In this career guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about psychiatric as a career, from roles and responsibilities, to work environment and roadmap to becoming a Psychiatrist.

Who's a Psychiatrist?

Would you like to help do away with the stigma surrounding mental health? Would you like to help people suffering from mental health issues? Are you interested in understanding how the human mind works? If so, consider a career in psychiatry!
Psychiatrists are medical experts in mental health. They diagnose and treat people with mental illness. They study physical and mental health, and how they affect each other. As a psychiatrist, you will help people with mental health conditions such as schizophrenia, depression, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, addiction, etc.
Are you passionate about psychiatry? Want to pursue it as a future career option? Explore a day in the life of a Psychiatrist- Dr. Sujay Prabhugaonkar

What will you do?

Assessing patients.

Your day would be full of individual patient appointments. You must perform a psychiatric evaluation and an assessment, this would involve talking about the patient’s reason for seeking help. You will then provide a diagnosis and recommend a course of treatment.

Example: If a patient has come to you because they are facing insomnia – the inability to sleep. You will try to understand why and accordingly help them.

Conducting patient rounds.

If you are employed in a treatment centre or hospital, you will visit your in-house patients. This would involve going through the cases, discussing them with interns or residents, checking up on each patient to see if any changes to medications or treatments are needed, and keeping up-to-date with any off-duty admissions and issues.

Example: If you notice any improvements in your in-house patients, you would look at reducing their medication, or giving them a discharge.

Providing treatment.

Treating patients will be a large part of your day, and involves far more than prescribing medication. You can offer specific forms of treatment or a wide array of treatment such as different forms of psychotherapy.

Example: If your patient is diagnosed with depression, you could prescribe them with a medication that increases the levels of dopamine.

Performing administrative tasks.

You will be involved with a variety of additional duties, depending on your area of practice.

Example: There may be administrative duties such as writing case notes or discussing billing issues with office staff, or other types of duties such as doing research, writing academic papers or journal articles, teaching in universities and medical schools, or even acting as expert witnesses in court cases.

Take the Mentoria career assessment test, to find out how well-suited you are as a Psychiatrist.

Where will you work?


You could work at a private/public hospital as a resident psychiatrist. Here you would meet patients on a daily basis and conduct regular checkups on patients who have been admitted under your care.   

Treatment Centres

Depending on your specialisation, you would work at treatment centres where you could treat patients suffering from addiction, eating disorders, etc. 


You could also set up your own clinic or join a private clinic where you could have patients coming to see you. You would have more control over your hours here.

How do you get there?

This stream won’t help you make an entry into this field.

This stream won’t help you make an entry into this field.

STEP 1: Class XI-XII/Junior College

Opt for science as you will need to have studied subjects such as biology, chemistry, etc., to qualify for medical entrance exams.

STEP 2: Entrance Exam

After your junior college, you will have to pursue an MBBS degree, as it’s the basic qualification required for pursuing a career in psychiatry. To pursue MBBS in India, you will have to pass entrance exams such as NEET – common medical exam, or private college exams like AIIMS MBBS, JIPMBER MBBS and others depending on the college from where you want to pursue your degree. You will need at least 60% in your Class 12 exams.

STEP 3: Graduation

MBBS is typically a five-and-a-half-year course including four and a half years of academic education and one year of mandatory internship. Top colleges from where you can pursue MBBS in India are Grant Medical College, Kasturba Medical College, Maulana Azad Medical College and others.

STEP 4: Post-graduation

To become a psychiatrist, you will have to pursue a Doctorate of Medicine (MD, a three-year course that will help you study medicine in detail. If not an MD course, opt for a diploma in psychiatry. Top colleges to pursue psychiatry in India are Kasturba Medical College, Indian Institute of Science, All India Institute of Medical Science, Christian Medical College and others.

STEP 5: Internship

Post your MD studies, you will have to participate in a residency course at a hospital or a clinic. The residency programme will last for four years and help you master the basics of the field and give you a thorough idea of how to handle cases.

