How to Become a Juvenile Psychiatrist

Psychiatry is a broad category that has many sub categories within it. One of these many categories is that of a juvenile psychiatrist which is also known as a child psychiatrist or a child and adolescent psychiatrist. A juvenile psychiatrist is a qualified physician who specializes in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of psychological issues and disorders in children.

The scope of a juvenile psychiatrist may extend to children of varying age groups and their family members as well. Infants, children and adolescents may go through a number of psychological disorders that can be classified as psychotic disorders, mood disorders, developmental disorders, and so on.

If you enjoy working with children of different age groups and addressing their mental and psychological issues as they develop, then you will find satisfaction and return in becoming a juvenile psychiatrist.

Work Environment

As a juvenile psychiatrist, you will be working with a number of different children of varying age brackets. So if you enjoy working with children, you are in for a treat as you will be surrounded by them. The range of duties will include assessing, counseling, treating and interviewing children and their families.

You may work in a number of different settings as a child psychiatrist where you can interact with children. You may work in schools where you can diagnose and provide counseling to children. In hospitals, you may wok in the psychiatry department where you can provide assessment and treatment plans to children who may be admitted. In the research field you may work in universities or independent research centers where you can conduct research pertaining to juvenile psychiatry.



It is recommended that candidates go through medical schooling at the undergraduate level during which they must specialize in child psychiatry. It is recommended by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry that a residency in psychiatry with a focus on child psychiatry must be completed by students. A residency in child psychiatry will cover many of the vital elements needed for you to get familiar with the niche.


During the residency, you may get the opportunity to work with senior physicians and sit-in on a few cases. This is vital experience which will help you relate theoretical knowledge with practical exposure. Experience can also be earned by way of internships – you may get the opportunity to work alongside a senior psychiatrist.

Licensing and/or Certification

Certification for child psychiatry is offered by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, Inc., ( – visit the website to learn about examination schedules and course content. Certification gives employers and patients proof of your competence and skills. Certification is received after successfully clearing an exam.

Necessary skills and Qualities

Perhaps the greatest quality juvenile psychiatrists must possess is that they must enjoy working with children of all age groups. This is because the primary patients are going to be children and hence juvenile psychiatrists will have the greatest interaction with them. Understanding children, being receptive to their needs and most of all, being patient with them are all extremely important skills that juvenile psychiatrists must possess.

Opportunities for Advancement

Juvenile psychiatrists have many opportunities for growth and expansion. This is a field that is largely influenced by research and experience. As your level of experience grows, your chances of expansion may increase. Growth can be in the form of promotions, leading cases and becoming in charge of departments. At the education and research level, the more you are involved in academic research and successful medical discovery, the strong your case may be for advancement.


In general, psychiatrists can earn a fairly decent income. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in May 2010 the average annual salary for psychiatrists was $177,520 ( According to another source, child psychologists can earn an average yearly income of $142,000 ( On a broader level, a child psychologist in the United States can earn between $40,793 and $142,980 on an average yearly basis ( Earnings are largely dependent on the level of experience possessed and the number and type of cases worked upon.

Job Outlook

In the year 2000, the U.S Bureau of Health Professions ( forecasted that there may be a need for 12,624 child and adolescent psychiatrists by the year 2020 with a weak supply of only 8,312. Children are exposed to multiple sources of mass media which can also have an impact on their upbringing. Furthermore, preventative healthcare has given a reason for parents to be concerned about their child’s mental development and would therefore frequent a child psychiatrist.

Given these statistics and reasons, the job outlook for juvenile psychiatrists looks quite favorable.

Further Reading

  1. Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education
  2. American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
  3. Institute for Juvenile Research
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