Salary Potential for a Psychiatrist

Page content

A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who cares for the psychological welfare of a human being and is qualified to prescribe medicine. How much money does a psychiatrist make? A psychiatrist can earn between $160,000 to $230,000, with an average income of 190,000 dollars per year, with or without bonuses. A psychiatrist will generally earn more than a family doctor or pediatrician but less than a specialist such as a orthopedist or dermatologist.

Varying Payment Scales

Hospitals, private practice, the military and workplaces have varying payment scales. A psychiatrist in private practice treating well-to-do clients can make much more than a tenured professor at a University. Some countries pay more than others. Different regions in the U.S. pay more than others. The average salary for a psychiatrist in New York City, NY is $190,000 but in Houston, TX the salary is $166,000. A psychiatrist can earn more with additional training which also qualifies him or her in general medicine. They can also practice in underserved areas which may have special programs that pay more..

Experience Counts

Experience is a major player in calculating salaries, and supply and demand plays a part. An experienced psychiatrist can earn much more than a beginner just finishing residency. It also depends on whether the doctor is treating patients, conducting research or teaching and/or engages in outpatient, inpatient, or consulting practice. Psychiatrists are considered in short supply. A high demand in the workplace may be driving salaries up. Employers are placing higher value on employees’ well-being as it relates to higher productivity and less absenteeism.

Training Matters

Salaries for psychiatrists depend on the training he or she elects to undergo. After medical school a psychiatrist must complete post-doctoral fellowship, residency, and/or research training. Fellowships and Residency is practicing medicine under supervision of licensed physicians. Fellowships and residency can last up to 4 years with additional training programs available in general medicine and research. Psychiatrists are generally required to undergo mental therapy themselves which can be a long and intense process. Additionally, psychiatrists can become board certified which means passing more examinations and undergoing more supervision and licensing requirements.

Sub Specialties

The sub specialties in psychiatry affect the compensation rate. How much money does a psychiatrist make. Again, the law of supply and demand comes into play. Some sub specialties are more in demand than others. Psychiatrists can become experts in bipolar disorder, obesity, eating disorders, impulse control disorders, pediatrics, emergency, forensics, and pharmacology to name a few. Specialties may increase or decrease in value over time. For instance, a geriatric specialty might become more valuable as the Baby Boomer generation ages. Obesity specialty is now in demand and will most likely continue to be in demand. Psychopharmacology, expertise in drugs related to mental status, will see steady or increased demand.


Merritt Hawkins and Associates, 2007 Annual Salary Survey

MD Salaries,Psychiatric Salaries in USA