Becoming an Educational Psychiatrist

If you enjoy working in a one-on-one setting with children then perhaps you should consider becoming an educational psychiatrist. The main duties and responsibilities associated with this position includes studying a child’s emotional, social, and mental development.

You would be required to study their behavioral habits from their prenatal period all the way through their adolescence. Some of the major topics that are covered as an educational psychiatrist includes:

  • Language Development
  • Genetics
  • Cognitive Development
  • Social Growth
  • Sexual Development
  • Personality Development

An educational psychiatrist can work with a wide range of clients including teenagers, children, toddlers, and even infants. In certain cases, you’ll focus on a specific age group or sex while in other cases, you’ll work with an abundance of age groups. No matter who you work with, you will be expected to help children understand their behavioral, mental, or emotional issues.

Educational Requirements

While there are a few career-related opportunities in the educational psychiatry field that you can acquire with a master’s degree, it is recommended that you get a doctorate’s degree. There are programs that specifically focus on child psychology. However, you may end up choosing to acquire your PhD in either counseling psychology or clinical psychology. According to the APA (“American “Psychological Association”), about 75% of people with doctorate’s in psychology end up receiving their PhD.

And this is becoming increasingly popular considering all of the career opportunities that it opens up. After acquiring all necessary degrees, you will be required to complete a supervised internship that will last for approximately 2 years. You’ll also need to pass national tests as well as state tests. In order to work within a particular state, you’ll need to acquire a license there first. For this reason, make sure that you look into the acceptance details for acquiring a license for your specific state.

Duties and Responsibilities

So, what exactly does an educational psychiatrist do throughout a regular work day? Well, this will vary depending on where you are working as well as the therapeutic situations you are exploring.

Depending on the level of child psychology you are knowledgeable about, you may end up working with children with developmental disabilities or children who are “gifted”. Here are a few of the specific roles and duties that you will take on:

  • Diagnose and treat children or teenagers who are experiencing developmental or emotional disabilities.
  • Work with clients who are dealing with an array of mental disorders.
  • Administer psychological tests in order to determine the root cause of a patients mental problems.
  • Conduct scientific research on the childhood development of the patient.
  • Create a unique and effective treatment plan for your patient to alleviate their mental or behavioral disorders.

As an educational psychiatrist, you’ll work in a variety of settings including health clinics, hospitals, courts, and even schools. If you’re employed in a school then you’ll conduct assessments on students with learning disorders and counsel both them and their families.

You may shed some light as to the depth of their disability and offer a few potential solutions for making it better. Children with social disabilities are also common patients for educational psychiatrists. If you end up working in a court setting then you’ll come into contact with younger clients who have experience the criminal justice system.

You may help them prepare for court as well as keep them calm during child custody issues.  Finally, an educational psychiatrist may end up working in a private mental health office or a hospital. You may work directly with the client or with the client and their families. Helping them cope with their behavioral or mental illness will be your main duty.

Job Outlook

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, psychology as a whole is expected to be the fastest growing industry through 2018. Educational psychiatry is going to be in high demand, especially for those individuals who have acquired their doctorate’s degree of PhD. The increased awareness about child behavioral and mental disorders should also increase the demand for educational psychiatrists.


The annual earnings for an educational psychiatrist will depend heavily on where you are employed as well as your level of experience and educational background. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the average annual salary for an educational psychiatrist is about $65,000 per year. However, salaries can easily range from as low as $38,000 per year to over $150,000 per year. Working in private practices will almost always pay more than working in a public mental health facility.

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