With a growing demand for mental healthcare professionals and an increased focus on cost effectiveness, many states have begun to place new regulations on the reimbursement rates that healthcare facilities can offer mental health practitioners. In the past few years, several articles have been published concerning the nurse practitioner (NP) subspecialty of psychiatry. These articles discuss salary expectations for NPs in various settings: undergraduate and graduate programs, clinical practice positions at hospitals and private practices, and NP fellowships at medical schools. The following article will examine salaries for NPs working as psychiatrists in various settings.
Undergraduate Psychiatrist Salaries
During the undergraduate years, an NP may choose to select a track that includes some type of specialization in psychiatry. Depending on the program and the setting, an NP’s pay may vary. Additionally, the type of specialty an NP selects may affect their pay. For example, NPs who choose to specialize as child or adolescent psychiatrists may receive a higher salary than adult psychiatrists. In addition, certain subspecialties may have higher wages than others. For example, a recent study published in the Journal of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association showed that the average salary for an NP with a research focus was $61,766 as of 2016, while an NP with a practice focus received an average salary of $54,690. Notably, these salaries are averages and may vary depending on a particular setting and the type of practice.
Clinical Practice Psychiatrist Salaries
A clinical practice position is typically found in a private practice setting. As the name suggests, the majority of the practice hours are taken up by direct patient care. Clinical practice positions can be found in a variety of settings, from solo practices to groups of allied health professionals, including psychiatrists. Although there are no specific requirements for earning a salary as a psychiatrist in a clinical practice setting, several studies have shown that psychiatrists in private practice had the highest average annual incomes, with some individuals earning over $200,000 per year.
Hospital Psychiatrist Salaries
Hospitals are among the most expensive settings for mental healthcare delivery. Thus, psychiatrists in a hospital setting generally have higher salary expectations. While the exact salary amount will vary depending on the hospital, the setting, the type of practice, and other factors, the average hospital psychiatrist salary is estimated to be between $150,000 and $300,000 per year. Psychiatrists employed in hospital settings may provide inpatient care or outpatient care. Additionally, some hospital psychiatrists may be responsible for combining the care of different medical disciplines, such as neurology, cardiology, and oncology.
Psychiatric Residency Salaries
The majority of psychiatrists in the United States receive their training during a residency program. During a psychiatry residency, trainees rotate through different specialties, such as adult and child/adolescent psychiatry, neurology, or primary care. While all residencies are combined in years and hours, the cost of each residency is different. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) publishes a recommended minimum salary for psychiatry residents. Based on survey data from psychiatrists who completed a residency between 1998 and 2005 and after a certain number of years in practice, the APA developed a figure for the “recommended salary for psychiatry residency training.” The current recommended salary for an adult psychiatrist is $160,000 per year and for a child/adolescent psychiatrist is $150,000 per year.
Fellowship in Psychiatry and Neurology (Fellowship) Salaries
In many states, psych rotations are a required component of medical residency programs. Because psychiatrists often rotate between medical and non-medical specialties during residency, the overall experience is often referred to as a “fellowship.” Some medical schools have also begun to offer psychiatry-only fellowships. The length of these fellowships varies, with some lasting only one or two years and others offering more substantial commitments, ranging from three to seven years. The salaries of psychiatrists who hold psychiatry-only fellowships vary depending on the specific specialty, although it is usually higher than that of an NP who holds a fellowship in psychiatry and neurology. For example, the average salary for a psychiatrist practicing child/adolescent psychiatry is $170,000 per year, while the average salary for a psychiatrist practicing adult psychiatry is $187,000 per year.
Salary for a Specialist Doctor, e.g. Neurosurgeon or Ophthalmologist
It is not just psychiatrists who have a salary requirement. Neurosurgeons, orthopedic surgeons, and ophthalmologists are other subspecialties that must hold either a state license or a federal certification, such as a certificate of authority, to practice. As with psychiatrists, state licensing boards set minimum salaries for subspecialists. However, while psychiatrists may be able to meet these requirements through a medical degree, neurosurgeons and ophthalmologists must also complete additional post-graduate education requirements.
In this article, we examined the average salary ranges for psychiatrists in different settings, including private practice, clinical practice, hospital practice, and fellowship. The salary ranges provided in this article should be taken as a starting point for salary negotiations during the hiring process. Salaries vary depending on where a psychiatrist works, the specific specialty an individual practices in, the type of practice, and the time spent in practice. In addition, there may be benefits associated with certain positions, such as retirement plans or insurance offerings. These benefits may also impact salary negotiation. As can be seen from the salary ranges provided in this article, psychiatrists have a high earning potential. In addition, many psychiatrists in private practice and clinical practice work full-time, do not schedule an excessive amount of hours, and/or enjoy good benefits. Thus, there are many benefits to becoming a psychiatrist, including salary opportunities in the market.