Child Psychiatry Careers & Education
What it Takes to be a Child Psychiatrist
Working in the field of child psychiatry, practitioners and advocates apply a developmental perspective to the traditional field of mental health. Some licensed psychiatrists, after completing training in general psychiatry, sub-specialize in adolescent and child mental health. Child psychiatrists can choose to focus on a particular age group, such as infants or teenagers, a particular diagnosis, or a specific mode of treatment. Training to become a child psychiatrist requires a Bachelor's degree, plus four years of formal medical training followed by four years of residency.
Working as a Child Psychiatrist
Child psychiatrists may work in private practice or they can choose to work for larger institutions such as hospitals or schools. Some licensed psychiatrists continue to work as researchers or academics after medical school, studying novel treatment methods or individual cases to obtain new insights into psychiatric disorders. There are currently only 6,500 practicing child psychiatrists in the United States, although the US Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected a need of more than 12,000 by the year 2020.
Advocates for Adolescent Mental Health
Not all workers in the field of child psychiatry are licensed medical practitioners. Many social workers and mental health advocates work closely with children to manage their psychiatric cases. These positions require training in public policy, social work, or psychology- usually at least a Bachelor's degree. In many cases, child social workers are as effective in helping children with mental health issues, by dealing with the domestic situations that are at the root of the problem.
The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry: Choosing Child and Adolescent Psychiatry as a Career