In considering the difference between a Psychiatrist and a Psychologist very commonly the words Psychiatrist and Psychologist are used interchangeably as if they are two words that mean the same thing, but this is not the case. Simply put the difference between a Psychiatrist and a Psychologist is that Psychiatrists have MEDICAL training. The main difference between a Psychiatrist and a Psychologist is that psychiatrists have gone to medical school to be a medical doctor and as such are licensed to prescribe medication.
In exploring the difference between a Psychiatrist and a Psychologist it is important to keep in mind why you are seeking professional help. This doesn’t mean that one is better than the other as a whole, but they may be better in specific areas that you may be looking for. So knowing the difference can be helpful depending on your situation.
So let’s take a look at the difference between a Psychiatrist and a Psychologist. Psychiatrists are able to prescribe medication, perform evaluations, do therapy and even do psychological testing. Psychologist can do all of those, except prescribe medication, since doing so without going to medical school would be very dangerous. So if you feel you may need medication see a Psychiatrist.
Another difference between a Psychiatrist and a Psychologist is in the amount of training between them. To become a Psychiatrist you need to complete four years of college/university, four years of medical school and a minimum of four years of a psychiatric residency. A total of twelve years after high school. If they are specialized, such as a Child Psychiatrist, even more training (another 2 years) is required, bringing the total training years to 14. A psychologist can have as little as eight years total.