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Psychiatrist or Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner?

chibixchibix Registered User Posts: 21 New Member
edited December 2012 in Careers in Medicine
I want to work in the mental health field. I would prefer to do more talk therapy with patients then more drug therapy but would still like to be able to prescribe medication as well if that is possible. My problem is that I want to do computer science as well. I thought about getting a BS or BA in CS and then continuing on to become a psychiatrist (I've heard that your bachelors doesn't matter if going to med school) but I read that it is more focused on drug therapy. Also the costs of the degree are very high. The work of a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner appeals to me because it seems to be more of a patient-provider relationship (not positive if these assumptions are correct or not) and the costs are lower. But with a PNP I would have to work as a registered nurse first and wouldn't be able to pursue CS. What would be the best course of action? Is it possible to explore CS and PNP? Is the job market better for Psychiatrists or psychiatric nurse practitioner?
Post edited by chibix on

Replies to: Psychiatrist or Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner?

  • chibixchibix Registered User Posts: 21 New Member
    Also are there any other paths to a career in mental health that will fit in with what I'm trying to do? Thanks in advance for any advice or replies.
  • chibixchibix Registered User Posts: 21 New Member
    Bumps please
  • WayOutWestMomWayOutWestMom Registered User Posts: 9,870 Senior Member
    OK, you have a couple of other options--esp if you're interested in talk therapy.

    Clinical Psychologist -- PsyD, a doctorate in clinical psychology. Practice focus is on individual and group therapy. Clinical psychologists are not licensed to prescribe in most states.

    Clinical psychologists can have a variety of specializations, but they all do psycho-therapy. Today a PsyD is the required minimum for licensing in most states.

    Doctor of Psychology - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


    Clinical Social Worker
    Clinical social workers provide mental health services for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of mental, behavioral, and emotional disorders in individuals, families, and groups. Their goal is to enhance and maintain their patients' physical, psychological, and social function.

    Clinical social workers must have a master's or doctorate degree in social work, with an emphasis on clinical experience. They must undergo a supervised clinical field internship and have at least 2 years of postgraduate supervised clinical social work employment.

    Entry into PsyD program will generally require a strong background (major or a minor with additional coursework) in psychology or neuroscience, plus some clinical experience working in the mental health field. Many progams also recommend or require psychology research experience. Excellent GPA (3.0+) plus GRE required.

    A Master's in Social Work (MSW) is the minimum requirement to get licensed as clinical social worker. Entry into most MSW programs don't require any specific undergrad major--though some program expect a minimum of 20 credits in behavioral sciences. However, entry requirement vary widely by program. In most programs, a GPA of 3.0+ is required. GRE may or may not be required.
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