Essay by polkhighHigh School, 11th gradeA+, November 2004

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Psychiatrists are medical doctors who treat patients with mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders. Psychiatrists are licensed physicians skilled in medicine, psychology, sociology, and anthropology. Their knowledge in these fields enables them to diagnose and treat mental illnesses, many of which have psychological, social, or physical causes. Their medical training differentiates them from psychologist, who cannot prescribe medications or diagnose physical illnesses, though they may see many of the same types of patients.

Many psychiatrists have a private practice. Others work in hospitals, community mental health centers, and prisons. Like other physicians, psychiatrists may experience stress when they work with ill and emotionally troubled people. Psychiatrists usually set their own hours. They may work evenings or weekends to care for people unable to see them at other times. Those who do not own their own private practice may work a regular schedule at hospitals or as teachers. The shortage of psychiatrists and the increasing demand for their services mean that many psychiatrists are overworked.

The earnings of psychiatrists vary with the kind of practice, their experience, and their place of practice. Their salaries range from 154,000 to 258,000 a year. All of that money does not come without a lot of educational training. The long, difficult, and costly education required becoming a physician and then a qualified psychiatrist takes twelve to fourteen years to complete. Students spend four years in an undergraduate program, four years in a residency program that combines general medicine and psychiatry. The residency program must take place in a hospital approved by both the American Medical Association and the American Psychiatric Association.

To become licensed to practice medicine, students must complete and pass test given by the National Board of Medical Examiners. After medical school the new physicians begin a four-year residency. They spend the...