Psychiatrist jobs: How to find the perfect practice for you
If you're actively searching for psychiatrist jobs, perhaps you're a new graduate on the hunt for your first position out of training, or maybe you’re a seasoned practitioner seeking a change of pace. You’ve worked hard to earn your medical degree, completed four or more years of residency, and perhaps even acquired additional expertise in a subspecialty. After all this time and effort, you deserve a role that aligns with your goals and aspirations as a physician.
Due to the current shortage of psychiatrists in the U.S., employment opportunities are plentiful. To find a practice that suits you, your talents, and your needs, you must narrow the scope of your search. The question that arises when confronted with so many psychiatrist jobs is: “Where do I begin?”
What to look for in psychiatrist jobs
Start by identifying your priorities
Finding your ideal mix of key criteria in a particular role or opportunity is essential to helping you find your most suitable career path. You’ll need to think about much more than location, setting, hours, and compensation. Of course, these variables are important, but the type of practice you work in will primarily depend on two factors: the patient population you wish to serve and the level of acuity.
The patient population describes the group’s demographics, which can be segmented and analyzed in many ways — by race, gender, age, socioeconomic status, substance abuse history, and much more. Thus, you can begin determining your professional path by identifying which patient population you would enjoy treating most.
- If you trained in a subspecialty, you might have chosen your ideal patient population years ago. Your subspecialty in, for example, geriatric psychiatry or addiction medicine, may dictate at least one element of your patient population.
- Identify your professional passions and interests. For example, many special populations require psychiatric care, like fellow doctors, combat veterans, and children in foster care. Alternatively, you may feel passionate about treating patients with a specific diagnosis, such as major depressive disorder. This creates a wide range of psychiatrist jobs for those whose interests lie in providing psychiatric care with a specialized vision and framework for treatment.
A patient’s acuity level relates to the frequency and type of contact a patient requires and the scope and intensity of case management you will provide. Understanding what acuity level you're most comfortable with will ensure that you set realistic expectations for yourself, your employer, and your patients.
- Choose the types of patients you want to work with, ranging from mild to moderate mental health disorders to severe and persistent mental illness (SPMI). For instance, the acuity is very different for inpatient care than it is for outpatient care.
- Think about how often you'd like to see your patients. Weekly, monthly, or daily? Patients with higher acuity levels may need to see their providers more often and may require different types of treatments.
Next, examine the details
As with any other profession, psychiatrist job candidates should analyze the details and pinpoint their priorities. Once you have an idea about the patient population and acuity you would like to work with, you’ll want to consider the following points.
What type of practice setting are you interested in? There are many things to consider in selecting the ideal practice setting. For example, consider the clinical community and the colleagues you will work with and the level of collaboration you’ll have with other specialties. Will you have support from therapists and psychologists?
Even if your choice of patient population narrows your choices, these other factors may ultimately influence the practice setting that you choose. As a psychiatrist, you have many choices, such as:
- Solo practice
- Single-specialty group practice
- Multi-specialty group practice
- Academic institution
- Hospital or clinic
- Inpatient treatment facilities
What would be your ideal workday? Figuring out the everyday interactions and activities you're interested in most will help you decide what type of role would fit you best. Other questions you may wish to consider are:
- Do you want to be responsible for supervising others?
- Is a collaborative care practice model important to you?
- Are you willing to and interested in taking on administrative responsibilities?
- Are you willing to work in a practice that is not tech-enabled and doesn’t use modern processes like electronic health records?
Would you prefer to have more flexibility in your work schedule? Achieving a work-life balance should be a top priority for you to prevent psychiatrist burnout. Flexible work hours and remote working options are practical benefits to seek out. Other factors such as practice setting, role responsibilities, and patient population also contribute to the level of flexibility you'll have.
The culture of a practice is another critical element to take into account. Does the practice have a unique community of like-minded people and shared values? What is the leadership style, and who will you answer to? For example, is the practice physician-led? These factors can all be very influential on how you feel at the end of a busy day.
What type of treatment modality is best for you? Do you hope to work in a practice with in-person or telehealth treatment options, or both? Although there was a great deal of skepticism at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth has proven effective for the right patients and has transformed the online mental health care space. In addition, many psychiatrist jobs in the telemedicine space provide you with the flexibility you may be looking for that you can’t achieve in an in-person setting. Some questions to think about as you’re researching psychiatry jobs are:
- How often would you see patients, and for how long?
- Who determines your appointment schedule?
- Who is paying for the appointments? (Cash payment or self-pay vs. care that’s covered by insurance)
- How does the EMR work, and is it integrated with a pharmacy and lab for ease of ordering?
- Is the telehealth platform integrated with the EMR and schedule, and is it easy to use?
- What type of role do you want to play within the practice?
- Does your employer restrict you to specific diagnoses or medications?
