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What subjects are concretely necessery to become a psychiatrist?

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August 06, 2007 1:43AM


It's not easy to become a real-life Dr. Frasier Crane. At a minimum, you have to complete four years of college, then four years of medical school and, finally, four years of psychiatry residence training. After all that hard work, you'll have to put up with being called a "shrink." Difficulty: Challenging 1 == Take lots of science courses in high school to best prepare yourself for a college premedical program. Include physics, chemistry and biology.2 == Visit the Medical Schools Web page ( for a list of U.S. and Canadian medical schools. Contact your top choices about the college premedical courses that you'll need for admission.3 == Peruse the Princeton Review Web site ( for a listing of colleges and their programs. Send for catalogs and applications. Be certain that the colleges to which you apply offer all the prerequisite premedical courses.4 == Maintain a high grade point average, especially in your science courses. The competition for medical school is intense.5 == Take the Medical Admission Test (MCAT) at the end of your junior year in college. Ask your adviser how to best handle the paperwork involved in medical school applications.6 == Complete four years of medical school, pass your medical boards, and you will have your Medical Doctor (M.D.) degree and, most likely, an enormous loan to repay.7 == Begin your four-year residency in psychiatry, which is actually on-the-job training for which you will receive a salary. Depending on the state in which you work as a resident, you will take your medical licensing examination sometime during this period.8 == Consider continuing your training to receiving board certification in a subspecialty such as forensic psychiatry, child psychiatry or geriatric psychiatry. * Be careful not to confuse a psychiatrist with a psychologist. A psychiatrist is a medical doctor (M.D.) who writes out prescriptions and decides whether physical and mental disorders are from physical or psychological origins. A psychologist, however, is a doctor of philosophy (Ph.D) or a doctor of psychology (Psy.D). Those are not medical degrees, and a psychologist cannot prescribe medicine.