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Wellbeing

Psychiatrist

Psychiatrists are doctors who diagnose and treat patients with mental health problems.

Annual Salary

£24,907 to £87,754

Average UK salary in 2019 was £30,378
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

41 to 43 a week

You could work: evenings / weekends / bank holidays; on a rota

6%
Future employment

There will be 6% more Psychiatrist jobs in 2025.
In your local area

What's it all about?

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.

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
For more information

Requirements and restrictions

You'll need to:

More information

Further information

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

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.

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

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

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
  • the ability to read English
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
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