Psychiatrists: Salary Overview
Psychiatrists prevent, diagnose, and treat mental health disorders.
Their job description includes conducting a thorough psychiatric evaluation to patients in order to establish a diagnosis, developing treatment plans, prescribing treatment, and evaluating the effects the treatment has on the patient’s overall health.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 25,630 psychiatrists employed in the United States in May 2018, the majority of them working in offices of physicians, psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals and general hospitals.
The average annual wage for this profession was $220,380 as of May 2018, or $105.95 per hour.
Salaries in this field vary based on a wide range of factors, including the psychiatrist’s level of experience, the region, and the industry of employment.
As a psychiatrist, you can make anywhere between less than $100,000 and more than $300,000 a year.
However, when discussing psychiatrists’ wages we should also mention the fact that four years of medical school usually leave them with huge student loan debt which they have to repay during their first years of practice.
These loan payments fluctuate depending on the repayment plan and can be anywhere between less than $1,000 and more than $3,000 a month.
So, an entry-level psychiatrist who makes around $9,000 a month, depending on the loan repayment plan, may take home less than $7,000-$8,000.
Psychiatrist Salary by Industry
Salaries for psychiatrists vary depending on the place of employment.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, offices of physicians hired approximately 9,120 psychiatrists in 2018 who were paid, on average, with $220,010.
The approximately 3,570 psychiatrists who worked for psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals earned slightly less, with the mean annual wage set at $209,080.
The 3,440 psychiatrists who treated patients in general medical and surgical hospitals reported an average salary of $208,870 per year in 2018.
Outpatient care centers hired approximately 3,180 psychiatrists in 2018 who earned, on average, $241,820.
The highest average salaries were reported by psychiatrists who worked for home health care services and for those who worked for the local government.
Although the mean annual wage for psychiatrists employed in the field of home health services was $253,370 a year, there were only 70 physicians specialized in psychiatry employed in this field so there are fewer job opportunities in this sector.
Local governments employed approximately 1,230 psychiatrists and paid them, on average, with $253,140 a year.
Profit Sharing, Bonuses, and Other Benefits
The numbers published by BLS apply only to salaried psychiatrists.
However, according to a report published by Medscape, 13% of psychiatrists worked in an office-based solo practice, 10% of them worked in an office-based single-specialty group practice, and 4% of them participated in an office-based multispecialty group practice.
Private-practice psychiatrists’ earnings can be calculated as total billings minus taxes and other business expenses.
Moreover, some salaried psychiatrists also receive bonuses and profit-sharing which can supplement their annual income with several thousands of dollars.
The Medscape Psychiatric Compensation Report sets the average total compensation for psychiatrists at $260,000.
This is is bellow the median total compensation for all physicians.
The same report shows that self-employed psychiatrists earned, on average, $284,000 while employed psychiatrists earned $249,000.
However, owning your own practice also implies additional responsibilities and you will usually need a few years of experience working in a clinic or hospital before being ready to start your own practice.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment for psychiatrists is projected to grow 16 percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations.
However, demand for physician’s services can be affected by changes in healthcare reimbursement policies and the public may seek fewer physician services if they have to pay higher out-of-pocket costs.
Prospects are expected to be good especially for psychiatrists who are willing to practice in underserved areas.
* Based on information from the May 2019 salary report from the BLS. The figures represent accumulated data for all states of employment for Psychiatrists. BLS data represents averages and medians for workers at all levels of education and experience. This data doesn't represent starting salaries.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.