How to Become a Child Psychiatrist

Child Psychiatrist Key Stats
Avg. Salary / year $167,520
Avg. Pay / hour $80.54
Education 4+ Years
Job Outlook 16%

A Child Psychiatrist is a Board approved and certified professional that provides mental evaluations, counseling and medical prescriptions to their child patients.

Some Child Psychiatrists can also provide their services to adult patients and spend their time treating both types of clients.

For those who want to solely become a Child Psychiatrist , their route resembles that of a general Psychiatrist.

They must fulfill educational, certification and a psychiatry residency requirement in order to practice in the field.

People who want to become a Child Psychiatrist can also choose from a couple of routes to work in their profession of choice.

These routes include finding opportunities in two sectors: Clinical and Consultation practices.

Clinical openings consist of providing inpatient or outpatient services in managed care facilities, residential homes or private or nonprofit practices.

While consultation opportunities can be found in schools, hospitals or courts.

In addition, Child Psychiatrists can become specialized in certain areas focusing on a certain age, such as infants or adolescents.

They can also specialize on only one diagnosis: depression, anxiety, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, eating disorders or Attention Deficit Disorder for example.

Education Requirements to Become a Child Psychiatrist

Those who are interested and want to become a Child Psychiatrist need to complete extensive educational and training requirements.

Potential Child Psychiatrists need to begin their career by completing a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology or similar track.

After completing a Bachelor’s program from an accredited institution, candidates need to complete medical school which includes learning general information about the body and how it works.

They also need to participate in and complete clinical rotations in a variety of areas including psychiatry.

A medical doctor degree typically takes about four years to complete and will prepare students to practice as Child Psychiatrists.

After completing a medical degree, future Child Psychiatrists need to complete a residency in Psychiatry.

Residencies provide the training and experience needed in order to diagnose and treat patients.

The first year of residency involves applying Psychiatric techniques in order to learn basic skills on how to treat patients.

Residents will apply their knowledge to assist in interviewing, diagnosing and treating patients under the guidance of a licensed professional.

Residents will have the opportunity to work with a variety of patients including children.

Candidates looking into a specialization within Psychiatry can join a fellowship program which typically lasts about two years.

A candidate will practice their specialty during the two years and perform research on it.

Finally, Child Psychiatrists need to be board certified and licensed in order to practice.

A candidate needs to take and pass one of the following exams:

  • Medical Licensing Examination
  • Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Exam

In order to get board certified, candidates can apply with the American Board of Medical Specialists.

Visit their website at: ABMS

Child Psychiatrist Job Description

Psychiatrists are licensed professionals that are qualified to provide mental evaluations, diagnostics and treatment as well as sign off on prescriptions.

Their daily duties revolve around providing care and treatment to their patients.

Child Psychiatrists have to also work with a patient’s parents and provide results and treatment options to them to help their child improve.

  • Use a combination of treatments: medication, psychoanalysis or psychotherapy
  • Schedule appointments in order to provide talk therapy
  • Explore a patient’s past in order to determine behavior patterns
  • Provide solutions and advice on how to change behavior patterns
  • Discuss diagnosis and improvements with a patient’s parents while still providing patient confidentiality

Child Psychiatrists have to be able to work well and have the stamina in order to work with children.

They can provide diagnoses ranging from depression, autism or Attention Deficit Disorder or a variety of other disorders.

Child Psychiatrist Salary and Career Path

Psychiatrists make some of the highest wages in the country.

The median salary for an experienced Psychiatrist is approximately $177,000 with some professionals earning upwards of $279,000 per year.

The job outlook for this profession looks strong with an expected growth of 14% until 2016.

Professionals entering the field can expect to start off making approximately $85,000 per year and earn more as they build their expertise and client portfolio.

BLSThe below information is based on the 2021 BLS national averages.

  • Annually
  • Monthly
  • Hourly

National Average Salary


Average Salary by State

StateAvg. Annual Salary
District of Columbia$149,570
New Hampshire$319,750
New Jersey$323,820
New Mexico$#
New York$197,730
North Carolina$224,080
Rhode Island$278,630
South Carolina$210,340
South Dakota$198,750
West Virginia$312,560

The top earning state in the field is Missouri, where the average salary is $324,840.

These are the top 5 earning states in the field:

Missouri - $324,840
Maine - $324,220
New Jersey - $323,820
New Hampshire - $319,750
Indiana - $319,550
* Salary information based on the May 2021 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Psychiatrists, OCC Code 29-1223, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a child psychiatrist?

Child psychiatrists are physicians specialized in treating behavioral and mental disorders in children and teenagers.

They may prescribe medication or behavioral therapy to treat their patients and to reduce negative behaviors.

Child psychiatrists help manage and treat a variety of conditions, including autism, depression, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

If you want to become a child psychiatrist you will need knowledge of medicine and therapy.

Moreover, in order to be able to work with children and teenagers you will also need a special set of personal skills, including compassion, patience, communication, and analytical thinking.

Child psychiatrists may collaborate with other healthcare professionals but also with parents, teachers, police officials, or social service workers to provide the best treatment plan for their patients.

How much does a child psychiatrist make?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual wage for psychiatrists, in general, was $220,380 as of May 2018.

Salaries in this field vary based on a wide range of factors, including the region, the employer and the psychiatrist’s level of experience and education.

How much does it cost to become a child psychiatrist?

Like all physicians, child psychiatrists need a Doctor of Medicine or Doctor of Osteopathy degree and they must complete several years of residency.

Before enrolling at medical school you must first complete undergraduate coursework in chemistry, biology, physics, math, and English.

Four-year pre-med programs can cost you anywhere between $15,000-$60,000 and more, depending on the school you choose.

Costs for medical schools are in the range of $30,000 and more than $60,000.

Before enrolling at a medical school you will also have to take the Medical College Admission Test; the registration fee is $315.

What is the demand for child psychiatrists?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn’t record specific information about child psychiatrists but the demand for psychiatrists, in general, is expected to grow 16 percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations.

Child psychiatrists will continue to be needed in the future to help children and their parents manage behavioral and mental conditions such as depression, anxiety, autism, or eating disorders.

How long does it take to become a child psychiatrist?

Child psychiatrists need at least 11-12 years of post-secondary education and a state license.

If you want to become a child psychiatrist, the first step is to complete four years of undergraduate training.

Afterward, you have to also complete four years of medical or osteopathy school.

Medical school graduates must also complete at least 3 years of residency in a clinic or hospital.

After completing your residency you’re ready to apply to your state license and board certification; to get licensed you will need to pass the Medical Licensing Examination or the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination.

To become certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology you also have to pass an exam.

Jamie Willis
Career Specialist at BecomeopediaHi, my name is Jamie Willis, and I have been helping students find their perfect internships and education paths for the last ten years. It is a passion of mine, and there really is nothing better than seeing students of mine succeed with further studies.