STEP 6: Get licensed and certified

To practice psychiatry legally in India, you will have to obtain a license for which you will have to pass certain tests. Once you get your license, get certified.

Thinking of a career as a Psychiatrist? Take the Mentoria assessment test & talk to our career counsellors to get personalized step-by-step guidance for your future career path.

What skills would you need?

Analytical and Data Skills

Analytical and Data Skills

You will receive huge amounts of data from your client. This data will have to be analysed effectively so you can find ways that will help your client reach their customers is the best way possible. While it is true that the more data you analyse, the more insights you generate; analytical thinking will help you narrow down your search and find your key actionable items, thus saving you a lot of time and resources.

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Communication Skills

Communication Skills

Communication and interpersonal skills are very important while dealing with patients. You will have to guide certain people about a procedure or treatment. You may need to provide them with some serious information about their fertility and treatment progress. Hence these issues would need to be handled sensitively.

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Scientific Skills

Scientific Skills

A logical mind can reason well, and reasoning before reaching any conclusions is very important in any scientific field. You must, therefore, have a scientific bent of mind along with an interest in life sciences.

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Attention to Detail

Attention to Detail

Working with eggs and embryos is a very tedious task. Every little detail matters when you are observing them. If you are good at giving attention to detail, then your job at the laboratory will be made much easier.

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Social Skills

Social Skills

You will be working on a lot of cool projects and will be meeting a lot of potential clients and customers on the job. And so, a big part of your job will involve interacting with these people. You could be great at coming up with ideas, but that is only one part of your job. You will need to talk and meet people, build a rapport with them, to establish your credibility. Especially if you’re a freelancer, you will need to have certain social skills.

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Problem-solving Skills

Problem-solving Skills

Patients will be coming to you with different issues with fertility. You must be able to assess their problem, analyse the reason and work on coming up with a solution.

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How do you make it to the top ranks?

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You will have to complete your residency to get your medical license. For this, you can work at a clinic or a hospital under a senior psychiatrist to get some hands-on experience in the field and also learn from the experts.


Trainee Psychiatrist

As a trainee, you will choose your area of specialisation and work under a senior psychiatrist in that field. You will assist them in administrative tasks, conduct initial communication with patients, and learn the tricks of the trade from them.


Once you have gained enough experience in the field, it is time to build your reputation and rise above the ranks to become a senior psychiatrist. Once a senior, you can set up your own practice and hire a team of juniors to work for you.

Private Psychiatrist

As you build your experience in the field, you earn the title of a certified counsellor and work towards the improvement of your patients’ lives and mental well-being. You can set up your own practice and limit the number of patients you handle at a time.

Pursuing your career locally VS abroad

With the growing awareness about mental health, jobs in psychiatry are on a rise. From government and private hospitals to rehab centres and other health institutes, psychiatrists are in high demand. Counsellors are also required in social, corporate and academic organisations. To pursue a course in psychiatry, you need an MBBS degree from a reputed institute. After a four-and-a-half-year course followed by a one-year internship, you can either choose a three-year MD course or a two-year diploma in psychiatry. The cost of an MBBS degree can range from INR 1,00,000 to INR 10,00,000, while an MD can cost an additional INR 25,000 to INR 20,00,000, depending on your choice of institute. These courses will also give you some hands-on experience at a psychiatric facility. You can also apply for the Diploma of National Board Exam (DNB) conducted by The National Board of Examinations. This three-year post-graduation programme is considered to be equivalent to an MD degree and costs between INR 36,000 to INR 2,40,000. Top colleges to pursue psychiatry in India are AIIMS (Delhi), AFMC (Pune), CMC (Vellore), etc.

