Published on 16 May 2023

Psychiatrist Vs Psychologist: Know The Differences?

General Psychology Psychiatrist-Vs-Psychologist-Know-The-Differences
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Stress is a part of human life that can't be neglected, but sometimes, this stress impact on well-being. As per the 2018 data, around 970 million people have mental health problems or substance abuse disorders. People suffering from anxiousness want a ray of hope which can lighten their life with positivity. 

Most doctors suggest a psychiatrist or psychologist to treat mental health problems. People often get confused as to whom to consult. People think that both psychiatrists and psychologists are the same. Although these two work with their patients to improve their mental health, they have different roles. 

Many aspiring students are also interested in making their career in psychology. But they also get baffled while choosing between psychology and psychiatry. Know more about psychologists and psychiatrists further. 

What Is A Psychiatrist?

Mainly, psychiatry is a particular branch of medicine that concentrates on diagnosing and treating mental health disorders. Psychiatrists specialize in diagnosing, assessing, and treating mental health conditions. 

A psychiatrist can do many things, as same as a psychologist do. But they usually work with complex mental health cases affecting their patient's psychological and physical abilities. Some psychiatrists work directly with their patients, whereas others study the brain functioning of people with mental health disorders. If the treatment is insufficient for the patient, they can also prescribe medications.

What Is A Psychologist?

Psychologists are licensed mental health professionals who study human behavior and the mind, including the impact of environmental development and social interaction on what a person thinks, feels, and does. They may use their knowledge in different areas of psychology, such as counseling, clinical, educational, etc. 

Some psychologists concentrate on their Education in a specific field of psychology, such as treatment, behavioral therapy, personality development, etc. A psychologist uses different techniques and approaches to understand, diagnose and treat mental health conditions like depression, anxiety, etc. 

Psychologists can also provide different therapies, counseling, and other forms of treatment but cannot prescribe medications.  

Types: Psychiatrist Vs Psychologist

Now you know what a psychiatrist and psychologist are. Usually, both work to improve their patient's mental health, but each has its type. Let's understand the types of Psychiatrists and Psychologists.  


Different types of psychiatric work, according to the situation of their patients. Even if the treatment improves their patient's condition, they can prescribe medicine. The following are the types of psychiatrists. 

  • Addiction psychiatrist
  • Adolescent and Child Psychiatrist
  • Emergency psychiatrist
  • Geriatric Psychiatrist.
  • Organizational psychiatrist 
  • Neuropsychiatrist
  • Psychosomatic Psychiatrist

A psychiatrist can also conduct psychological tests to understand their patient's mind and needs. So they can treat them effectively.  


People might assume that only one type of psychologist can treat their mental issues similarly. Deep down, different types of psychologists work with other mental health conditions. The following are the common types of psychologists. 

  • Clinical psychologist 
  • Clinical neuropsychologist 
  • Community psychologists
  • Development psychologist 
  • Educational psychologist 
  • Forensic psychologists
  • Organizational psychologists

The above ones are not the completer list. If you want more details, kindly contact the professional. They will give more brief about it. It is important to note that every psychologist works differently according to the situation.

Frequently asked questions

According to some reports, the Psychiatrist position is the highest-paying job in psychology. As per PayScale, the average salary of a psychiatrist is $217,798.
The United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia are the best countries to study Psychology.
As everyone gets stressed due to various situations, the demand for clinical and counseling psychologists may increase to overcome their mental stress.

Difference Between Psychiatrist And Psychologist

There are significant differences between Psychiatrists and Psychologists according to their different areas, working, educational paths, etc. Psychiatrists are medical doctors, whereas psychologists have doctoral degrees, which makes them mental health professionals. Let's know more differences. 


The main difference between these fields is their way of treatment. It is known that both use different techniques to understand and improve mental health, but the way they solve their patient's issues are other. 

A psychiatrist may prescribe medications at the starting time of the session. Once the diagnosis is made, they create a treatment course plan for their patient to understand how the medicines work along with the treatment. They can also use psychotherapies like congnitive behavioral therapy.

Same as a psychiatrist, a Psychologist mainly applies different types of therapies to manage their patient's mental health and help them to cope with their life issues. They also conduct psychometric tests to understand their patient's mental state. So they can determine the right course of action.  


Psychiatrists are medical doctors who primarily work in healthcare fields such as mental health clinics, hospitals, etc. They work with those people with severe mental health problems. Psychiatrists can also specialize in mental health, including clinical neurophysiology, pain management, sleep medicine, addiction psychiatry, etc. 

Psychologists mainly study the human mind and behavior to understand patients' mental health. They can also take surveys and interviews to see how their patients respond and behave. Primarily they work in private or practitioner offices, academies, etc. Psychologists don't always work with mental disorders. 


A psychiatrist can legally prescribe medicine to the patient for disorders like bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, schizophrenia, etc. After completing their medical training, they also finish four years of residency training in mental health.     

