Psychiatrists treat patients privately and in hospital settings through a combination of psychotherapy and medication. There are about 41,000 practicing psychiatrists in the United States. Their training consists of four years of medical school, followed by one year of internship and at least three years of psychiatric residency.
Psychiatrists may receive certification from the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN), which requires two years of clinical experience beyond residency and the successful completion of a written and an oral test. Unlike a medical license, board certification is not legally required in order to practice psychiatry.
Psychiatrists may practice general psychiatry or choose a specialty, such as child psychiatry, geriatric psychiatry, treatment of substance abuse, forensic (legal) psychiatry, emergency psychiatry, mental retardation, community psychiatry, or public health. Some focus their research and clinical work primarily on psychoactive medication, in which case they are referred to as psychopharmacologists.