Medical Specialty

How Competitive is a Psychiatry Residency?

You want to become a psychiatrist? Here's what it takes to match into residency.

If you want a career as a psychiatrist, here is how competitive the medical specialty is to match into a psychiatry residency. Psychiatry is the branch of medicine devoted to the diagnosis, prevention, study, and treatment of mental disorders.

Statistics on the Psychiatry Match

In 2020, psychiatry had a total of 2,486 applicants and1,858 spots. This equates to 1.34 applicants per position. Of the 1,117 U.S. MD seniors who applied, 129 did not match.

Total Positions Total Number of Applicants Number of Applicants per Position
1,858 2,486 1.34

Osteopathic (DO) Students Matching into Psychiatry

In 2020, the total number of DO Senior Applicants was 398. Of those, 332 matched, for a 83.42% match percentage. This makes psychiatry a Friendly field for osteopathic students.

Total DO Applicants Matched DO Applicants DO Match Percentage
398 332 83.42%

International Medical Graduates (IMGs) Matching into Psychiatry

Because there are only 0.67 U.S. MD applicants per 1 program spot, psychiatry is considered to be Very Friendly for IMGs students.

Honors, Research and Awards for Psychiatry Residency Candidates

The average matched U.S. applicant had 7.7 volunteer experiences and 3.6 work experiences. They had 3.1 research experiences and 5.6 abstracts, presentations and publications. That makes this specialty on where the number of publications needed is Low.

Research Experiences Abstracts, Presentations and Publications Work Experiences Volunteer Experiences
3.1 5.6 3.6 7.7

Average Step 1 and Step 2 Scores for Psychiatry

The mean U.S. Step 1 score for matched medical students in psychiatry was 227. The mean USMLE Step 2 CK score was 241.

Overall Competitiveness of Psychiatry Residency and Chances of Matching

The overall competitiveness level of psychiatry is Low for a U.S. senior. With a Step 1 score of 200, the probability of matching is 76%. With a Step 1 score of >240, the probability is 92%.

How long is a residency in psychiatry? What is the lifestyle like for a psychiatry resident?

Compared to other residencies, psychiatry has a Short training length. As far as lifestyle, psychiatrists generally have a Low stress lifestyle. Of course, lifestyle is very subjective and if you love what you do, it does not matter! And if you hate what you do, it can still be rough no matter what. In medicine, you should find the specialty that makes you enjoy your everyday interactions with patients, staff and colleagues.

What is the average salary for a psychiatrist?

The average salary post-graduation from a psychiatry residency is $268,000, provided one does not go on to sub-specialty training which can change the salary substantially. Academic versus private practice as well as location also play a large role in physician compensation.

What are fellowships one can do from a psychiatry residency?

Following the successful completion of general psychiatry residency, some physicians may choose to continue their graduate medical education with subspecialty training. Board-certified subspecialists complete additional training and qualifying examinations beyond those required for board certification in psychiatry. Currently, the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology certifies the following fellowships:

What are the best psychiatry residencies in the country?

The best residency for psychiatry, or any specialty, is very driven by personal preference and situation. How close you are to family, loved ones, the type of training environment, the opportunities available are all things to take into consideration above and beyond name recognition of a program. However, there are some highly regarded names in the world of psychiatry including:

    • UCSF
    • MGH
    • Yale
    • NewYork-Presbyterian (Columbia)
    • UCLA

Much of the data above is available from the AAMC Charting the Outcomes report.

Explore Other Specialties:

SpecialtyAverage Step 1 Score (Matched)Average Step 2 Score (Matched)
Anesthesiology234246
Child Neurology233246
Dermatology248256
Diagnostic Radiology241249
Emergency Medicine233247
Family Medicine221238
General Surgery237249
Internal Medicine235248
Internal Medicine/Pediatrics236250
Interventional Radiology247255
Neurological Surgery248252
Neurology232245
Obstetrics and Gynecology232248
Orthopaedic Surgery248255
Otolaryngology248256
Pathology233242
Pediatrics228245
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation228241
Plastic Surgery249256
Psychiatry227241
Radiation Oncology243250
Vascular Surgery239247
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