What kind of reputation does the practice have? Consider the respectability level of any group you are thinking of joining. For example, do you want to join a healthcare organization or a consumer business? Does a psychiatrist lead the practice? You’ll also want to understand how much assistance the staff has and how well the colleagues connect. Where you work directly reflects your professional image, so it’s essential to understand a potential employer’s reputation before you apply.
Compensation and Benefits
How much compensation do you expect? In addition to a competitive salary, benefits such as paid time off, health insurance, and retirement funds are important financial considerations. Dr. Ilisse Perlmutter, Talkiatry’s Director of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, counsels, “Regardless of how you structure your professional activities, you need to consider benefits and health insurance.” While pay structure is definitely an important aspect to consider, the best pay rate shouldn’t be the only motivator, and the highest salary doesn’t always mean it’s the best compensation package. In addition to identifying with the company's culture and mission, you should also consider their opportunities for learning and growth.
Ensure you know if the role is for an employee (W-2) or a contractor (1099), as the two have significant differences in compensation and employment structure. Lastly, it’s crucial to understand how the compensation is structured—for example, high-quality treatment outcomes are essential, so a compensation structure that rewards volume over quality (such as a productivity model) should be carefully considered.
Key takeaways for finding the best psychiatrist job
“As you embark on your search for the right opportunity, make sure you have thought through your priorities and what's most important to you in a position. This is a big commitment! You can't have it all—so decide what concessions you are willing to make, and keep an open mind!”
Jill Steger, Director of Clinical Talent Acquisition, Talkiatry.
Beginning your search for a practice that meets your needs can be overwhelming. However, when you identify your goals and prioritize your key decision factors, you can set a clear vision to guide you through your search for psychiatrist jobs.
Although it doesn’t seem that way in the moment, nothing is etched in stone, and people make changes all the time as their interests, professional, and personal lives evolve. I tell my residents to think about what they love about being psychiatrists, and let that guide them.”
Dr. Ilisse Perlmutter, Talkiatry’s Director of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Though you may not find your dream role right away, working in an environment that matches your needs and aspirations will keep you motivated, avoid physician burnout, and ultimately lead to achieving your psychiatric career goals.
Join the Talkiatry team
We’re growing our practice and looking for talented psychiatrists to join our team.
Talkiatry is one of the largest, most innovative groups of in-network psychiatrists in the New York area and is quickly expanding to other states. As a single-specialty practice that was built by psychiatrists, for psychiatrists, Talkiatry knows the unique challenges that this profession faces. A collegial, collaborative workplace, Talkiatry offers a unique sense of camaraderie and shared values. There are also training and research opportunities available for continued professional development.
We take great pride in our talented team of clinicians and work proactively to provide them with the tech-enabled tools, support, and staff they need to deliver the best patient outcomes. Each Talkiatry provider chooses their schedule and work hours, allowing them to curate their ideal work-life balance. Moreover, they are empowered to select their patient populations, ensuring they only treat the types of patients they want to treat.
Our support staff takes care of administrative burdens like billing, insurance, and appointment scheduling so our psychiatrists can focus on patient care. In addition, psychiatrists can track patient progress in new, previously impossible ways using Talkiatry's custom technology solutions and electronic health record system.
Last but not least, our psychiatrists receive top-of-the-market compensation with robust benefits. Talkiatry takes care of you so that you can take care of your patients.
Do we sound like a good fit for you?
We are solving America’s mental health crisis, one psychiatrist at a time. Learn more about the benefits of working with Talkiatry and view our open psychiatrist jobs here.
Talkiatry is a mental health practice, and our clinicians review everything we write. However, articles are never a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you think you may need mental health help, talk to a psychiatrist. If you or someone you know may be in danger, call 911 or the National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988 right away.
Dr. Austin Lin is a double board-certified adult and addiction psychiatrist who has been in practice for over 9 years. At the center of Dr. Lin’s clinical approach is a strong emphasis on establishing trust and using a collaborative approach to help patients develop an individualized and cohesive plan so that they are able to achieve their goals.
Dr. Lin's practice focuses on medication management. Typically, he offers this in conjunction with supportive therapy, motivational interviewing, and/or cognitive behavioral therapy in 30-minute follow-up visits. Occasionally, Dr. Lin may recommend that additional therapy is needed and ask that you bring a therapist into your care team in order to provide the best outcome.
Dr. Lin received his medical degree from St. George’s University School of Medicine. He went on to complete his residency in psychiatry at Harvard South Shore, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School, where he served as Chief Resident and earned his 360° Professionalism award. He then had additional training in Addiction Psychiatry through his fellowship at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. After completing training, Dr. Lin has worked as an Addiction Psychiatrist and Director of Adult Services in the Trauma and Resilience Center (TRC) at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth). He specialized in treating patients with a history of depression, anxiety, trauma, and substance use disorders.
Dr. Lin has held an academic appointment at UTHealth, and he has spent his professional career supervising and teaching medical students and psychiatry residents.