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How Much Does a Psychiatrist Make

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Secure a Financial Future as You Make a Difference for Mental Health

If you love the sciences, are passionate about the field of medicine and have a special interest in treating mental illness, a career in psychiatry could be both fascinating and rewarding. Several years of schooling and residency reward you with a lucrative career to help you establish a solid financial future for your family. Depending on where you work, hours can be more predictable than in other areas of medicine, making for a smoother and more balanced home life.

Job Description

Psychiatrists take medical histories, mental health histories, administer tests, diagnose psychiatric disorders and prescribe treatment. Prescribed treatment could include medication, psychotherapy, or integration of alternative modalities like neurofeedback, meditation or regular physical exercise. Some psychiatrists perform scholarly research in the field in connection with colleges and universities, as well as teach courses to professionals still in training. Psychiatrists can work independently in private practice or as part of care teams with other physicians, mental health professionals and nurses.

Education Requirements

Psychiatrists are licensed physicians who provide specialized care to those struggling with mental illness. They must complete a bachelor's degree, followed by four years of medical school. Following medical school, a psychiatrist must pass the medical licensing exam and then enroll in a residency program specializing in psychiatry. Once residency is complete, you must pass the general psychiatry certification examination offered by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.

The median salary for psychiatrists is $193,515, which means that half of all psychiatrists earn more than this, while the other half earns less. The top 10 percent bring home more than $270,000, while the bottom 10 percent brings home less than $99,000 per year.


Psychiatrists work in independent practice, group practice, hospitals, and residential care facilities for those struggling with mental illness or addiction. Those who work in independent practice maintain the most control over their schedules, which can be good for family life, but those in group practices have greater options for backup when they are on vacation. Hospital and residential care psychiatrists might need to work evenings and weekends to serve those experiencing psychiatric emergencies.

Years of Experience

Both time on the job and geography influence pay for psychiatrists. Salary also varies from employer to employer. You can expect your salary to increase with experience and as you move into higher profile positions throughout your career. One income projection looks like this:

  • Entry-Level: 

    $77,746 - $248,021
    * Mid-Career: 

    $105,841 - $260,607
    * Experienced: 

    $130,808 - $292,861
    * Late-Career: 

    $149,653 - $293,765

Job Growth Trend

Job opportunities for all physicians and surgeons, including psychiatrists, is expected to increase by 15 percent over the next decade, which is much faster than in other industries. A growing and aging population, as well as decreased stigma in seeking mental health care, is contributing to that demand. Competition for positions can be steep, so seek residency at well-respected institutions and make connections within the industry to stand out from the crowd when it's time to secure your first position.


Anne Kinsey is an entrepreneur and business pioneer, who has ranked in the top 1% of the direct sales industry, growing a large team and earning the title of Senior Team Manager during her time with Jamberry. She is the nonprofit founder and executive director of Love Powered Life, as well as a Certified Trauma Recovery Coach and freelance writer who has written for publications like Working Mother, the San Francisco Chronicle, Bizfluent, the Houston Chronicle and Our Everyday Life. Anne works from her home office in rural North Carolina, where she resides with her husband and three children.

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