In order to pursue psychiatry abroad, you must first earn a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution before applying for medical school. The subjects in focus must include pre-medicine, physical sciences, or psychology – or a combination of all three. You must then apply for the MCAT examination, which will help you secure admission in a medical school. In your four to five years of medical training, you will be given a choice between the Doctor of Medicine (MD) and the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) programme. While they have similar methods of treatment, DO focuses more on osteopathic manipulative medicine. After graduation, you are put through three to eight years of supervised training with residency at a psychiatric facility. Here, you can hone your skills even further in order to acquire a licence for private practice and board certification. Some of the best countries to study this course include Austria, Italy, France, Australia, and Denmark. Pursuing psychiatry abroad could cost you anywhere between INR 20,00,000 to INR 40,00,000.

How much would you get paid?

The exact amount of your salary would depend on your skill set, experience, and the facility you're working for. However, we can give you a fair idea of how much you could make as a psychiatrist.

What are your career options?

Addiction Psychiatry

This branch of psychiatry involves dealing with patients who are subjected to substance abuse, primarily drugs and alcohol. Professionals in this field usually work with rehabilitation centres on a full-time or contractual basis. They treat patients individually or in groups and chart a step-by-step treatment plan for each patient, even involving their families at a stage of treatment. Addiction psychiatrists must ensure that the treatment is wholesome and does not trigger a relapse.

Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

As the title suggests, these psychiatrists mainly work with individuals up to the age of 18 and their families. They could either have a private practice or work with a social or academic organisation. These professionals usually address children individually, perform a diagnostic examination to understand their issues and their causes, and work with the patients and their families to find solutions or work around their illnesses to mitigate their adverse effects.

Geriatric Psychiatry

Unlike child and adolescent psychiatrists, geriatric professionals in this field deal with the emotional and psychological illnesses of the elderly. They are experts in the cases of dementia, anxiety, depression, and schizophrenia. These professionals listen and respond to the needs of their elderly patients by diagnosing, evaluating, testing and treating their disorders.

Psychosomatic Medicine

This is a complex branch of psychiatry also known as consultation-liaison psychiatry. These professionals diagnose a variety of psychological and emotional issues through complicated procedures and work on a comprehensive plan of treatment for the same. They meet patients for counselling sessions, chart out treatment plans, and prescribe medication for different stages of treatment.

Forensic Psychiatry

There is a special branch of psychiatry that deals with patients whose mental disorders have led to criminal activities. These professionals mainly work with individuals in prisons and psychiatric hospitals. Apart from the awareness about mental health problems, these psychiatrists also have an understanding of the law and help their patients get treatment and find solutions to their issues within the framework of the same. Some of these professionals might also solely focus on research of criminal behaviour.

Clinical Neurophysiology

Clinical Neurophysiology is a special branch of psychiatry that is linked to medicine as it studies the central and peripheral nervous systems. These professionals use computers or other electrical, magnetic or electronic devices to investigate and record the functions of organs like the brain, spinal cord, spinal roots, peripheral nerves and muscles. The conclusions they draw can be used to diagnose neurological disorders such as epilepsy.

Emergency Psychiatry

Professionals in emergency psychiatry are called upon during crisis situations. They generally work with hospitals and other health institutes and are usually available 24×7. These professionals deal with patients who either have attempted suicide or are at the risk of suicide due to severe cases of anxiety, depression, violence, psychosis or substance abuse. Some professionals even work with rehabilitation centres and are called upon on the occasion of a patient’s relapse.

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Think you know everything there is to know about this career?

Take the quiz to test your knowledge and find out how #CareerReady you are!



1. What does a psychiatrist do?

2. Which of these is NOT a responsibility of a psychiatrist?

3. Which of these environments is a psychiatrist NOT required to work in?

4. Which of these functional skills is an absolute must-have to be a good psychiatrist?

5. Which of these soft skills is NOT required to be a psychiatrist?

6. Which of these courses is a must for a degree in psychiatry?

7. Which of these entrance exams must aspiring psychiatrists appear for?

8. Which of the following is NOT a specialisation for psychiatry?

9. What does Geriatric Psychiatry involve?

10. What does a Trainee Psychiatrist do?


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