarking on the path to becoming a psychiatrist is an exciting journey. Here are the initial steps to guide you:

Focus on excelling in high school, particularly in science and math courses. A strong foundation in these subjects will prepare you for the rigorous academic path ahead.

Pursue a bachelor's degree, preferably in a science-related field. While not mandatory, many aspiring psychiatrists choose majors like biology, psychology, or neuroscience.

Ensure you complete pre-medical requirements during your undergraduate studies. These typically include courses in biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics.

Seek opportunities for hands-on experience in healthcare or mental health settings. This can include volunteering, internships, or research positions.

Prepare thoroughly for the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) and aim for a competitive score.

Successfully complete medical school, which typically takes four years. Choose psychiatry as your specialty and engage in clinical rotations to gain practical experience.

After medical school, undertake a psychiatry residency program. This training provides in-depth exposure to various aspects of psychiatry and patient care.

Obtain board certification from the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology by passing the required examinations.

Obtain a medical license to practice psychiatry in your jurisdiction. Licensing requirements vary by location.

Consider pursuing a fellowship for specialized training in areas such as child psychiatry, forensic psychiatry, or addiction psychiatry.

Throughout this journey, seek mentorship, stay engaged in the field, and remain committed to ongoing learning and professional development.

Warm regards, Houcine
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Kimberly’s Answer

Hello Heaven,

To become a psychiatrist, you need to first become a medical doctor with a specialization in psychiatry. This journey begins with excelling in math and science, and pursuing an undergraduate degree in biology. Getting into medical school is a challenging and costly process, with a high level of competition.

An entrance exam, known as the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test), is a prerequisite. The average cost of medical school is around $250,000, and it's common for students to graduate with significant debt.

The medical school journey lasts for four years, and is followed by an additional four years of residency, where you'll focus on psychiatry. I trust this information will guide you on your path.
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Michelle’s Answer

Hello, Heaven !

You have chosen a wonderful career plan that will be both very satisfying and you will be making very important contributions through your work. I would like to give you some advice about your first steps towards this pursuit.

While in high school, take sciences such as biology, anatomy and psychology. Having an early awareness about the human body as well as human behavior will create a beneficial foundation for your further studies. Aim for high grades in your sciences and in all of your classes and keep your GPA high. You can think about which undergraduate colleges you would like to look into as a Psychology Major. Decide if relocating or enrolling in a nearby college would be in your plan and than read the colleges websites and visit the colleges if you can. Go for an orientation at the colleges. You can do that while you're still in high school to help you make a choice. I've provided a list of some noted colleges for psychology for you below.

As soon as you are able to, while in high school, join a group or club that is connected to Psychology or human behavior. Remain with that club until you graduate. You will want long term extracurriculars while in high school. Also consider doing volunteer peer counseling, or volunteering in a non-psychiatric capacity at a hospital's behavioral health unit. You will earn valuable experience and will become familiar with what you one day will be working with. Do a lot of reading about the anatomy of the brain and its functions. I would advise that you take out books about psychology and also the brain from the library or purchase them and start reading more in depth about the subjects. I've provided a link below to a brain webpage but I am sure you can find much more as well as videos on You Tube.

So my advice is to take a lot of human science in high school, be active in related clubs or groups, consider volunteer work, do a lot of reading on the side, keep your GPA high and you will be ready to apply to an undergraduate college that will prepare you for medical school ! I wish you all the best !

Michelle recommends the following next steps:

LIST OF COLLEGES https://www.niche.com/colleges/search/best-colleges-for-psychology/
ABOUT THE BRAIN https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/anatomy-of-the-brain
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