Psychiatrist Salary


Career as a Psychiatrist


By Diane Turner

Thesalary for a psychiatrist is largely tied to these individuals’ medical background. Psychiatrists are expected to provide psychiatric assessment that will allow for the treatment of these individuals. This includes reducing or eliminating the symptoms of a patient’s mental disorders so they are able to live a more fulfilling and normal life. This can include using psychiatry, neuroscience, psychological science and medicine to treat the patient as necessary.

In most cases psychiatrists will act in a clinical setting, providing ongoing care for patients that will help them manage their mental disorders. They may also act as a consultant with other physicians or medical professionals to help ensure that the patient is getting the treatment they need. This means that a psychiatrist can work in a doctor’s office, as part of a social agency, part of a government agency, in a research unit or in their own private office.
Those that hope to work as a psychiatrist are typically encouraged to earn a degree in psychology or a related field during their undergraduate studies. They will need to earn high grades and a high score on the MCAT to earn a place in a competitive medical program. Once in medical school, these individuals will need to complete two years of coursework in hard sciences and two years of rotations working with health care professionals to learn the trade.

After medical school, psychiatrists will need to spend a few years in a residency learning how to work directly with patients. After this point the psychiatrist can take a board exam in the state where they wish to practice to earn their license. Each state will have its own rules regarding how this must be done and what follow up is necessary to maintain your license. It is also highly recommended that these individuals become certified with the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology before going into practice. Much of the competition surrounding the average salary of a psychiatrist is derived from the hard work associated with entering the field.

Psychiatrist Average Salary

The psychiatrist average salary is $177,520. There are a wide variety of factors that can influence the average psychiatrist salary in specific areas of the country. The types of facilities available in different areas, the training facilities available and the availability of quality care in this field will have a significant impact on what a psychiatrist can expect to make.

Psychiatrist Salary Factors and Influences

The psychiatrist average salary will be highly influenced by the type of facility where these individuals seek employment. The highest paying facilities tend to be those that expect these individuals to see a wide range of patients or maintain a large practice.

Other Residential Care Facilities Average Salary: $212,490

Management of Companies and Enterprises Average Salary: $205,870

Other Ambulatory Health Care Services Average Salary: $200,960

Individual and Family Services Average Salary: $198,470

Outpatient Care Centers Average Salary: $198,290

As you can see, the highest paying facilities are those that tend to have a medical background rather than those that focus on counseling. These facilities will typically see patients that were referred to the psychiatrist by a physician or other medical professional rather than those that are seeking assistance on their own. This helps ensure that their care will be covered by medical insurance rather than having to come out of pocket. To compare, look at the salaries for facilities that have the highest concentration of psychiatrists.

Psychiatric and Substance Abuse Hospitals Average Salary: $177,670

Outpatient Care Centers Average Salary: $198,290

Offices of Physicians Average Salary: $176,930

Offices of Other Health Practitioners Average Salary: $154,940

Residential Intellectual and Developmental Disability, Mental Health and Substance Abuse Facilities Average Salary: $190,960

The average salary for a psychiatrist is noticeably lower, but still tends to be higher than the national average. These areas are more likely to see specialized psychiatrists that will work with a smaller client base. On a similar note, compare areas that have the highest employment statistics for psychiatrists.

Offices of Physicians Average Salary: $176,930

Psychiatric and Substance Abuse Hospitals: $177,670

Outpatient Care Centers Average Salary: $198,290

General Medical and Surgical Hospitals Average Salary: $164,830

Colleges, Universities and Professional Schools Average Salary: $144,440

There is a great deal of overlap in these professions. These areas will once again see a smaller budget for this care and expect psychiatrists to specialize their care to work with a specific type of patient.

The area where the professional works will also have a large impact on the salary of a psychiatrist. There are a number of cities that are known for being the top paying metropolitan areas that regularly higher psychiatrists.

Sherman-Denison, TX Average Salary: over $187,199

Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA Average Salary: over $187,199

Fort Worth-Arlington, TX Average Salary: $249,520

Vallejo-Fairfield, CA Average Salary: $249,250

Fargo, ND Average Salary: $244,700

Portland-Vancouver, Hillsboro, OR Average Salary: $242,000

Waterbury, CT Average Salary: $243,720

Birmingham-Hoover, AL Average Salary: $240,210

Dayton, OH Average Salary: $238,500

Louisville-Jefferson County, KY Average Salary: $234,620

While many of these areas are located in states that are known for having higher paying positions for psychiatrists, there are also areas that are unique in offering these more competitive salaries. Noting these specific areas of growth in the field can help psychiatrists find a niche where they can earn a competitive salary.

Nonmetropolitan areas can offer more competitive salaries in specific cases. Areas that are very limited in their ability to offer psychiatric care will often pay more competitive salaries to individuals willing to work there as a means of bringing in high quality professionals. The top paying nonmetropolitan areas nationwide are:

Southwest Maine Average Salary: $241,250

Far Western Pennsylvania Average Salary: $215,650

Capital/Northern New York Average Salary: $208,250

Southern Indiana Average Salary: $187,060

Southern Vermont Average Salary: $188,900

Psychiatrist Salary Compared To Related Fields

The average psychiatrist salary is significantly higher than those in other fields with similar responsibilities can expect to earn.

