What image comes to mind when you think about psychiatrists?

You might picture someone sitting in a chair, jotting down notes while their patient lies on a sofa and talks to them about their problems.

a man lies on a couch and talks while a doctor sits next to him and takesnotes

But is this really what a psychiatrist does?

This Byte will give you the lowdown on what a psychiatrist's job really looks like, and whether or not it might be a good fit for you.

Psychiatry: An Overview

As a psychiatrist, you will contribute to society by helping those who suffer from mental, behavioral, and emotional health problems.

Psychiatrists are a little different from other counselors, therapists, clinical psychologists, or licensed clinical social workers, because they are medical doctors and can prescribe medication.

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The Main Tasks Of A Psychiatrist Usually Include:

  • Meeting with patients to diagnose and treat mental health disorders and prescribe medications

  • Coming up with complex treatment plans for individuals

  • Analyzing patient data and records

  • Working with other healthcare professionals, such as social workers, administrative assistants, nurses, physicians, and other therapists

A woman leans forward and says

What Does A Psychiatrist's Day Look Like?

Depending on where you work, your daily routine might look a little bit different. Here are some examples for five different psychiatrists.

Flaticon Icon Miranda works as a psychiatrist in a prison. She also does pro bono work at a local community health center. Sometimes she is called to court as a witness for inmates she has worked with.

Flaticon Icon Jung-hoon is a hospital staff psychiatrist. He meets with hospital patients who need psychiatric evaluations. He also teaches at the medical school connected to the hospital and mentors psychiatry residents.

Flaticon Icon Christa has a private practice. She makes her own hours and is more selective about who she treats, focusing on people with PTSD, anxiety, and depression. When she isn't meeting with clients, she keeps track of patient billing and brainstorms new advertising plans.

Flaticon Icon Blake works at an inpatient substance abuse treatment center. They perform daily rounds to check on their patients, as well as meeting with patients on a regular basis. Blake is also on call for potential emergencies.

Flaticon Icon Conor is a psychiatrist at a university mental health center. He is part of a larger treatment team that meets with struggling students. Conor also does research in the university's psychology department.


Based on the examples above, which quality do you think is typically most true of psychiatrists?

An Average Psychiatrist's Salary is...

$212,875 USD

in the United States

$165,546 CAD

in Canada

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But Is It The Right Fit?

You might want to be a psychiatrist if...

  • You aren't fazed when people are dealing with serious problems

  • You have an investigative mind and consider yourself a problem solver

  • You are willing to put in years of hard work to get through medical school

  • You are an active listener who likes helping people

A woman looks determined and says

You might not enjoy psychiatry if...

  • You would rather work alone than with people

  • You struggle to be compassionate towards others when they have problems

  • You don't have a high tolerance for stressful situations

  • You don't want to go to medical school

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Take Action

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If you've decided psychiatry is a good fit for you, keep in mind the steps you'll need to follow to meet your career goals:


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