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How Do I Get a Psychiatry Certification?

Laura M. Sands
Updated May 17, 2024
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In order to obtain a psychiatry certification, you will need to complete formal psychiatry training as well as earn a formal license that will allow you to legally practice psychiatry in your area. You may also be asked to define a particular medical specialty prior to engaging in the actual certification process. Precise requirements for psychiatry certification often vary depending on where a person lives and intends to ultimately practice, but in most cases you will be required to undergo additional training and successfully pass an examination process before earning certification.

As mental health practitioners, psychiatrists treat a variety of mental disorders with the use of psychotherapy, psychiatric medications and other treatment models. Prior to offering psychiatric treatment, however, professionals in places like the United States and Canada are required to complete a medical degree and earn a license to practice psychiatry. In some areas, additional certification is optional, but in other places psychiatry certification is mandatory before a person can begin practicing this career. Once you’ve earned certification in one country, another country may accept your certification if you ever relocate, but this is not a guarantee.

Prior to earning a psychiatry certification, most professional organizations will require you to clearly define which branch of psychiatry you will specialize in. Examples include geriatric psychiatry or adolescent psychiatry. After identifying a specialty, you will likely be required to participate in additional study of that specialty before being able to obtain certification. The length of time required to complete the additional training may be up to five years in some areas. Contacting the appropriate certification agency in your area will give you better insight into what is required and the approximate amount of time it will take you.

Once you have successfully completed training in your selected specialty, you will likely be required to pass an examination before receiving psychiatry certification. Examination lengths and the contents of each exam differs according to where you live and which agency you are certifying with. In some instances, examinations include written portions as well as verbal assessments. As well, you must agree to uphold the standards and ethics set forth by the certifying organization. After becoming certified, you may also be required to undergo a renewal process at certain intervals in your career in order to maintain psychiatry certification.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Laura M. Sands
By Laura M. Sands
Laura Sands, the founder of a publishing company, brings her passion for writing and her expertise in digital publishing to her work. With a background in social sciences and extensive online work experience, she crafts compelling copy and content across various platforms. Her ability to understand and connect with target audiences makes her a skilled contributor to any content creation team.
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Laura M. Sands
Laura M. Sands
Laura Sands, the founder of a publishing company, brings her passion for writing and her expertise in digital publishing...
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