What Do Psychiatrists Do?
Psychiatrists are primary mental health physicians who assess, diagnose, and treat mental illnesses and emotional and substance abuse disorders through personal counseling (psychotherapy), psychoanalysis, hospitalization, and medication. Psychotherapy involves regular discussions with patients about their problems to help them find solutions through changes in their behavioral patterns, exploring their past experiences, or group and family therapy sessions.
Psychiatrists may work with people with chronic mental illness, such as schizophrenia or those seeking short-term treatment for specific problems such as phobias. As physicians, psychiatrists can order diagnostic tests and prescribe medication to help a patient through depression or mood disorders or correct chemical imbalances that cause some mental illnesses. Psychiatrists are uniquely qualified to assess both the physical and mental aspects of psychological symptoms. Psychiatrists may specialize in areas such as child, adolescent, forensic, or geriatric psychiatry.
Psychiatrists are medical doctors (ie, physicians) with special training in mental health. As such, they are sometimes grouped with physicians and surgeons by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). For more information, go to: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/physicians-and-surgeons.htm.
Where Do Psychiatrists Work?
Psychiatrists often work in private practices; many work community mental health centers, psychiatric hospitals, and government agencies, too. Psychiatrists often divide their time between a private practice and clinic or hospital work. Psychiatrists are often part of an interdisciplinary treatment team that may include registered nurses, social workers, and psychologists.
In addition to clinical work, psychiatrists often choose to be involved in research, teaching, and administration.
What Do Psychiatrists Earn?
In 2022, the average annual income reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for psychiatrists in the United States was $247,350. The New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) reports that, in 2023, psychiatrists in New York earned a median annual salary of $217,230 (psychiatrists in the 25th percentile made approximately $81,809 while those in the 75th percentile made approximately $281,399).
Self-employed psychiatrists, as is true with many physicians in general, usually have higher median incomes than salaried psychiatrists. Earnings vary according to number of years in practice, geographic region, hours worked, skills, and professional reputation.
Supply and Demand
The New York State Department of Labor projects that the number of jobs for psychiatrists in the state will increase by 22% between 2020 and 2030.
Research indicates that demand for psychiatrists is strong and the need for more psychiatrists will continue to grow. However, concerns persist about a shortage of psychiatrists. The shortage is due to fewer medical school graduates choosing careers in psychiatry and the fact that psychiatrists as a group are older than their counterparts in almost every other field of medicine. More than half of all psychiatrists are age 55 or older and many are at or are nearing retirement age.
While the supply of psychiatrists is decreasing, the U.S. population is aging and is also facing a wide array of challenges, both of which are driving demand for mental health services higher. As of June 2014, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) designates about 4,000 Mental Health, Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) nationwide. This number is likely to grow if steps are not taken to address the shortage of actively practicing psychiatrists. Data presented recently by the American Psychiatric Association concluded that these trends in the psychiatric workforce are already leading to access problems.
In the long term, the principal influences on demand for psychiatrists include legislation on mental health parity with insurance coverage of physical health conditions, and growth in programs’ use and availability, such as Employee Assistance Programs (EAP).
For more information on projections of psychiatrists by New York labor regions, click here.
Educational Program Requirements
Like other physicians, psychiatrists must complete a pre-medicine undergraduate college education program and then attend four years of medical school. After medical school, psychiatrists must complete a four-year residency program that emphasizes the biologic, psychologic, and social components of mental illnesses. Psychiatry residents are trained in psychiatry, general medical care, neurology, and emergency care. Up to two years of additional training are required for psychiatrists who specialize in areas such as child and adolescent psychiatry.
New York Licensure Requirements
To be licensed in New York, a psychiatrist, like all other physicians, must be a graduate of an accredited medical school, complete an accredited residency program in psychiatry, and pass specific medical licensing examinations. For more information on New York licensure requirements, go to: https://www.op.nysed.gov/professions/psychoanalysts/license-requirements
While board certification is not required for licensure in New York, most psychiatrists are certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. Certification includes written and oral tests that evaluate both the knowledge and experience of a psychiatrist. For more information on board certification, go to: http://www.abpn.com.
The American Psychiatric Association has information about and opportunities for fellowships, awards, and scholarships for psychiatry students and residents. Go to: http://www.psychiatry.org/medical-students or http://www.psychiatry.org/residents.
The federal government provides National Health Service Corps scholarships and loan repayment to physicians in exchange for a service commitment in an health professional shortage area (HPSA). It also offers loans for disadvantaged students and health professions student loans based on need. For more information, go to: http://www.hrsa.gov/loanscholarships/school-based-loans.html.
Psychiatry Residency Programs in New York (subject to change)
|Albany Medical College
Department of Psychiatry
2 Clara Barton Dr
Albany, NY 12208
|Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
(Beth Israel) Medical Center
First Avenue at 16th Street
Fierman Hall 9th floor
New York, NY 10003
|Icahn School of Medicine at
Mount Sinai St Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital
1090 Amsterdam Ave.
New York, NY 10025
|Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine
The Zucker Hillside Hospital
75-59 263rd Street
Glen Oaks, NY 11004
|Montefiore Medical Center
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
111 E 210th Street
New York, NY 10467
|Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center
One Brookdale Plaza
Brooklyn, NY 11212
|Creedmoor Psychiatric Center
New York State Office of Mental Health
79-25 Winchester Boulevard
Queens Village, NY 11427
|Columbia University Medical Center
New York State Psychiatric Institute
1051 Riverside Drive
New York, NY 10032
|Jamaica Hospital Medical Center
8900 Van Wyck Expressway
Jamaica, NY 11418
(Nassau Health Care Corporation)
2201 Hempstead Turnpike
East Meadow, NY 11554
|Icahn School of Medicine at Elmhurst Hospital Center
Elmhurst, NY 11373
|Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
One Gustave L. Levy Place
New York, NY 10029
|Maimonides Medical Center
4802 Tenth Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11219
|St. John’s Episcopal Hospital
327 Beach 19th Street
Far Rockaway, NY 11691
|New York Medical College
Saint Joseph’s Medical Center
127 South Broadway
Yonkers, NY 10701
|Staten Island University Hospital
475 Seaview Avenue
Staten Island, NY 10305
|New York University
Grossman School of Medicine
550 First Avenue
New York, NY 10016
|University at Buffalo-SUNY
Erie County Medical Center
462 Grider Street
Buffalo, NY 14215
|Stony Brook University -SUNY
Renaissance School of Medicine
101 Nicolls Rd -HSC
Stony Brook, NY 11794
|SUNY Downstate Medical Center
Department of Psychiatry
450 Clarkson Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11203
|Upstate Medical University
State University of New York
750 East Adams Street
Syracuse, NY 13210
|University of Rochester Medical Center
300 Crittenden Boulevard
Rochester, NY 14642
|Richmond University Medical Center
355 Bard Avenue
Staten Island, NY 10310
Additional Web Links
For more information on psychiatrists go to:
American Psychiatric Association: http://www.psych.org
American Academy of Clinical Psychiatrists: http://www.aacp.com
American College of Psychiatrists: http://www.acpsych.org
To learn more about psychiatrists, watch this video.