Average Salary for a Psychiatrist: $177,520

Average Salary for Social Workers: $42,480

Average Salary for Mental Health Counselors and Marriage Family Therapists: $39,710

Average Salary for Rehabilitation Counselors: $32,350

Average Salary for Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors: $38,120

Much of what drives this extensive gap in earnings stems from the extensive gap in educational requirements that exists between these fields. While social workers and most counselors are expected to earn a master’s degree to enter the field, a psychiatrist will be expected to earn a medical degree in addition to their psychological training because they will typically be expected to provide medication in addition to their counseling responsibilities. Therefore, these individuals earn salaries comparable to physicians more so than others with responsibilities similar to their own field.

Psychiatrist Salary by State

The psychiatrist average salary in some states tends to be significantly higher than the national average. Those that have the highest payment levels nationwide are listed below.

Psychiatrist Salary in Maine: $232,390

Psychiatrist Salary in Oregon: $228,580

Psychiatrist Salary in Idaho: $219,340

Psychiatrist Salary in Wyoming: $215,680

Psychiatrist Salary in North Dakota: $210,580

These states have smaller populations that tend to be somewhat isolated, limiting the amount of medical or mental health care available. Individuals working in these areas will need to have fairly large practices to help manage the larger groups of patients they will be expected to see. These facilities will also be expected to take on a very diverse group of patients rather than specializing in a specific type of care. To compare, note the psychiatrist salary by statein areas that have the highest employment levels nationwide.

Salary in California: $179,270

Salary in New York: $165,460

Salary in Texas: $178,530

Salary in Ohio: $157,830

Salary in Pennsylvania: $185,500

These states have a much higher population that is spread out in many different cities. With much more room to open up practice, psychiatrists tend to specialize more in specific areas of treatment. While this means that they can charge a higher fee for their services, they tend to see fewer patients overall. So, while these salaries still tend to be higher than the national average, they are lower than states that have less competition. Further noting this point are the salaries in states with the highest concentrations of psychiatrists.

Salary in Connecticut: $175,210

Salary in District of Colombia: $121,070

Salary in New York: $165,460

Salary in Vermont: $141,560

Salary in Hawaii: $121,230

Once again, these states have populations that are highly concentrated in specific areas. The

average salary of a psychiatristhas once again taken a hit due to the increased competition in these areas, driving psychiatrists to specialize their practice in order to maintain a successful client base.

Psychiatrist Types of Salaries

Psychiatrist:Average Salary: $195,807

These professionals are called upon to evaluate the behavioral, mental or emotional disorders of patients. This may include diagnosing these disorders and evaluating the extent and nature of the patient’s difficulties. They will also be asked to prescribe an appropriate treatment for the condition at hand. When necessary these individuals may prescribe medication to the patient, unlike a traditional psychologist. Psychiatrists will need to earn a degree in medicine from an accredited school. They will also need to earn a license to practice in their given area. Many positions also ask that these individuals have at least 2-4 years of experience in the field before practicing on their own.

Pediatric Psychiatrist:Average Salary:$192,332

Pediatric psychologists will also diagnose behavioral, mental and emotional disorders, though in this case they will focus their efforts on studying the effects these disorders have on adolescents, children and their families. This may include diagnosing disorders, determining the extent or nature of the mental anguish or prescribing an appropriate treatment plan. This may include prescribing medication. Those that wish to work in this field will need to earn a degree in medicine as well as a license to practice. At least 2-4 years of experience, particularly experience with working with this specific age group, is required for most positions.

History of Psychiatrists

The roots of psychiatry can be found in the 5th century BCE. In these times, psychiatric disorders were largely thought to be the work of supernatural forces. Democritus in Ancient Greece is largely credited with using autopsies to discover the root causes of melancholy and madness.

The first hospitals used to treat mental disorders were opened in the 13th century. Bethlehem Royal Hospital in London is often credited with being the first of these facilities. The first textbooks on the study of psychiatry were not published until 1621 by Robert Burton. These books were some of the first to treat mental disorders as a natural science rather than supernatural.

Psychiatry was first seen as a profession in the early 19th century. At this time, the field was expanded to include mood disorders, irrationality and delusions as mental disease. To better address the needs of individuals suffering from these disorders, mental asylums were built in many parts of the United States and Europe. A great deal of effort was also put into finding appropriate cures for these individuals. Unfortunately, due to severe budget and spacing restraints, as well as the lack of knowledge regarding how to treat these individuals, most asylums were known for their horrific conditions more so than their medical advances.

Modern psychology focuses much more strongly on the biological influences in psychiatry. Medications are much more frequently used to treat such disorders in addition to extensive therapy. The further study of the function of the brain and the neurological system has led to the diagnosis of chemically-based mental disorders such as schizophrenia as well as noting which portions of the brain are responsible for portraying sensations such as hope, fear, feelings or fantasy.

Psychiatrist Salary Outlook – Conclusion

The average salary of a psychiatrist is expected to remain fairly steady in the upcoming years due to the fairly general increase in employment opportunities. This field is only expected to grow by 15 percent by 2020, a mere 1 percent increase over the generalized national job market.

The population is growing and there is a significant increase in the presence of mental disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease as we age, increasing the demand for those working in the psychiatry field. However, the facilities that employ people to deal with these types of illnesses tend to offer a lower salary for a psychiatrist limiting the potential salary growth for this field.

However, there are a great number of adults with mental disabilities that are currently being cared for by family members. As these people age, the parents will pass away or grow unable to provide adequate care for these individuals. The average psychiatrist salaryin facilities that can care for these disabled individuals is expected to grow as the demand for their services increases. However, much of this is dependent on the number of children born with mental disabilities in the future and the advances in medical technology that may be able to better treat or predict these conditions.