Becoming a Psychiatrist

Becoming a Psychiatrist

Becoming a Psychiatrist – A Short Overview

The educational path to becoming board certified in Psychiatry is a long and difficult path. On average, it takes twelve years after high school to complete the education and training necessary to become a Board Certified Psychiatrist. Here are the main steps a dedicated student must follow.

Undergraduate Education

Before becoming a psychiatrist, prospective students need to complete all the prerequisite undergraduate courses for admission to medical school. The courses typically include biology, chemistry, and physics. The majority of medical students earn a bachelor’s degree, but some schools do not require it. To apply to medical school, you must also take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). To become a medical student, there are also steps that may or may not be required, such as conducting research, shadowing physicians, volunteering, and working in medical settings.

The greater Kansas City Area is fortunate to have three top medical schools that future med students who want to become a Psychiatrist can consider!

Medical School Education

The medical school education lasts four years after admission. During the first two years of education, classes are held on campus, and exams are taken there. Medical students take their first board exam after two years, the USMLE Step 1 (for MD students) or COMLEX Level 1 (for DO students). The last two years of the program are spent in clinical rotations at teaching hospitals where students learn about the different aspects of medicine. The second board exam students take during that time is USLME Step 2 or COMLEX Level 2. The final year of medical school is dedicated to rotating and working at hospitals around the country, as well as interviewing for residency programs. A med student who wishes to become a psychiatrist must perform audition rotations at hospitals where he or she would like to match. At the end of medical school, students are matched into residency programs.

Psychiatry Residency

In a Psychiatry residency program, students officially become physicians and are able to practice medicine, but only under proper supervision. It is important to note that even though they have completed their education and become physicians, they cannot practice alone until they have completed their residency and specialty boards. Residents in psychiatry gain valuable hands-on experience, practice, and education in a specific area of medicine over a period of four years. USMLE or COMLEX step 3 examinations are completed during the first year of residency. The psychiatry board examination is taken at the end of the residency. After completing residency and passing board examinations, they can become fully licensed to practice medicine. A great deal of information about Psychiatry and residency programs can be found online through the American Psychiatric Association.

Fellowship Training

Top residents may apply for fellowships in one of the nine subspecialties of Psychiatry if they wish to receive more intensive training. A fellowship is not required for licensing. Instead, it is an extremely competitive program limited to a small number of candidates. Most fellowships are one year in length.


For those interested in more in-depth information about becoming a Psychiatrist, please check out this top-rated article on Google: How to become a Psychiatrist – Insights into Psychiatry