With the terms often used interchangeably, not everyone is aware of the difference between psychology and psychiatry. These are two very distinct fields with the education, practice, and even salaries being different. Here, we make an attempt to first understand the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist, and then take a look at the difference in salaries of these professionals
Psychology is a behavioral science, in that it aims to understand not only the psychological aspect of the human mind, but also neurological functions that cause a person to behave the way she does. Psychologists are qualified and permitted to carry out psychological testing that helps in determining the root cause of the mental condition a person is suffering from, and the necessary treatment required for this condition. Apart from this, a psychologist’s job description includes providing treatment in the form of psychotherapy or by implementing behavioral modification. In school, psychologists learn all about personalities, behavior, and methods to deal with varied personality types and the behavior exhibited by them. The history of psychology along with methods of psychological research are taught in school. In order to become a licensed psychologist one must obtain a doctoral degree (PhD or Psy.D. depending on specialization).
Psychiatry on the other hand, focuses on the medical aspect of behavioral problems. A psychiatrist’s education involves going to medical school, and only after attaining an MD are they qualified to practice psychiatry by enrolling for a four-year training residency. The time taken to complete psychiatry education is much longer than that for psychology. Above all, a psychiatrist’s job description includes prescribing medication to patients in order to treat various mental conditions. Psychiatrists not only deal with people who have severe mental disorders, but may even treat someone with severe depression by prescribing medication to treat it. Usually, psychologists are the ones who perform therapy on various individuals, and if they think that the patient needs medication to improve, they may consult a psychiatrist. Though psychiatrists are qualified to provide therapy, it is something they do not do as often as what is termed as medication management.
There is a vast difference in the salaries earned in psychiatry vs. psychology, with the figures of the former being higher than the latter. So what is this difference? Let’s take a look.
A psychologist’s average salary may differ based on the specialized field. For instance, a clinical psychologist’s salary is higher than that of a sports or school psychologist. A psychologist may make anywhere between US $50,000 – US $95,000 based on specialization. Also, psychologists not only charge per hour fees, they also charge fees for psychological testing and assessment. As such, the figure may vary greatly.
A psychiatrist’s salary is definitely higher than that of a psychologist because of the difference in treatment procedures adopted by both. A psychiatrist can earn anywhere between US $50,000 – US $100,000. These figures can go up to as high as US $200,000 a year with increased experience. Also, the per hour charges of a psychiatrist differs from and are much higher than that of a psychologist.
Because individual rates based on experience and qualification vary greatly, it is difficult to provide an exact insight into the difference between the salaries of psychologists and psychiatrists. In effect, both fields will offer a higher salary as you gain experience and pursue continuing education to keep yourself updated in these fields.