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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness

Psychiatric career paths

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Psychiatry Career Paths

Why choose psychiatry?

Psychiatry is one of the most varied, interesting and rewarding specialties in medicine. It is an excellent career choice for anyone interested in how the mind works and who enjoys working as part of a team. Find out more about this challenging and rewarding career.


Training pathways and case studies

In order to train in psychiatry, a medical degree is essential. Moreover, you need to have completed two years of foundation training (or equivalent). There may be an opportunity to undertake a four month psychiatry post as a foundation trainee. Following this, you can then enter specialist training. Visit this section for information on career timelines.


Subspecialties and case studies

There are a number of subspecialties within psychiatry. The main areas of specialisation are:


Follow the links for more information and some personal perspectives from people working in each area.


Your psychiatric attachment

As a medical student, you will undertake a psychiatry attachment as part of your training. Each medical school offers different lengths of attachments and there will be different opportunities available depending on your local services. In addition, you will be able to use your elective to gain additional experience in psychiatry, perhaps in another country. Many medical schools also offer special study modules in psychiatry.