Psychiatrist Education Requirements

Willing to become a psychiatrist? Here is an article to give you an idea on all the educational requirements to lead you through your career.

Updated by TCM Staff on 20th October 2020

Psychiatrists are doctors who are expertised in treating mental disorders of patients through counselling, conducting examination, prescribing medication and advising.

Becoming a potential psychiatrist is challenging and calls for extensive academic knowledge in addition to the key skills. From the start, a psychiatrist is required to complete an undergraduate, doctoral degree followed by a residency program. After practicing psychiatry for about three years, you can obtain a license based on the state requirements. 

Education Requirements for a Psychiatrist

Before pursuing this career, you must research well to know that there are certain distinctive requirements and this could take time to become a psychiatrist. Learning these, you could categorize the qualifications into a degree program, experience, license, certification, and others. 

Bachelor’s degree in biology or psychology

It is the first step to beginning your career. Pursuing this 4-year program will give you a boost and the prerequisites for future studies. In the initial 2 years, the courses offered are biology, physics, chemistry, and mathematics. In the next 2 years, students are allowed to pursue programs such as internship, training and workshops.

Clear the Medical College Admission test

After completing the undergrad program, you must take up the Medical College Admission Test conducted by the Association of American Medical Colleges for medical applicants. This standardized test involves descriptive and objective questions to check the potentials and capabilities of a candidate. 

Doctor of Medicine 

The next step is to pursue a medical school for 4 years to learn the concepts in-depth such as histology, human anatomy, immunology and pharmacology. According to BSL, students can also choose a combined program and reduce the overall time to about 6-7 years. The curses include Anatomy, Histology, Immunology, Biochemistry and Psychology.

Residency program

To practice psychiatry well, students must take up the residency program and practice at hospitals, clinics and wards by treating patients. This program must be resumed for at least 4 years and followed by a fellowship program. Students learn about the mental concerns, techniques to treat patience under the supervision of licensed doctors.


Licence is necessary to work at a hospital or to start treating patience and hence every candidate must take up the licensing procedure after completing the necessary education.students can take the examinations such as,

  • M.D. degree (Doctor of Medicine) -U.S. Medical Licensing Examination

  • D.O. degree (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine) -COMLEX (Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination)

There are many other degrees that can lead you to becoming a  psychiatrist.


After earning the license regarding the state regulations, a certification from the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN) gives you the authority to practice medicine legally. This represents that you are well aware of the concepts and also possess appropriate knowledge on the specialty-specific training. Interested candidates can also get certified in the subspecialities such as,  

  • Addiction psychiatry

  • Adolescent and child psychiatry

  • Pain medicine

  • Sleep medicine

  • Forensic psychiatry


With the increases in mental health of the growing population, there are vast opportunities for psychiatrists. The salary offered to this profession is also height which may exceed up to $220,380. While some professions work in the government sectors, hospitals and also come being self employed have high career advancement chances. Besides this, the job satisfaction of treating and curing people is all that matters. 

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