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What is the job description of a psychiatrist?

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Quick Answer

A psychiatrist treats and diagnoses mental illness, helps create treatment plans for patients, identifies behavioral patterns, interviews individuals close to his patients and help patients find coping methods. Cases also exist in which psychiatrists have to recommend medication or hospitalization for patients.

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Full Answer

To qualify for jobs as a psychiatrist, an individual must first attain an undergraduate degree in psychology or a related subject. Students then advance to medical school for four years, where they learn about the systems of the human body, medicine and diseases. The last two years of medical school consist of clinical rotations in a health care facility with the guidance of licensed medical professionals.

Psychiatrists must also complete a residency in psychiatry. Residencies offer instruction on diagnosing, treating and interviewing patients. Some psychiatrists might choose to complete a fellowship after finishing a residency. A fellowship is designed to provide an education in a specialized area of psychiatry. Fellowships often last one to two years and focus on specialities such as geriatrics, psychosomatic medicine, and child and adolescent psychiatry.

A psychiatrist must also become licensed and certified to qualify for jobs. License requirements in every state include passing either the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Exam or the United States Medical Licensing Examination. The American Board of Medical Specialists oversees board certification.

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