Choosing a career as a Psychologist or Psychiatrist

By Editorial

Though psychologists and psychiatrists seem like similar professionals, their working fields are quite different from each other. Both the psychologists and the psychiatrists work with people having the mental disorder to resolve their mental, emotional, and behavioral issues but their approach methodology and practice are of different ways. Moreover, psychiatrists are treated as certified doctors with valid medical degrees who have the license to treat the patients with medicines, and on the other hand, the psychologists are the holders of doctorate or masters’ degrees from non-medical institutions.



Read more: 5 Thing To Know About A Career In Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing

Psychology is the study that deals with the human mind and behavior.They generally work closely with patients to identify and process personal issues along with developing a healthy diagnosis of emotional problems. However, Psychology is the scientific study of human behavior and mental condition, and the persons who practice Psychology are known as Psychologists. They are experts in human behavior.

Psychiatry is a branch of medical science that deals with the treatment of various mental illnesses, any abnormal behavior, or any emotional disturbances.Psychiatrists research the patient's biological, neurological, and biochemical abnormalities to diagnosemental illnesses. They can prescribe medications to treat the same.So basically Psychiatrists focus on identifying the medicinal or pharmacologic treatments to combat the mental illness or abnormal behaviors.

The working agenda:-


Psychologists work to find out the root of the disorder through different ways like laboratory experiments, interacting with people, and observing a client's behavior in a certain situation. Psychologists can be specialized in various fields of their choice.

Areas of Specialization

  • Clinical psychology
  • Sports psychology
  • Forensic psychology
  • Criminal psychology
  • Business psychology

Courses and Eligibility

  • One can start his/her career by pursuing an undergraduate course like B. A (H) in Psychology. To apply for this you need to have a valid HSC or equivalent certificate.
  • After successfully completing the bachelor's degree you can go for higher studies like masters or doctorate programs.

Average Salary of a Psychologist in India:

Psychologists generally earn concerning the hour of consultation which ranges from INR 300 an hour to INR 1000 an hour. As a beginner psychologist,you can earn between INR 1.7 LPA to INR 6.2LPA depending on your skill and experience.


A psychiatrist comes under the medical profession who is certified to treat different mental disorders of the patient. Since psychiatrists are certified doctors, they can prescribe medicine, tests to the patient.

The followings are the different fields of psychiatry:

  • Addiction psychiatry
  • Child and adolescent psychiatry
  • Consultation-liaison psychiatry
  • Adult Psychiatry
  • Cross-cultural psychiatry
  • Emergency psychiatry
  • Neurodevelopmental disabilities
  • Neuropsychiatry
  • Forensic psychiatry
  • Learning disability
  • Psychosomatic medicine

Courses and Eligibility

  • To pursue a career in psychiatry, you need to learn MBBS, and then you can get a seat in psychiatry.
  • You can also study super specialize in any of the above-mentioned fields.
  • Though there is no course offered at the undergraduate level, the subjects needed at the HSC level are Physics, Mathematics, Chemistry, and Biology.

Average Salary of a Psychiatrist in India:

A psychiatrist earns pretty well as compared to a psychologist. They earn just starting with an average salary of INR 7.8 LPA. If you gain some years of experience in the respective field you can get a boost in the salary structure.

Various Differences between a Psychologist and Psychiatrist:

Although both psychiatry and psychology deal with human behavior, each field works in different areas when it comes to the treatment and diagnosis of mental illness. On one hand, the career in psychology would be the best choice for someone who is fascinated by talking through a patient’s personal issues, on the other hand, a career in psychiatry would be the best suit someone who wants to lead a path towards the clinical side of treating mental issues. Psychiatrists must have an inclination toward the scientific and medical aspects of diagnosis and treatment in his career.

Working Skills    

Psychiatrists possess a strong background in medical science and human biology to treat disease but psychologists have stronger skills in communication and understanding the process through which the human brain works. The table below differentiates common skills of both professions.


Focus on treating emotional and mental breakdown Focus on medication for the treatment
Emphasize supporting people suffering from any trauma Have a basic foundation in medical science especial in medicine
Emphasizes identifying and using psychotherapy to diagnose problems  Focus on identifying and treating disorders medically
Can Work with both individuals and groups Work with individual patients


Must complete at least 2,000 clinical hours in a hospital as an intern Must have completed around 2,000 clinic hours during the residency period
Course work emphasizes human behavior development Coursework emphasizesmedicine and human biology to develop mental health
The work process includes the Examination and analysis of current research in the field Examination happens in labs in pathology and pharmacology
Must Complete a formal dissertation of a research project Can Conduct and present formal scholarship in the field

Psychiatry emphasizes the medicinal and pharmaceutical part the most where psychologists generally emphasize psychotherapy and human behavior. The table below outlines the basic requirements for each degree.

Patient Care:

Between Psychologists andpsychiatrists, psychiatrists have the ability to prescribe medications to treat a mental disorder as they undergo rigorous medical training. When psychiatrists treat patients, they generally manage dosages of medicine and monitoring the effect of the medicine on the patient.

Psychologists approach the patients in a holistic approach. They focus on the study of human behavior rather than the biological or medicinal aspects. They provide therapy to help patients while dealing with any difficult issues which are called “Talk Therapy”.

Requirements and Certifications:

  • There are many differences between psychologists and psychiatrists within their training process, certifications, and education. The interested one must possess a bachelor’s degree. One can also opt for psychology post-graduate programs that acquire students with bachelor’s degrees.
  • To get an admission into the career of psychiatrists, one must be admitted to medical school under the same specialization. After doing the graduating the interested candidate can continue to study for the next post-graduation.
  • Psychiatrists will be needing a medical degree and a license to practice. After the completion of a bachelor's, a psychiatry student can enter medical school to get their M.D. it will allow a residency period that will last around four years. Then they can practice as a physician under the supervision of any licensed psychiatrists at any hospital.
  • A psychology student enters a post-graduation university again, after earning a bachelor’s degree rather than medical school. Students can get their MS certification in psychology and then can opt for further higher studies like Psy.D. or Ph.D. There are some combined master’s and doctoral programs also exist to streamline and synchronize the process.
  • If the candidate satisfies all the compulsion of degree and licensure requirements set by the state board, then he/she may earn a proper license and start practicing psychology.


Read also: NIRF Ranking: Check the List of Top Medical Colleges


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