Psychiatry vs Clinical Psychology: what is the difference? 

Today I wanted to clarify two different careers that work with mental illness- Psychiarists and Psychologists. They are very similar, but very different. Enjoy! 

So I attended a Medicine Calling event called “With a Spotlight on Psychiatry” at Leicester University. I will share some insights that they taught me. 

Just take moment to think about your answers to these questions… 

Are psychiarists doctors? How about clinical psychologists, are they doctors? 

Do either of these career choices need you do have a medical degree? 

What would be the best opitions at A level to secure a place on the needed courses? 

Read on to know discover the answers! 

While I have decided to take the path of Clinical Psychology, both are very rewarding ways to get to diagnose, work with and treat people with mental health disorders. Both careers are considered to be doctors but they are quite different in the education you need. 


Psychiary can be defined as a medical speciality. Psychiarists tend to work with the more severe end of the spectrum of mental illness- such as chronic Schizophrenia. Psychiarists are medical doctors that can prescribe medicines, such as antidepressants, to control symptoms of mental illness.  

Psychiarty is the act of teaching people to stand on their own two feet while reclining on couches

-Sigmand Freud 

To become a psychiatrist you need a medical degree. Medicine is one of the most competitive university courses to get on, so it would be advisable to pick 2 science A levels (Biology, Chemistry, Physics) and then one contrastng A level, such as English Lit, French or History. It would also be important to get some work experience through the NHS or in other care settings such as a care home.  Good places to find volunteer work: 

  1. Vinspired
  2.  Get Involved Northamptionshire
  3. Do It

Clinical Psychology  

Clinical Psychology can be described as a specialism  of psychology, thay are doctors but without a medical degree. They cannot prescribe drugs and they usually specialise in a type of treatment such as CBT. 

Man can alter his life by altering his opinon 

-William James

To become a clinical psychologist, you can take a psychology degree at university. It is advisiable to take at least one science subject AND psychology or maths. It would be important to show a passion for psychology through attending lectures, events and further reading. 

Some good places to start Psychology TED talks and Psychology Today

So whatever you decide, both careers are highly competitive but rewarding ways to work with mental illness. I will link here a post by “Learn How To Become” that allows you to explore more careers that work with mental illness if it is something you are interested in. Also, here is a insightful post by Psychology Today of interviews from people who work with mental illness.   


Author: Olivia Taylor

Hi! I’m Olivia. and I am here to tell you about everything Psychology. I study Biology, English Literature and, of course, Psychology at A level, which are all fantastic subjects to learn. I hope that through this blog I can show you a little bit about a subject that has always fascinated me. I am mainly known around the school for my win in the CET 2016 speech competition and my participation in Young Enterprise. I hope you enjoy my posts and I can help you discover if my subject is right for you!

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