A psychiatrist is trained to diagnose, treat and prevent behavioral, mental and emotional disorders. But how much money does a psychiatrist make and is it worth it to go down that career path?
Not only do they need to assess clients on a surface level, but psychiatrists need to know the biochemical processes that affect the human body. To be able to do this, a psychiatrist needs to go through many years of education to qualify. It takes around a decade of studying and training to be able to qualify in psychiatry, and thus the psychiatrist salary should adequately reflect the effort and time put into it.
Psychiatrists can help adults, children, teenagers and those in prison settings to remain calm, happy, content, and work through issues to help an individual to feel whole. Forensic psychiatrists work with those in criminal settings to gain an understanding of why they commit a crime.
Average Salary of a Psychiatrist
So how much does a psychiatrist make? When looking into how much money a psychiatrist makes, it’s essential to know that there is a range of factors that affect the amount a psychiatrist can earn.
The average psychiatrist in the U.S. earns $220,380 each year, but the lowest-paid psychiatrists make in the range of $59,430. This is less than half of the average salary a psychiatrist earns. The highest-paid psychiatrists can earn over $260,000 per year, but it all depends on the state in which the psychiatrist is practicing.
For example, California, Alaska and Wyoming psychiatrists all earn above average annual salaries.
Those in Washington, Tennessee and Virginia earn the lowest end of the scale.
Utah, Oklahoma and Arkansas residents will earn between $105,540 and $160,000 in psychiatry, but these are wages that will increase over time with education and time served in the specialty.
Pros & Cons of Becoming A Psychiatrist
There is a range of pros and cons of working as a psychiatrist, and some of these include:
- Helping Others. The most significant benefit to psychiatry is that no matter where you work, whether in child services of forensics, you will be helping other people. From mental health help to trauma assistance, psychiatrists can help. The gratification that comes with being able to help others helps you to understand that you are working to improve the quality of life of others.
- Variety (Patient). Psychiatrists will gain variety in their day to day schedules, even those who are seeing the same patients on repeat. You will deal with patients in varying stages of dealing with mental health issues, and psychiatrists are able to diagnose and treat a variety of these issues. You work with new people every day and the people with whom you work come from a range of backgrounds.
- Variety (Workplace). Whether you work in your own private practice or you work in a hospital to help others, you get to experience a range of different working environments as a psychiatrist. Mental health clinics, prisons, private offices, schools – there are places you may not have considered to practice as a psychiatrist.
- Education Cost. Compared to other career options, qualifying as a psychiatrist is not cheap. However, the salary after college is worth it as the student loan debt can be repaid. After a degree, a four-year residency is completed, and specialized training can be completed, too.
- Stress. Psychiatry is not a field that one enters into lightly. The illnesses and health issues that a psychiatrist has to deal with for their patients are not easy. Day to day stress and unsociable hours for an on-call psychiatrist in a clinic or hospital means that the stress potential is high. Most psychiatry patients have to have treatments for their entire lives, especially those in forensic psychiatry.
- Patient Challenges. As a psychiatrist, it’s your job to work with those who deal with a range of health-related issues and trauma. Some of these patients never recover, and that’s the hardest part of the job. There are times where it takes your education, intuition and experience to discover and diagnose a problem, treat it and help a patient succeed. All that hard work, however, doesn’t guarantee a healthy patient at the end of it.
When it comes to learning how much money does a psychiatrist makes, understanding the pros and cons and the work that goes into becoming one is essential. When you’re evaluating the average salaries of doctors, you’ll see that Psychiatrists are highly compensated, but their work is vital to the mental, emotional and behavioral health of their patients. Trauma psychiatrists are highly valued in their field for the help that they can give, too. If you are looking to earn a high salary as a psychiatrist, consider your location and education before you go for the role.