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Psychiatrists are charged with the daunting task of diagnosing and treating patients with mental health disorders. In addition to state licensing and certification, psychiatrists must first complete four years of medical school and three or four years of psychiatric residency. While becoming a psychiatrist is hard work, the advantages are worth the challenge.
The most significant advantage to being a psychiatrist is working in a profession devoted to helping others. Whether a patient is suffering from mental health issues related to a traumatic experience, substance abuse, difficult circumstances, depression or hereditary disorders, psychiatrists are trained to diagnose and treat these issues through a variety of methods, including investigative communication and prescription medication. Oftentimes, the gratification obtained from helping others is rewarding enough.
Psychiatrists work in different environments including private practices, psychiatric hospitals, federal and state institutions, and mental health clinics. Psychiatrists also may be called upon by corporations or schools to help treat survivors in the aftermath of instances such as school or workplace shootings or suicide. Regardless of where they work, psychiatrists usually work in calm and private environments for the comfort of their patients.
Financial security is another advantage of being a psychiatrist. According to a May 2009 report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary for a psychiatrist is $163,660. This figure varies depending on the environment in which a psychiatrist is employed.
As with many medical fields, a career in psychiatry also provides some job security. A report from CNN’s Money.com recently ranked psychiatry 24th out of the 50 best jobs in America. The report factored in several job aspects including pay, quality of life and job growth. According to the study, jobs in psychiatry are projected to increase 14 percent over a 10-year period.
Psychiatry also affords many opportunities for growth, advancement and recognition within the profession. Some psychiatrists will advance to teach at universities, mentoring students who want to enter the field. Research studies, which positively impact the profession, may earn a psychiatrist industry-wide recognition.
- Psychiatrist Job Description
- U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Statistics: Psychiatrist
- Best Jobs in America
- "The Gale Encyclopedia of Mental Health Vol. 2, 2nd Edition"; edited by L.J. Fundukian and J. Wilson; 2008
Based in South Florida, Leann Harms has been writing since 2008. Her design, technology, business and entertainment articles have appeared in "Design Trade" magazine and Web sites including eHow. Harms has a Bachelor of Arts in English from Florida Atlantic University.