A psychologist cannot prescribe medications to the patient. Instead, they take psychological tests to diagnose mental illnesses and treat them through therapy. In severe situations, the psychologist may hand over the patient to a psychiatrist if they feel that medications may effectively treat mental health. 

Do They Work Together?

Psychiatrists and psychologists may collaborate to give the best treatment to the patient. If a person is going through a challenging phase of life and recently attempted suicide. A psychiatrist will first prescribe a medicine to feel them normal. Once the patient changes the suicidal thoughts and starts being normal, they are ready for psychological treatment. Psychologists will start the therapy to help them manage their negative thoughts. That's how they work together. 

A psychiatrist may focus on prescribing medications for conditions like anxiety, depression, eating disorder, and trauma. On the other side, psychologists focus on psychotherapy to reduce negative beliefs. But when it comes to a severe case, they both join their hand toward the treatment. 

Choosing Between A Psychiatrist And A Psychologist

Choosing between psychology and psychiatry may become difficult for the patient as they think both treat mental health issues. Even many students get confused when choosing these fields as a career. Let's see psychiatry and psychology from both perspectives.

As A Career

Choosing psychiatry as a career can be a good and rewarding decision for students interested in the medical field of mental health if they are dedicated and can spend many years in psychiatry studies. Then definitely go for it. Even an average psychiatrist can earn as same as typical clinical psychologists.

Suppose you want to understand social and environmental effects on mental health and help others overcome stress. The psychology field is a suitable career option for you. Even as per some studies, overall employment of psychologists is likely to grow 8 percent from 2020 to 2030.   

As A Patient

If you have severe mental health conditions such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, it is advisable to appoint a psychiatrist. They can also prescribe medicine according to your situation along with the treatment. 

Suppose you are facing mental stress and want to treat it without medication. Then consulting a psychologist will be a great decision. They usually counsel or conduct talk therapy in which they can understand your mental state. They study your mind and help you to know how your thoughts and emotions impact your behavior. 

Deep down, psychiatrists and psychologists should be chosen per the patient's mental condition and needs. It is helpful for them to get advice from a mental health professional. So they can know which field is suitable for them. 

How to Become A Psychiatrists Or Psychologist?

Many aspiring students are eagerly interested in becoming a psychiatrist or psychologists. But most of them do not get proper guidance. Both fields require time. So you can invest it to become a licensed mental health professional or doctor.   


A psychiatrist should attend medical school and get proper and specialized training in treating people with mental health disorders. Although there is no need for an undergraduate degree program for psychiatrists, most students choose a pre-medicine schedule. This pre-medicine undergraduate program concentrates on anatomy and physiology, ethics, organic chemistry, and psychology.

After completing the undergraduate degree, you should get a passing score on the Medical College Admission Test(MCAT) to get entry into medical school. During the four years of medical school, you will learn coursework in pathology, microbiology, etc. 

Once your medical school is over, you must do four years in a hospital to gain experience assessing, diagnosing, and treating patients. After completing a residency program, obtain a license to practice psychiatry in your state or country. 


To be a psychologist, you should start with a four-year undergraduate psychology degree. As mentioned earlier, there are many types of psychology that you can study, such as:

  • Addiction degrees 
  • Child and adolescent degrees 
  • Forensic psychology degrees
  • Mental health degrees
  • Social psychology degrees.

After completing this degree, completing a master's degree in psychology is the next step in the field. In many states, a master's degree is sufficient to get a license as a mental health professional. 

In some states, you need a doctoral degree, like a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) or Doctor of Psychology(PsyD), to become a licensed psychologist. Once you have completed the degree, you need to complete an internship. This will take one to two years to gain experience as a psychologist. Once the training ends, try to get a license to practice psychology in your state or country.  

Career Opportunities: Psychiatrist Vs Psychologist

Psychology is a vast field that creates new opportunities in terms of employment. Both areas, psychiatry, and psychology, provide various options where youngsters earn money and develop themselves as responsible.

Having a career in psychiatry can open various doors of opportunities for professional roles. Being a medical doctor, they usually work in hospitals and other medical institutions. They also work in government, judicial systems, and private practices. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, psychiatrists earn a salary range of $249,760 in 2021. 

A psychologist can do a variety of jobs related to the psychology field. They mostly prefer to work with patients directly. There are many job opportunities for psychologists in many industries, including public health, research analysis, social workers, counselors, teachers, human resource managers, etc. As per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a psychologist earned $81,040 in 2021. 

Bottom Line From Practical Anxiety Solutions

Most people assume that psychiatrists and psychologists work similarly as their professionals are related to mental health. But there are some differences in their profession. A psychiatrist can prescribe medicine to patients, but a psychologist cannot. 

In some severe cases, psychiatrists and psychologists can work together to give better treatment to an individual. If you choose these fields as a career, first get professional guidance regarding studies, job opportunities, etc. 

As a patient, you should first understand your needs and current conditions. It is better to talk about your situation with a doctor to know which option is better.