Job Outlook for Psychiatrists With Salaries by State

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated March 23, 2021 | Published February 15, 2021

Updated March 23, 2021

Published February 15, 2021

Psychiatrists are medical professionals who provide counseling and treatment to people in need of emotional and mental health care. They are high-skilled professionals who dedicate their careers to helping people navigate psychiatric and psychological conditions. Understanding the career outlook for psychiatrists can help you determine if the career is right for you. In this article, we explain the job outlook of a psychiatrist, describe different work environments for people in this field and list the average salaries for psychiatrists in each state.

What is the job outlook for a psychiatrist?

Psychiatrists are medical doctors who diagnose and treat patients. Currently, there are 27,900 psychiatrists practicing in the country today, and those numbers are expected to grow. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the overall demand for medical practitioners is expected to increase by 10% through 2029, and psychiatry specifically is estimated to grow 12%. Whereas the average projected job growth spanning all industries is 4%.

Related: Psychiatrist vs. Therapist: Differences and FAQ

What are the requirements for becoming a psychiatrist?

If you are considering the career path toward becoming a psychiatrist, then you'll need to think about the following five requirements:

  • Earning a bachelor's degree: The first educational requirement for becoming a psychiatrist is earning a four-year bachelor's degree. Most students study psychology, biology, neuroscience, behavioral sciences, sociology or chemistry.

  • Taking the MCAT: The MCAT is the common name for the Medical College Admissions Test. This exam measures people's abilities in chemistry, biology, psychology and social behavior. Scores range between 472 points and 528 points, and people are required to submit their results when applying to medical school.

  • Completing a medical degree: This type of degree program is a four-year experience that results in a medical degree (M.D.).

  • Completing a medical residency program: Following the completion of your medical degree, you need to participate in a medical residency. This is a paid hands-on learning experience that takes four years to complete. During this time students make rotations through various psychiatric settings including addiction psychiatry, emergency psychiatry and inpatient psychiatry.

  • Earning a state license: The final requirement for becoming a psychiatrist is to earn your state license. This process includes taking a state exam and submitting an application to the American Board of Psychology and Neurology.

Related: Psychiatrist Educational Requirements

What are the key skills needed for a career in psychiatry?

To be a good psychiatrist certain traits will come in handy if not be completely essential for your success. Here is a list of six core skills needed for working as a psychiatrist:

Compassion and empathy

A person's compassion and empathy reflect their ability to understand and care about other people's feelings. These skills are crucial in psychiatry because it helps patients feel connected and allows the psychiatrist to create more valuable treatment plans.

Active listening

Active listening is a skill involving focusing on a speaker and responding thoughtfully. This typically involves asking in-depth questions, maintaining eye contact and asking clarifying questions. Psychiatrists need to pay close attention to the things their clients say, and how they say them. Having strong active listening skills allows for deeper insight into the patient's condition or concern.

Related: Active Listening Skills: Definition and Examples

Boundary-setting

Psychiatrists need to be able to establish and maintain healthy boundaries with their patients. Their patients will likely share highly personal and sensitive information during sessions. For treatment plans to be ethical and effective, the relationship needs to be professional. It is also important that the emotional impact of client sessions does not affect the psychologist's personal life.

Critical thinking

Critical thinking is a person's ability to interpret and synthesize information. Psychiatrists need to interpret the information a person gives them regarding their personal life, daily routines and emotional concerns. They need to observe behavior and review professional notes to make an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Additionally, they need to think critically about the progress their patients make during treatment and alter implementation plans accordingly.

Organization

A person's organizational skills are their techniques for developing efficiency. This includes filing, color-coding, alphabetizing, categorizing and tidying. A psychiatrist manages many clients and care plans. To perform well, they must maintain organized notes, data and schedules if they are going to stay on top of creating and maintaining effective treatment plans and patient confidentiality.

Related: 14 Ways To Get Organized at Work

Communication

Communication refers to a person's ability to accurately express themselves through writing and speaking. Psychiatrists need to speak with patients in a way that makes them feel comfortable, and they must be able to clearly explain a clinical treatment plan in a way that people can understand. Additionally, a psychiatrist's written documents need to be clear and easy to interpret.

Where do psychiatrists work?

Psychiatry is actually a broad field with many niches and settings, so it is not a uniform field to gauge by any stretch. Here is a list of the different industries and physical locations where psychiatrists work:

Industry type

The first thing to consider when weighing out what work is like in psychiatry will be the specific patient focus. Here is a list of eight different industries or areas of specialty where psychiatrists may focus:

  • General psychiatry: General psychiatry is the broadest area within the industry. General psychiatrists treat all people in need of mental, behavioral or emotional care.

  • Pediatric psychiatry: This branch of psychiatry involves the diagnosis and treatment of mental, social or behavioral disorders in children and adolescents.

  • Addiction psychiatry: Addiction psychiatry is an area within the industry involving the specialized treatment of people who suffer from addiction and their family members or partners.

  • Military psychiatry: People who specialize in military psychiatry provide support and treatment for military service members, families of military service members and veterans.

