Becoming a Geriatric Psychiatrist

While we have a lot of healthcare facilities for regular patients at hospitals, clinics and elsewhere, we tend to forget that the elderly people always need special care and attention. A Geriatric Psychiatrist works with senior people at retirement homes or shelters. He also deals with the people who suffer from mental problems at a certain age. These professionals train senior citizens via cognition and memory exercises. They may also be required to deal with the patients’ family members or friends to know the elderly people better.

Education Requirements:

  1. Obtain a Bachelor’s Degree: It’s mandatory to get a Bachelor’s Degree to become a Geriatric Psychiatrist. In addition to the degree program, you may also need to complete about 120 hours of study courses and around 45 hours of psychology courses. General courses such as Humanities, Science, History, and English plus Psychology would be part of the degree program. Psychology courses vary from social psychology to developmental psychology and abnormal psychology.
  2. Get a Master’s Degree: After completing the four-year bachelor’s degree, the aspirants will have to go for a post-graduation course and even a PhD program. A Doctorate in Psychology will come handy to become a senior Geriatric Psychiatrist.
  3. Licensing: After receiving the PhD, it would be required to get your psychiatry license in order to become eligible for practice. The license is being offered by the State Board of Psychology (SBP). You need to pass the Examination of Professional Practice of Psychology to get the license.

Job Responsibilities:

  • Be sensitive towards the special needs of elderly people and understand them
  • Be caring, compassionate, patient and understanding
  • Research on mental illness of the elderly people
  • Interview old people and their family members
  • Give one-on-one counseling to patients
  • Ensure zero side effect during medication

Salary & Career Outlook:

The career outlook for a Geriatric Psychologist remains bright, as the U.S. Census Bureau has projected that nearly 20% of the total US population would attain the age of 65 by 2030. The Geriatric Psychiatrists can get employment at hospitals, mental health facilities, private clinics, retirement homes or community centers. The average annual salary for a geriatric psychiatrist is about $70,000, which may increase further depending on experience and expertise.