According to the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics, psychiatrists diagnose, treat and help prevent mental disorders. To do his job, a psychiatrist must work with and understand both patients and psychiatric medications. Psychiatrists are medical doctors who work with many other health care related fields, including psychologists, nurses and pharmacists to ensure proper care of their patients.
Like psychiatrists, clinical psychologists concern themselves with the assessment, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mental disorders, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, unlike psychiatrists, clinical psychologists are not allowed to prescribe medications, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Instead, clinical psychologists focus more on behavior modification to help people deal with diagnoses from schizophrenia to depression and offer therapies such as marriage counseling to family therapy. A Ph.D. or Psy.D. is typically required of a clinical psychologist, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The average annual salary of a clinical psychologist is $64,140, according to May 2008 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Often finding positions in inpatient mental health institutions, psychiatric nurses are registered nurses who also assess the mental health of patients, according to Pay Scale. Psychiatric nurses often work with psychiatrists and may recommend and monitor medication changes and treatments for their patients but may not prescribe medications, according to Pay Scale. Psychiatric nurses also enable communication between patients and psychiatric services, programs and the patients' caregivers, according to Pay Scale, while compiling the patients' medical history. The average salary of a psychiatric nurse is between $49,162 and $69,888, according to July 2010 Pay Scale data.
Pharmacists are required to have a much broader knowledge of medication than psychiatrists, as they need to be aware of medications beyond the realm of psychiatric medications. However, many patients turn to both psychiatrists and pharmacists for questions regarding side effects and interactions of psychiatric medications. Pharmacists distribute prescription medication, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, whereas psychiatrists may distribute samples, but their primary objective is to prescribe the correct medications. Pharmacists must obtain a Pharm.D. degree, which generally takes four years to complete, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The average pharmacist makes $106,410 per year, according to May 2008 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.