How Much Do Child Psychiatrists Make?

Child psychiatry is a specialty that focuses on the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental health problems in children and their families. Child psychiatrists study the biopsychosocial factors that affect the development of various psychiatric disorders and treatment responses to different interventions. (

For proper child assessment, a psychiatric history is obtained by interviewing the child and his family. The evaluation features an exploration of the child’s behavioral and emotional problems, physical health and development, relationships in the family, and any history of mental illness in the family. The child psychiatrist develops a treatment plan for the child with diagnosed behavior and thought disorders.

Psychiatrists use many types of treatments: psychotherapy, medications, psychosocial interventions, and electroconvulsive therapy.

Psychotherapy also is called talk therapy, which is a speaking relationship between the psychiatrist and the patient. It can be helpful to treat many types of emotional and mental problems for children. The goal of this treatment is to reduce disabling symptoms so the child can function better at home, school, and life. See also how to become a Psychotherapist.

Some of the versions of psychotherapy that child psychiatrists may use are:

  • Changing behaviors or thought patterns
  • Explore the effects of past relationships
  • Experiences that affect present behavior

If you are interested in being a child psychiatrist, you will need to obtain your MD degree in psychiatry. Earning your MD and performing a residency can take up to 10 years, so it is important to understand the salary potential as a child psychiatrist. Below is detailed salary information for this occupation.

Child Psychiatry Salary Information

Below are reliable data sources for child psychiatrist salaries.

Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has detailed salary information for doctors and surgeons. It also has information on salaries for psychiatrists. BLS states that all doctors and surgeons earned a median salary of $208,000 in 2018. Psychiatrists earned a median salary of $220,380. (

Some professionals who earn their MD in psychiatry also work as psychologists. The median salary for psychologists in 2018 was $79,000, with the top 10% earning $129,000 per year. Psychologists with a psychiatrist background will usually earn at the top end of the salary scale. Also, clinical, counseling, and school psychologists earn a median salary of $76,990. (

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According to this website, psychiatrists earn approximately the same as pediatricians and family doctors. The mean annual wage for psychiatrists is $163,600. (

According to Payscale, the average salary for child psychiatrists is $215,000, with a range between $144,000 and $277,000. A regular psychiatrist earns an average salary of $202,000. (

Your salary in this field will vary on your level of experience. reports a first-year psychiatrist can earn a salary of $184,000, and one with more than 20 years of experience can earn $228,000.

Your salary will also vary by the city in which you live:

  • San Francisco: +1%
  • Los Angeles: -1%
  • Houston: -3%
  • Chicago: -4%
  • Boston: -5%

This source reports the average salary for all psychiatrists is $260,000, with a range between $51,000 and $398,000. The majority of psychiatrists earn between $205,000 and $304,000. (

US News and World Reports

This source states the median salary for child psychiatrists is $208,000, with a range between $143,000 and $208,000. (

Job Outlook for Child Psychiatrists

BLS data shows employment for all physicians, including psychiatrists, will rise by 7% by 2028, faster than average. It is thought the growing and aging US population will increase the need for doctors and psychiatrists. As the population gets older, and there are more chronic illnesses, consumers will want to have more psychiatric care to deal with their mental health problems. (

The field of psychology also is poised for strong job growth. BLS reports there will be a 14% increase in psychology jobs by 2028, which is much faster than average. Employment of clinical psychologists and counseling psychologists should grow because of more demand for psychological services in educational institutions, hospitals, and mental health centers. Psychiatrists can prescribe medicines, so the demand for psychologists who can prescribe drugs should be quite high. (

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If you earn your MD in psychiatry, you will have many strong career possibilities before you with the potential of a high salary. Most MDs can earn approximately $200,000 per year or more. The best psychology career paths for child psychiatrists involve working in private practice, which can be very lucrative. Working as a psychiatrist for a government agency also pays very well.

Increased demand for psychiatric services is likely as the US population is aging and living healthier than ever before. More Americans want to have their mental health problems addressed. Becoming a child psychiatrist is an excellent career path with a high ceiling for salary.