How to become a psychiatrist

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course

University

To become a psychiatrist you'll need to complete:

  • a 5-year degree in medicine, recognised by the General Medical Council
  • a 2-year foundation programme of general training
  • 3 years of core training in psychiatry
  • 3 years of training in a speciality

You may be able to join a 6-year degree course in medicine if you do not have qualifications in science. This includes a one-year pre-medical foundation year.

If you already have a degree in a science subject, you could take a 4-year graduate entry route into medicine. Some universities will also accept non-science graduates.

When you apply for a course in medicine, you could be asked to take the University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT) or BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT). They test the skills you'll need on the course, like critical thinking, problem solving, data analysis, communication and scientific knowledge.

There's a lot of competition for places on medical degrees. Most university admissions departments will expect you to have done some relevant paid or voluntary experience.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English, maths and science
  • 3 A levels, or equivalent, including biology and chemistry
  • a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study

More Information

More Information

Registration

Further information

You can find out more about becoming a psychiatrist from the Royal College of Psychiatrists and Health Careers.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • counselling skills including active listening and a non-judgemental approach
  • knowledge of psychology
  • knowledge of medicine and dentistry
  • the ability to understand people’s reactions
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • active listening skills
  • knowledge of English language
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

Restrictions and Requirements

You'll need to:

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

In this role, you could:

  • assess your patient’s condition by asking them about their thoughts
  • get information from other sources, like GPs, relatives or social workers
  • carry out blood tests or scans to rule out other health conditions.
  • carry out psychiatric tests
  • prescribe medication
  • recommend treatments like counselling or cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
  • suggest practical ways to stay well

Working environment

You could work in a prison, in an NHS or private hospital, at a client's home or in the community.

Your working environment may be emotionally demanding.

Career path and progression

With experience, you may go on to lead a team, or manage a unit or department. You may also progress to teaching and training students, trainee doctors and other healthcare professionals.

With experience and entry on the General Medical Council (GMC) Specialist Register, you could apply for senior (or consultant) roles.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

We can't find any apprenticeship vacancies in England for a psychiatrist right now.

The Find an apprenticeship service can help you with your search, send alerts when new apprenticeships become available and has advice on how to apply.

Courses In England

Science - Access to HE

  • Provider: THE CITY OF LIVERPOOL COLLEGE
  • Start date: 22 September 2020
  • Location: LIVERPOOL

QAA ACCESS TO HE DIPLOMA (SCIENCE) (FL3)

  • Provider: HARTLEPOOL COLLEGE OF FURTHER EDUCATION
  • Start date: 30 September 2020
  • Location: HARTLEPOOL

Jobs In the United Kingdom

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