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What Are the Pros and Cons of Choosing a Psychiatry Major?

Nicole Madison
Updated Feb 12, 2024
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The pros and cons of a psychiatry major may vary depending on the person who is considering it. For many people, however, the major pro of a psychiatry major is the chance to study a subject that interests them. Some people might also consider the chance to become a doctor and prescribe medicine in addition to providing counseling among the pros. The fact that residency training provides a salary can be seen as a positive as well. Cons often include the lack of a psychiatry bachelor’s degree and the length of time it usually takes to become a psychiatrist.

When people consider the pros of a psychiatry major, they may focus on the fact that this major leads to a degree in medicine. Since aspiring psychiatrists study the same things as other doctors-to-be in medical school, they have the ability to prescribe medicine in addition to providing counseling services and other non-medical mental health treatments. This differs a good deal from individuals who become psychologists, as they are not typically licensed to prescribe medicine.

Some people may also consider the residency training in which an aspiring psychiatrist must participate a pro. Residency training usually lasts for three or four years and prepares an aspiring psychiatrist for practice on his own. The training, however, includes pay for the aspiring psychiatrist. For some, this is a major perk, as it means they can have money to pay bills and support themselves even as they are still preparing for psychiatry careers.

One of the potential cons of a psychiatry major is the amount of time a person has to spend studying if he wants to become a psychiatrist. Unlike some jobs a person may secure after earning a bachelor’s degree, this career usually requires a person to spend four years in college and another four in medical school. Even after completing so many years of education, he will usually need additional preparation in the form of residency training. For an individual who would prefer to get started in his career after spending a few years in college, this lengthy education can represent a disadvantage.

Also among the cons of this major is the fact that a person cannot earn a bachelor’s degree in it. While a person can earn an undergraduate psychology degree and possibly obtain a job based on it, the same option does not usually exist for a person interested in majoring in psychiatry. Instead, such a person will usually have to choose a different major in college and then go on to study psychiatry in medical school and during his residency. Often, people interested in becoming psychiatrists study in a science field or opt to major in pre-medicine, but this isn’t always a requirement.

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.
Nicole Madison
By Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a WiseGeek writer, where she focuses on topics like homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. Her passion for knowledge is evident in the well-researched and informative articles she authors. As a mother of four, Nicole balances work with quality family time activities such as reading, camping, and beach trips.
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Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a WiseGeek writer, where she focuses on topics like...
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