Becoming a psychiatrist is a difficult task and requires a lot of time to study and complete the requirements. There are 3 phases to be completed in becoming a psychiatrist. The first phase is the fulfillment of academic requirements. The academic requirements to become a psychiatrist are quiet long. The first thing to do is to get a 4-year bachelor degree. Majority of the students who want to become a psychiatrist do majors in the field of psychiatry or in the field related to it like sociology, psychology or other fields. During the undergraduate program, the students do courses like biology, chemistry, physics and other courses. This makes their foundation strong.
Once they get done with the bachelor degree, the time comes to get admission into a medical college to get a M.D degree. The medical school takes 4 years to complete. To increase the chances of getting admission into a medical college, once has to clear the MCAT with a nice score. A good score will increase the chances of getting into a medical college. In the medical college, students spend 4 years learning all the areas of medicine and learning the basic medical courses. The first 2 years provide classroom training and the last 2 years provide the practical learning experience under the supervision of superior doctors.
Once a student is done with the medical degree, he or she has to complete a 4-year residency program. The residency program allows the students to get the practical knowledge of the different types of disorders. Students cure disorders in patients along with the doctors and get to learn about various disorders and their treatment. This increases their skills and knowledge in the field of psychiatry and gives them all the experience required to start practicing as a psychiatrist. The students work in different settings and deal with different patients so that they can have a diverse experience and knowledge of treating patients of all types. While students are looking at the patients, a senior doctor supervises them and recommends them the treatments they should suggest to the patients. A student cannot suggest a treatment to the patient without consulting a senior doctor. During these 4 years, a student learns a lot and gets fully trained to start practicing as a psychiatrist.
The third and the last phase to become a psychiatrist is the certification. The last step is the certification exam provided by the state. A student has to clear the state exam in order to be licensed to start practicing as a psychiatrist. The state exam is a requirement by American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. Once you have obtained the certified, it stays valid for 10 years and after 10 years, it has to be renewed. The documents to be submitted for the certification need to be submitted around 3 months before the date of examination.
So the answer to the question that how long does it take to become a psychiatrist is that it takes 12 years of education to start practicing as a full time psychiatrist.