|Occupation||Degree||Common Licenses||Prescription Privilege||Average Income ($US)|
|Occupational Therapist||BOT/MOT/DOT/PhD||Occupational Therapist||No||$48,000|
|Clinical Social Worker||BSW/MSW/DSW/PhD||LCSW/LICSW/LMSW||No||$46,170|
Most qualified mental health professionals will refer a patient or Client to another professional if the specific type of treatment needed is outside of their scope of practice. Additionally, many mental health professionals may sometimes work together using a variety of treatment options such as concurrent psychiatric medication and psychotherapy. Additionally, specific mental health professionals may be utilized based upon their cultural and religious background or experience.
Psychiatrists may also go through significant training to conduct psychotherapy and cognitive behavioral therapy; however psychologists and clinical psychologists specialize in the research and clinical application of these techniques. The amount of training a psychiatrist holds in providing these types of therapies varies from program to program and also differs greatly based upon region.
Historically psychiatrists have been the only mental health professional with the power to prescribe medication to treat specific types of mental illness. However Physician Assistants, psychiatric nurses, and clinical psychologists have gained the ability to prescribe psychiatric medications in a few U.S. states.
In the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, and most Commonwealth countries, a would-be psychiatrist must first obtain Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery degrees. These degrees are most often abbreviated MB BS: MB ChB, MB BCh, MB BChir (Cambridge), BM BCh (Oxford), BM BS, or plain BM also occur. Following this, the individual in the UK will in future act as a "foundation programme trainee" for two additional years. The foundation programme allows new graduates to experience the different specialties of medicine, as well as learn important attributes and qualities of a doctor. Upon completion, a postgraduate student can apply for training to specialize in psychiatry. Following acceptance, this specialized training will last for about 6 years. After one year of training a written and clinical examination would be taken and after three years or so and experience in a range of subspecialties the Specialist Trainee would pass the examination for Membership of the Royal College of Psychiatrists: abbreviated as MRCPsych. In the past a few trained in internal medicine (qualifying as MRCP) or, more recently, general practice (MRCGP) before starting psychiatric training. After obtaining a Certificate of Specialist Training, the individual can apply for a consultant post and work independently as a psychiatrist or, more often, as part of a multi-disciplinary team.
In the United States and Canada one must first complete a Bachelor's degree. Students may typically decide any major of their choice, however they must enroll in specific courses, usually outlined in a pre-medical program. One must then apply to and attend 4 years of medical school in order to earn their MD or DO and to complete their medical education. Following this, the individual must practice as a psychiatric resident for another four years. Psychiatry residents are required to complete at least four post-graduate months of internal medicine (pediatrics may be substituted for some or all of the internal medicine months for those planning to specialize in child and adolescent psychiatry) and two months of neurology, usually during the first year. Occasionally, some prospective psychiatry residents will choose to do a transitional year internship in medicine or general surgery, in which case they may complete the two months of neurology later in their residency. After completing their training, psychiatrists take written and then oral board examinations. The total amount of time required to qualify in the field of psychiatry in the United States is typically 4 to 5 years after obtaining the MD or DO.
In addition to therapy, clinical psychologists are also trained to administer and interpret psychological personality tests such as the MMPI and the Rorschach inkblot test, and various standardized tests of intelligence, memory, and neuropsychological functioning. Common areas of specialization include: specific disorders (e.g. trauma or depression), neuropsychological disorders, child and adolescent, family and relationship counseling, health, sport, forensic, organization and business, and school psychology.
Counseling generally involves helping people with what might be considered "normal" or "moderate" psychological problems, such as the feelings of anxiety or sadness resulting from major life changes or events. As such, counseling psychologists often help people adjust to or cope with their environment or major events, although many also work with more serious problems as well.
One may practice as a counseling psychologist with a PhD or EdD, and as a counseling psychotherapist with a Masters degree. Compared with clinical psychology, there are fewer counseling psychology graduate programs (which are commonly housed in departments of education), counselors tend to conduct more vocational assessment and less projective or objective assessment, and they are more likely to work in public service or university clinics (rather than hospitals or private practice). Despite these differences, there is considerable overlap between the two fields and distinctions between them continue to fade.
In the US, they are often referred to as clinical social workers; each state specifies the responsibilities and limitations of this profession. State licensing boards and national certification boards require clinical social workers to have a masters or doctoral degree (MSW or DSW/PhD) from a university. The doctorate in social work requires submission of a major original contribution to the field in order to be awarded the degree.
In the UK, Approved Social Workers have a legal role in certifying (sectioning) individuals requiring psychiatric treatment against their wishes. However it has been said that a social model, rather than or in addition to the dominant medical model, is the underlying rationale for mental health social work, including a focus on Social causation, Labeling, Critical theory and Social constructivism. It has also been said that social workers need to work with medical and health colleagues to provide an effective service, but need to be at the forefront of processes that include and empower services users.
Psychiatric Nurses or Mental Health Nurse Practitioners work with people with a large variety of mental health problems, often at the time of highest distress, and usually within hospital settings. These professionals work in primary care facilities, outpatient mental health clinics, as well as in hospitals and community health centers. MHNPs evaluate and provide care for patients who have anything from psychiatric disorders, medical mental conditions, to substance abuse problems. They are licensed to provide emergency psychiatric services, assess the psychosocial and physical state of their patients, create treatment plans, and continually manage their care. They may also serve as consultants or as educators for families and staff; however, the MHNP has a greater focus on psychiatric diagnosis, including the differential diagnosis of medical disorders with psychiatric symptoms and on medication treatment for psychiatric disorders.
In order to become a nurse practitioner in the U.S., at least six years of college education must be obtained. After earning the Bachelor's degree (usually in nursing, although there are Masters Entry Level Nursing graduate programs intended for individuals with a Bachelors degree outside of nursing) the test for licensure as a registered nurse (the NCLEX-RN) must be passed. Next, the candidate must complete a state-approved Masters Degree advanced nursing education program which includes at least 600 clinical hours. Several schools are now also offering further education and awarding a DNP(Doctorate of Nurse Practice).
Individuals who choose a Masters Entry Level pathway will spend an extra year at the start of the program taking classes necessary to pass the NCLEX-RN. Some schools will issue a BSN, others will issue a certificate. The student then continues with the normal MSN program.