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Geriatric Psychiatrist Job Description, Career as a Geriatric Psychiatrist, Salary, Employment

Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

Education and Training:— Advanced degree in medicine and specialized training in geriatric psychiatry.

Salary: Median— $154,050 annually

Employment Outlook:— Very good

Geriatric psychiatrists treat mental illnesses of the elderly. They combine their knowledge of psychology and sociology to provide specialized care. Geriatric psychiatrists consider the medical conditions of their patients before treating them for ailments like anxiety disorder, late-life schizophrenia, depression, substance abuse, and dementia.

Most geriatric psychiatrists offer their services at clinics, nursing homes, in- and out-patient care units, and assisted living centers. They often collaborate with the patient’s family members in cases where the elderly patient is suffering from problems like stress, poor sleep, bereavement, dementia, anxiety, and memory loss.

Education and Training Requirements

Aspiring geriatric psychiatrists must finish medical school and then take up the appropriate residency program. In order to get into medical school, students must maintain a high score in their undergraduate programs. Although not mandatory, it might prove to be beneficial if one opts for a pre-med course at the high school level. Students who have a secondary school education in biology and organic chemistry are also eligible to apply to medical schools. Admission is based on the performance of the student at the undergraduate level and the scores in the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT).

On completion of medical school, candidates must take up an approved 4-year residency training in general psychiatry. After this they must complete a year’s accredited fellowship training in geriatric psychiatry. Following this, doctors can get certification from the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology by passing a test.

Getting the Job

During the mandatory 4-year residency programs, interns are paid for their services. Geriatric psychiatrists can seek employment at hospitals and other healthcare facilities. These job openings are advertised in Internet job portals and classified sections of newspapers.

Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook

Like other doctors, geriatric psychiatrists are promoted to supervisory roles on the basis of their experience and expertise. If they continue practice in healthcare facilities, they might eventually be promoted to administrative and managerial positions. After attaining a degree of seniority, geriatric psychiatrists may also start private practice. Those interested in teaching can take up faculty positions in colleges and universities.

Recent studies reveal that the elderly are becoming increasingly susceptible to mental ailments. Moreover, as the baby boomer generation grows old, a higher proportion of the population will consist of elderly people. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 20% of the US population will be over the age of 65 by 2030. Of these, 15 million citizens are likely to suffer from mental illnesses. This is expected to make employment opportunities extremely favorable for geriatric psychiatrists.

Working Conditions

Geriatric psychiatrists work in clean, well lit, and comfortable surroundings. They may have to offer their services at diverse places like hospitals, clinics, assisted living centers, and also the homes of patients. Psychiatrists who are employed in hospitals, health chains, or academic institutions enjoy a more structured work schedule in comparison to their self-employed counterparts.

Where to Go for More Information

American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry
7910 Woodmont Ave
Suite 1050
Bethesda, MD 20814-3004

American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, Inc.
2150 E. Lake Cook Road, Suite 900
Buffalo Grove, IL 60089

International Psychogeriatric Association
550 Frontage Road, Suite 3759
Northfield, Illinois 60093

Geriatric Mental Health Foundation
7910 Woodmont Ave, Suite 1050
Bethesda, MD  20814

American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry

Salary, Earnings and Benefits

The average annual salary of geriatric psychiatrists in the United States is $154,050. The earnings often depend on one’s place of employment. For instance, those working in offices of physicians and other healthcare practitioners are likely to earn between $131,230 and $144,020 per year, while the annual salary of those employed in nursing care facilities and outpatient care centers is in the range of $181,520 to $192,230.

Geriatric psychiatrists employed in full-time positions enjoy a host of benefits. These include paid leaves and vacations, bonuses, general medical and life insurance coverage, as well as pension plans.

Additional topics

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