Today is Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020

Department of

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience

Residency Program

How to Become a Psychiatrist

A psychiatrist is a licensed medical doctor certified to treat emotional and mental disorders with the authority to prescribe medication. While both psychiatrists and psychologists can practice clinical psychology and psychotherapy, only psychiatrists can prescribe medication. As a result, psychiatrists must complete medical school and residency training.

Students who are interested in becoming psychiatrists must earn a bachelor's degree, typically majoring in psychology or a science-related major but may enter with any major, and then attend at least four years of medical school.

Psychiatry-related studies in medical schools include such topics as diagnosing and classifying psychiatric disorders, understanding and prescribing somatic and non-somatic treatments and evaluating, diagnosing and formulating a treatment plan for psychiatric patients.

After earning their medical degrees, psychiatrists must complete a four-year residency before becoming licensed to practice. Students typically pursue these programs at hospitals associated with medical universities, combining hands-on clinical training with academic scholarship and research.

Graduates of psychiatric residency programs must apply for a state physician's license in order to become a practicing psychiatrist. Because they can prescribe medication, psychiatrists must also have a federal narcotics license and registration number from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

Most states require that practicing psychiatrists complete continuing education credits in order to maintain their licenses. Information on continuing medical education (CME) courses and credits can be obtained through the American Psychiatric Association.

Peirce Johnston

More Information

Peirce Johnston, MD
Director of Medical Student Education in Psychiatry
Inquiries about the program should be directed to Christina Gibson

Phone: 513-558-4866