How to Become a Psychiatrist
Do you have a desire to help other people deal with their mental problems? Then you could carve out a career in Psychiatry. Learn how to become a psychiatrist by reading this article.
Becoming a psychiatrist takes a lot of hard work and dedication. Like most doctors, a psychiatrist spends over a decade studying in college and medical school. This is not counting the years in residency training.
The first step towards building a career in Psychiatry is getting a college education, where you need to have an undergraduate degree. Ideal subjects are Psychology and Sociology. You should also have good grades so that you can get into medical school.
In case you take up a non-science course, you need to meet a minimum number of science courses. You will have to take classes like organic chemistry, general chemistry, physics and biology. Certain math classes may also be required.
After graduation you must enroll in a medical school. In order to get admitted in a medical school you should have high grades with point average ranging from 3.5 to 4.0. You also have to pass the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT).
Medical school takes another four years and includes science classes like pathology, anatomy and biochemistry. On the second year, you’ll have to take the first installment of the Medical Licensing Exam. The second and third parts are given during the fourth and final year in med school.
In the last year of medical school you need to select a specialty. After graduating from med school you will proceed to one year residency training in general medicine. Then there is the three year residency in Psychiatry. Indeed, you will be spending a lot of time in school if you are to realize your dream.
Residency would allow you to work with real patients and put into application all the things you have learned in medical school. You will be supervised by a board certified psychiatrist.
If you thought that medical school was hard then wait until you get into residency training. During this phase, expect to spend sleepless nights as you will be on call. You could find yourself working late at night and then getting a call early in the morning from a patient.
The cases you would be working on are also not for the faint hearted. Expect a lot of cases like failed suicide attempts, addictions, chronic depression, and even people with criminal history.
While not a requirement, it would help if you are naturally helpful. Remember that you will be dealing with problems of strangers, so having an inclination to help others can make you a successful psychiatrist.
You must also be patient. Unlike in general medicine where illnesses can be cured with medication, psychological problems could take years of therapy to overcome. You must realize that your patients might need years of therapy and counseling to overcome a trauma.
Lastly, you must be a good communicator. While a good part of your job entails listening to your patients you also need to repeat and understand the information relayed by the patient.
Now that you know how to become a psychiatrist, start preparing yourself for this career by doing well in school.