A psychiatrist is a doctor who focuses on the cause, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mental illnesses. Persons having psychological disorders that include bipolar, post traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia and anxiety are seen by psychiatrists for diagnosis and possible treatment. These individuals need to be treated for their illness as untreated it can worsen and eventually lead to other more serious mental disorders. The work of a psychiatrist involves working with patients to overcome their illness, learn coping mechanisms and how to manage their lives.
A psychiatrist requires specialized training after graduating from an accredited medical school to practice medicine. Generally the first two years of study focus on research and ethics while in the last two years of study they will specialize in a specific area of psychology. During the residency the doctor works in a specific hospital for a certain period of time to gain further experience in their field. They will then either choose to continue their studies at a university or go into private practice.
To become a psychiatrist all that is required is to have a master’s degree in psychology. After this a person needs to pass the qualifying exam given by the American Psychological Association or the American Medical College. Then a person needs to undergo four years of residency in a mental health facility or mental hospital. After this a person becomes a licensed psychiatrist. The requirements for licensing differ by state but most states require at least three years of residency in a mental health facility or hospital and a doctorate degree. There is currently a shortage of psychiatrists in the United States, so it is important that if you are interested in practicing medicine you get the education and then pass the board exam to become a psychiatrist.