If you want to become a psychiatrist, you will need a plan to ensure that you complete all of the steps you must take to get licensed. Getting the education and qualifications that you need to eventually earn your license and practice can be a lengthy and time-consuming process. By mapping out the route that you will take you can avoid taking missteps that will only delay the process and cost you more money that necessary. Read this guide, and learn about the best steps to take from the time you enter an undergraduate degree program.
Attending a Undergraduate School
You may need to complete medical school to become a psychiatrist, but before you can apply to medical school you will need to earn a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. It is important to take your career as an undergrad very seriously. Your grades, participation and overall performance as an undergrad will be considered by the medical school admissions council. As you are sifting through all of the programs and all of the schools, you should choose an accredited program majoring in psychiatry or psychology.
You can pursue other majors, but be sure you have to basic prerequisite courses you need completed to enter med school. Science courses are extremely important, and failing to have them completed can delay the process. These science classes include: physics, chemistry, natural science and biology.
Enroll in a Medical School to Earn Your Medical Degree
Admissions to a medical school is a must if you want to become a psychiatrist. You will need to earn your medical degree, and the reputation of the med school that you attend may be important when you are applying for positions in a practice that is already established. To apply to medical school you will need a bachelor’s degree and to have all of the prerequisites completed.
You will also need to have good grades and show potential. Sitting for the MCAT, a medical school admissions test, must be done before you submit your application. Once you are accepted to a program, you will study to earn the same degree a physician or surgeon would earn with a focus on psychiatry. It can take 11 to 15 years from the time that you enter an undergrad program to become a Medical Doctor.
Get Your Residency Training
Before you can practice on your own, you will need at least four years of post-doctoral training in a respected residency program. This is where you will get the hands-on experience that you need to work in a clinical setting without being supervised. After you complete your period as a resident, you can become licensed in your state.
Each state has a board exam that professionals must pass to become licensed to practice. The requirements to sit for the exam can vary from state to state. Make sure you check these requirements before you apply to sit for the exam to prevent delays.
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It can be a long process, but once you are licensed you will be happy to say you accomplished your lifetime goal to practice as a psychiatrist. Be sure that you study hard all throughout high school and college, and you can better your chances of getting accepted to medical school where you will do your training to become a psychiatrist.