  • Geriatric psychiatry: Geriatric psychiatry is a specialization in providing counseling and treatment to elderly patients.

  • Forensic psychiatry: This branch of psychiatry involves the criminal justice system. They examine criminal behavior, act as expert witnesses and make clinical evaluations.

  • Organizational psychiatry: This branch of psychiatry involves creating workspaces with emotional and mental health in mind. These people typically make evaluations, conduct employee interviews and give reports.

  • Neuropsychiatry: People who specialize in neuropsychiatry study and support people with mental health disorders or diseases that stem from neurological injuries or illnesses.

Related: What Is the Average Salary for Psychiatrists in Different Work Environments?

Physical setting

Beyond the niche concentration of the clientele being served, the physical location of where a psychiatrist holds their practice is another consideration. The experience of working within a medical group at a specific clinic will be different than an independent practice, for instance. Here is a list of nine different physical settings where psychiatrists regularly work:

  • Private practices

  • Group practice

  • Psychiatric clinics

  • General hospitals

  • Psychiatric hospitals

  • Research facilities

  • Nursing homes

  • Hospice facilities

  • Military bases or stations

  • Remote settings

What is the average salary for a psychiatrist in each state?

Psychiatrists have a lot of earning potential, though that will vary from state to state as indicated in the list of states below. For the most up-to-date salary information from Indeed, click on the salary link by each state where indicated:

  • Alabama: $192,111 per year

  • Alaska: $250,452 per year

  • Arizona: $234,871 per year

  • Arkansas: $245,086 per year

  • California: $345,817 per year

  • Colorado: $247,335 per year

  • Connecticut: $257,400 per year

  • Delaware: $155,449 per year

  • Florida: $152,827 per year

  • Georgia: $223,651 per year

  • Hawaii: $108,338 per year

  • Idaho: $243,584 per year

  • Illinois: $147,607 per year

  • Indiana: $231,860 per year

  • Iowa: $234,851 per year

  • Kansas: $222,812 per year

  • Kentucky: $202,228 per year

  • Louisiana: $222,915 per year

  • Maine: $256,514 per year

  • Maryland: $269,790 per year

  • Massachusetts: $228,704 per year

  • Michigan: $195,610 per year

  • Minnesota: $256,057 per year

  • Mississippi: $270,467 per year

  • Missouri: $182,403 per year

  • Montana: $185,601 per year

  • Nebraska: $134,597 per year

  • Nevada: $181,562 per year

  • New Hampshire: $491,893 per year

  • New Jersey: $267,806 per year

  • New Mexico: $192,965 per year

  • New York: $209,457 per year

  • North Carolina: $222,032 per year

  • North Dakota: $266,014 per year

  • Ohio: $236,974 per year

  • Oklahoma: $115,064 per year

  • Oregon: $174,756 per year

  • Pennsylvania: $238,241 per year

  • Rhode Island: $222,612 per year

  • South Carolina: $285,609 per year

  • South Dakota: $210,073 per year

  • Tennessee: $287,171 per year

  • Texas: $212,216 per year

  • Utah: $139,189 per year

  • Vermont: $144,809 per year

  • Virginia: $237,410 per year

  • Washington: $242,889 per year

  • West Virginia: $235,883 per year

  • Wisconsin: $249,181 per year

  • Wyoming: $140,891 per year

How does a psychiatrist's salary compare to similar careers?

Another good way to gauge your enthusiasm about a career in psychiatry is to make a comparison to the related fields. Here are five careers that have similar qualities with job descriptions and salaries, also with links to updated salary data on Indeed Salaries:

1. Mental health case manager

National average salary: $40,633 per year

Primary duties: Mental health case managers facilitate care in hospitals or psychiatric settings. They conduct preliminary meetings with patients to discuss their concerns and overall healthcare goals. Mental health case managers assist in the functions and operations of a mental health building or department by setting appointments and relaying patient information to psychiatrists and psychiatric nurses.

2. Guidance counselor

National average salary: $51,973 per year

Primary duties: Guidance counselors work in educational settings and assist school-aged children. They manage a caseload of students, observe behaviors, offer to counsel and provide resources for the next steps in a child's personal and academic life. Guidance counselors help students develop socially, emotionally and personally.

3. Social worker

National average salary: $59,913 per year

Primary duties: Social workers support the emotional health and physical wellbeing of children, families and other vulnerable populations. They offer non-medical treatment and therapeutic counseling, and they advocate for their client families. Their regular duties include managing large caseloads, implementing care plans and conducting wellness and safety assessments.

4. Psychiatric nurse

National average salary: $71,640 per year

Primary duties: A psychiatric nurse provides emotional and mental health care for people with mental illness and other behavioral health conditions. They work with families and individuals to promote communication, coping skills and overall wellbeing. Psychiatric nurses regularly in work in hospitals, nursing homes, group homes and community centers.

5. Psychologist

National average salary: $104,961 per year

Primary duties: Psychologists provide non-medical therapeutic counseling for people who suffer from mental health and behavioral conditions. They work with individuals, partners and families to promote healthy communication, coping skills and behaviors. Psychologists make safety, wellness and mental health evaluations, and they create and implement patient care plans.

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