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Diagnose and treat mental disorders.


Psychiatrists are doctors who diagnose, treat, and help prevent disorders of the mind. They may also prescribe drugs to improve mental health symptoms.

On the Job

Typical Work Tasks

People who work in this career often:

1. Treat patients using psychological therapies.

2. Collect medical information from patients, family members, or other medical professionals.

3. Conduct research to increase knowledge about medical issues.

4. Maintain medical or professional knowledge.

5. Prepare official health documents or records.

6. Prepare reports summarizing patient diagnostic or care activities.

7. Present medical research reports.

8. Record patient medical histories.

9. Collaborate with healthcare professionals to plan or provide treatment.

10. Explain medical procedures or test results to patients or family members.


Typical Working Conditions

1. Working indoors in environmentally controlled conditions.

2. Having face-to-face discussions.

3. Freedom to make decisions without supervision.

4. Working with a group or team.

5. The freedom to determine tasks, priorities, and goals.

6. Dealing with unpleasant or angry people.

7. Sitting.

8. Meeting strict deadlines.

9. Exposure to disease or infections.


Education & Credentials 

Typical Entry-Level Education 

Doctoral or professional degree 


Work Experience and Training Requirements

Nationally, this career typically requires:

Doctoral or professional degree for entry.

Internship/residency to become competent.


Helpful High School Courses

Examples of helpful classes that help you prepare for this career:



Community Health

Computer Applications

Human Development

Medical Ethics


Research Methods

Safety and First Aid/CPR



World Languages


Skills & Knowledge 

Most Important Skills for Psychiatrists 

Being Aware of Others—Understanding people's reactions.

Listening—Listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions.

Reading—Reading work-related information.

Thinking Critically—Thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem.

Learning New Things—Figuring out how to use new ideas or things.

Speaking—Talking to others.

Writing—Writing things for co-workers or customers.

Making Decisions—Thinking about the pros and cons of different options and picking the best one.

Solving Complex Problems—Noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it.

Helping Others—Looking for ways to help people.


Most Important Knowledge Areas for Psychiatrists 

Therapy and Counseling—Knowledge of principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.

Psychology—Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.

Medicine and Dentistry—Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.

English Language—Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

Education and Training—Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.

Customer and Personal Service—Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.

Biology—Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.

Sociology and Anthropology—Knowledge of group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.

Philosophy and Theology—Knowledge of different philosophical systems and religions. This includes their basic principles, values, ethics, ways of thinking, customs, practices, and their impact on human culture.

Computers and Electronics—Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.



Different careers may be a good fit for your personality or interests. This career is:

Investigative—Investigative careers involve working with ideas. They require a lot of watching, learning, and problem-solving. People in investigative careers sometimes prefer to work alone. They are often good at math, science, or logical reasoning.

Social—Social careers involve working with, communicating with, and teaching others. They usually require working with people more than things. People who work in social careers often enjoy helping or providing service to others.


Describe Your Skills

People who have worked in this career typically perform the following tasks. These statements can help a prospective employer understand what you can do, on a resume or during an interview.

1. Helping and caring for people.

2. Collecting information from different sources.

3. Making decisions or solving problems.

4. Creating and maintaining interpersonal relationships.

5. Keeping up-to-date with new knowledge.

6. Documenting or recording information.

7. Communicating with supervisors, co-workers, or people that work under you.

8. Identifying information by categorizing, comparing, or detecting changes in circumstances or events.


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