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Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist: Education and Career Information

Helping children can be a positive and worthwhile investment into your career. When attempting to understand when children are having problems or behavioral changes, they are frequently sent to a child and adolescent psychiatrist to get to the bottom of things. Psychiatry is a detailed niche and is also very lucrative. If you’re into understanding the mind and the way it works, this may be the profession for you.

What does a child and adolescent psychiatrist do?

Although child and adolescent psychiatry is a niche area, a psychiatrist is licensed to practice on both adults and children. This is a medical doctor that treats children and adolescents with varying mental conditions. This position is one that evaluates, diagnoses and treats patients who are affected by a mental health condition, either temporary or chronic, and determines the right course of action and treatment. This person also prescribes medicine when needed, and works as an advocate in the best interests of the patient. A child and adolescent psychiatrist works with the family to address any issues the child is having.

These treatments could range from simple to severe, including depression, hallucinations, schizophrenia and other scenarios where medicine may have to be prescribed to control certain situations. You can find these physicians in hospitals, psychiatric clinics, medical facilities, mental institutions, private medical offices and in some cases, schools. Child and adolescent psychiatrists conduct long and short-term cognitive-behavior therapy, and can use individual or group settings to aid in treatment.

How much does a child and adolescent psychiatrist earn?

Someone who has taken the time to become a child and adolescent psychiatrist will earn their investment back with a lucrative salary. The annual salary varies with the industry, size of the organization in which the person is employed, education, location and years of experience. The median annual pay for a child and adolescent psychiatrist is $194,622. On the higher end of the scale, individuals in this position can make up to $247,108 a year. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the demand for child psychiatrists will increase by 18% through 2022.

What types of skills must a child and adolescent psychiatrist have?

There are a number of skills needed to be successful in this field. Some of the main skills needed are:

Compassion: Having a high level of compassion for children and adolescents who are going through mental disorders or turmoil is very important in effectively dealing with patients and their families.

Communication: Strong communication skills are needed to speak to, assess, diagnose and evaluate conditions, their behaviors and recommended treatment plans with their families. Being able to speak to and network with other professionals in this area is also key in keeping up with treatment methods and industry standards.

Reasoning: There must be adequate reasoning skills in place that will help determine the root of the problem and finding ways to administer treatment.

Critical-Thinking: Someone in this position must be able to think critically about why a child or adolescent is going through mental problems, and apply their knowledge in understanding and varied treatment methods to determine the right treatment plan for the patient.

Interpersonal skills: Working with others is crucial in this position, and being able to keep a personable and pleasant manner.

Evaluation: This individual must be able to evaluate all the symptoms of the patient to recommend effective treatment plans based on their actions, mental history and discussion with the patient and parents.

Analytical: An individual in this profession must be able to analyze and discuss symptoms and how to treat them. They must be able to break down symptoms and what may be causing certain situations to occur.

Internship Requirements

The internship requirements for a child and adolescent psychiatrist are rigorous. These individuals must have 3 years of approved residency training in medicine, neurology and general psychiatry with the adult population, then have an additional 2 years of specialized training in psychiatric work with children, adolescents and their families in an accredited residency in child and adolescent psychiatry.

Education Requirements

The educational requirements to become a child and adolescent psychiatrist are detailed and lengthy. The individual must complete a bachelor’s degree program. Most of the time, the students pursue a bachelor’s degree in psychology, or a pre-med bachelor’s degree program. After the bachelor’s degree has been attained, students should prepare to enter medical school. This is a very detailed curriculum that addresses a number of areas in two components, the pre-clinical and clinical years:

Pre-Clinical Years: Provide the foundational courses of psychiatry and different methods of patient care. Courses during this time include pharmacology, pathology and medical ethics.

Clinical Years: A portion of the educational components allow medical students to work in different health-based environments under the supervision of medical personnel. This takes place during a period of two years that vary in length of the rotation.

Individuals must also complete a 4-year psychiatry residency program working with all types of patients. Students will complete work in areas of inpatient psychiatry, primary and neurology. Substance abuse and psychopharmacology are also areas of study that will be addressed. In this area, students will learn how to evaluate, treat and conduct clinical research with patients.

Once all of these requirements have been met, a child psychiatry fellowship will have to take place. These fellowships last two years and provide opportunities to learn all of the issues and causes of mental health conditions in children. This fellowship covers obsessive-compulsive disorder and pediatric neurology.

All of these criteria must be met to receive the Doctor of Psychiatry and be eligible for licensing. This is a very rigorous program that will take years of preparation to achieve. If you are interested in this profession and can stay the course, it will be a rewarding choice, both professionally and financially. With the shortage in this profession growing, it could be a worthwhile investment into your future.

Psychiatry Scholarships

American Psychological Foundation Scholarships Association of Black Psychologists Epilepsy Foundation
Elizabeth Munsterberg Koppitz Child Psychology Graduate Student Fellowship Future Counselors of America Scholarship Gallagher Koster Health Careers Scholarship
Kay Wilson Presidential Leadership Award NIH Undergraduate Scholarship NAJA Graduate Scholarship
National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Psi Chi Awards and Grants Wayne F. Placek Grants

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