If you are thinking of working in mental health, then you know there are a number of paths and positions to consider. There are many ways to help the communities around you, and you can start your search for the perfect mental health professional job here at Psych Jobs Now! In today’s article, we’re putting the spotlight on one of the most in-demand positions we see on our psychiatry job posting site: child psychiatrist. Read on to learn more, and create an account with Psych Jobs Now today to create job alerts and submit applications!

What Is a Child Psychiatrist?

A child psychiatrist, or oftentimes a child and adolescent psychiatrist, specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of children, adolescents, and their families. The focus is on kids who have issues with their processes of thinking, feeling, or behaving, and there are many disorders that can emerge in childhood that a child psychiatrist should be equipped to handle. Overall, it’s a unique position that allows you to work with many patients of all ages while giving your patients a strong foundation for a healthier adulthood.

What They Do

A child psychiatrist typically works with children or young adults to address problems they or their family have identified. The diagnosis process should take into account the many factors that affects a patient’s childhood or adolescence, including genetic, physical, developmental, emotional, educational, cognitive, and social elements. In most cases, the child psychiatrist will share the determined diagnosis with their patient as well as their family and work with them as a whole on a personalized treatment plan.

Child psychiatrists can focus on a specific age group they feel most comfortable with or most able to help, but that is not required for anyone in this position. Many child psychiatrists also have the ability and inclination to work with adults. After all, someone with training in child and adolescent psychiatry (CAP) is trained to help a patient throughout their life, and they have the capability to address any factors in a patient’s childhood that may be affecting their current situation.

There is a lot of flexibility to a child psychiatrist’s position. They can utilize pharmacology and cognitive-behavioral therapy as they so choose, alongside community action coordinated through schools, juvenile courts, and other social agencies. They can also focus on short-term or long-term work or in-patient or outpatient environments. One role they often take responsibility for regardless of their setting is that of advocate for their underage patients’ mental health and well-being.

Where They Practice

As a child psychiatrist, you would have the flexibility to work in a number of settings, including:

  • Private practices
  • Schools
  • Juvenile courts
  • Social agencies
  • Universities

A professional in this position can take on clinical care in solo or group settings, academic work, and/or consult with organizations where mental health is important if not the focus of their goal.

Who They Work With

A child psychiatrist’s main focus will be on their patients and – in many cases where the patient is underage – the patients’ families or guardian. There are also many connections to be made with those in mental health professional jobs and those outside of the industry, including:

  • Other physicians
  • School staff members
  • Staff and participants of juvenile courts
  • Staff members of other community agencies

What You Need

To become a child psychiatrist, you will need to complete:

  • Four years of medical school
  • Three years of residency training in medicine, neurology, and general adult psychiatry
  • Two years of specialized residency training in psychiatric work with children and families
  • Certification exams for general psychiatry

A certification in CAP is not required, but can be a boon to any application you submit to mental health professional jobs. Keep in mind that you will be expected to continue your education and stay updated on current practices and opinions throughout your practice as a child psychiatrist.

What You Should Know

To become a child psychiatrist, you should understand the fundamental theories and practices of psychiatry along with the specific understanding of the biological, psychological, and social factors that affect a child’s life. You should have a thorough knowledge of normal child and family development, psychopathology, and treatment. You should also be prepared to diagnosis and treat a number of disorders that develop in childhood, including:

  • Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Mood disorders
  • Behavioral disorders
  • Learning disabilities and developmental disorders
  • Depressive and anxiety disorders
  • Drug dependency and delinquency

It takes a lot of time and training to become a child psychiatrist, but many can speak to the value of choosing this career. Not only can you help and advocate for vulnerable populations, but you’ll also be able to enjoy having skills that are in high demand and a position that has a lot of flexibility.

There is a broad diversity of practice options open to child psychiatrists, and in many cases, you will be able to maintain a healthy work-life balance with the ability to dictate the hours you work throughout your career. If you plan to devote time to raising a family in the future, the malleability of a child psychiatry career is a draw for many, and there are hundreds of accredited CAP programs throughout the U.S. to help you learn what you need to know to receive your certification and thrive.

Apply to Be a Child Psychiatrist Today With Psych Jobs Now!

Start your career as a child psychiatrist today! Psych Jobs Now curates a list of thousands of job openings from hundreds of employers to help you find the perfect match. Create your profile to get started, find a position you love, and submit your application, all on one simple platform!