How Long Does It Take To Become A Psychiatrist?

Are you wondering how long it takes to become a psychiatrist? Here is an article which details the estimated time you take to become qualified in psychiatry.

TCM Staff

21st October 2020

Your interest in pursuing your career as a psychiatrist would bring you up to a thought of wondering how long it might take to become a psychiatrist. There are distinct sets of qualifications required to achieve your professional goals. Hence, the answer to this question is not always cut-and-dry. Becoming a psychiatrist is surely time-consuming but it is worth the wait if you love treating people with mental issues.

It usually takes at least 12 years long to become a psychiatrist which includes 4 years of an undergraduate degree, 4 years of specialized education in a medical school, and 4 years of psychiatry residency. To Understand the timeline better below is a section-wise detail. 



How long does it take to become a psychiatrist?

Becoming a psychiatrist usually takes approximately 12 years where you take time to meet the necessary qualifications to land in this profession. It typically includes an undergraduate degree, medical school program, and continued by residency and fellowship. Going through this in detail, 

Bachelor’s degree- 4 years

Bachelor’s degree is a four-year program that offers 120 credits to complete the coursework where you gain the prerequisites required for further education. This also includes generic courses such as Maths, Biology, Chemistry, and physics which are the basis to pursue a medical program.

Medical school- 4 years

After completing the undergraduate students are eligible to take the 4 years of a medical degree. Determined students can take up a combined program that lasts for 6-7 years.

Under this program, students study subjects such as psychiatry, physiology, chemistry, biochemistry, and neuroscience. Also, the final two years include the practice of psychiatry under experienced doctors.

Residency and Fellowship- 4 years

A residency program is a necessary step and requires a minimum of 4 years to gain knowledge on treating psychiatric patients which gives eligibility to get certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. The fellowship is chosen in the further years to study subspecialties in psychiatry for a period of one year. 

After completing this you are eligible to obtain the state license upon clearing US Medical Licensing Examination for MDs or the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination for DOs. 

Learn the psychiatrist's educational requirements in detail to get clarity about the different levels of educations and requirements.

Psychiatrist- An Overview

Psychiatrists are licensed medical doctors who are experts in mental health. They specialize in diagnosing and treating people with mental illness.

Psychiatrists have a good understanding of mental health and how they affect people. Psychiatrists earn a medical degree along with advanced qualifications from residency and a specialty in psychiatry. They use talk therapy, medications, and other treatments to treat people with mental health conditions.

They help people with mental health conditions such as schizophrenia, depression, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, and addiction.

With an average growth of 16 percent, psychiatrists earn a very good salary ranging between $200,00 and $250,000. Going forward, let's focus on how long it takes to become a psychiatrist.

What does a psychiatrist do?

Psychiatrists check and diagnose all mental symptoms and work with their patients to develop a plan for their treatment and faster recovery. 

Psychiatrists provide psychological treatment, prescribe medications, and perform different procedures to treat their patients. 

The following are the other duties of a psychiatrist,

  • provide urgent care for a sudden mental illness

  • help you to manage a long-term mental health condition

  • provide advice about lifestyle changes

  • work with you individually, or with you and your partner, family, or careers

  • provide second opinions and advice to other doctors and health professionals

  • refer you to other health professionals

  • admit you to the hospital if required


Entering into the field of psychiatry is challenging as well as a rewarding career if you make the right decisions. If your interests align with the career goals of this profession it would be a wise decision. Hence it is always better to learn about it and the potential alternatives before entering into this field.

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