Psychiatrists are medical doctors who combine therapy with medications to treat mental, social and emotional disorders. Their education, as with all doctors, is one of the longest and most demanding of any profession, requiring four years of undergraduate study, four years of medical school and three to eight years of internship and residency. This long training is rewarded with some of the highest salaries in the nation. In California, this compensation varies by area.
California’s 3,260 psychiatrists make a median $88.93 per hour or $184,980 per year, states the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2009. This profession is part of the health care practitioner occupational group, which includes medical doctors and nurses. Psychiatrists make more than double the mean wages for this group, which are $39.85 per hour or $82,880. Their salaries are also triple the mean wages of $23.82 per hour or $49,550 per year, for all 14.5 million employed individuals in the state.
The compensation of psychiatrists in California is more than the mean for the 22,210 psychiatrists throughout the nation, which is $78.68 per hour or $163,660 per year. It is also more than double the wages for all 7.2 million health care practitioners in the U.S., which is $33.51 or $69,690 per year. It is over four times the national mean of $20.90 per hour or $43,460 per year for all 130.34 million employed in the U.S.
San Francisco is the most populous city of Northern California, though not nearly as populated as many cities in the southern part of the state. This city contains 290 psychiatrists, who earn a mean $89.75 per hour or $186,690 per year. This is close to double the mean of $44.76 per hour or $93,100 per year for all 38,780 health care practitioners in the city. It is almost triple the mean $29.78 per hour or $61,940 per year for all 982,930 occupations in the city.
The nation’s second most populated city, Los Angeles, is the biggest metropolis in Southern California. It provides work for 1,280 psychiatrists, who earn a mean $72.98 per hour or $151,790 per year. Note how these salaries are lower than those earned by psychiatrists in San Francisco, where a high cost of living boosts all incomes in general. Even so, the Los Angeles mean for psychiatrists is nearly double the wages of $38.03 per hour or $79,110 per year for all health care practitioners in the city. It is almost triple the pay for all 3.9 million employed in the city, who earn a mean $23.56 per hour or $49,010 per year.