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Specialty Spotlights May 12, 2016

Specialty Spotlight: Locum Tenens Psychiatry Career & Salary Outlook

It's Mental Health Awareness Month, we are taking a closer look at the career prospects and job outlook for locum tenens psychology professionals. Welcome to Staff Care's Locum Psychologist Specialty Spotlight.

Locum Tenens Psychiatry Demand

According to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) 2012 Physician Specialty Data Book, physicians working in the psychiatry specialty — which is described as including addiction medicine, addiction psychiatry, psychoanalysis, and psychosomatic medicine, but as distinct from child and adolescent psychiatry — are among those with the largest number of active practitioners, behind internal medicine, family medicine, pediatrics, Ob/Gyn, and anesthesiology. Almost 39,000 psychiatrists were practicing in 2010, per the report; almost 8,000 physicians practiced in the child and adolescent psychiatry specialty, with no overlap between the two.

The same data shows that psychiatry is among the physician specialties with the most female practitioners, at more than 30 percent. And here, child and adolescent psychiatry is third on the list, with just short of half of all practitioners being female.

The AAMC also points out that psychiatrists are the medical specialty with the "highest percentage of active physicians practicing in the same state where they trained" — with 57.4% of child and adolescent psychiatry and 56.4% standard psychiatry.

Locum Tenens Psychiatry Salary Expectations

"If you become a psychiatrist, you'll have a lot of well-paid colleagues," points out The Nest is an overview of the advisability of psychiatry careers for women.

And that seems to be the consensus; psychiatrists are often cited as among the highest-paid professionals in the U.S., with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reporting a mean average hourly wage of $93.12 for psychiatrists, and an average psychiatry salary of $193,680 (based on numbers from May 2015).

Interestingly, the BLS data shows that the highest psychiatry salaries were for those physicians working in state government roles with an OES designation (with an hourly wage of $101.35), scientific research and developmental services ($106.45), and home healthcare roles ($111.25) — and that these roles were by far the most limited, with just 1,000, 40 and 50 positions nationwide for each of these segments, respectively.

And Salary.com's Salary Wizard lists the average annual psychiatry salary as being even higher, at $207,862, revealing that the top 90 percent of psychiatrists earn more than $250,000 annually.

Of course, locum tenens psychiatrist salary rates will vary depending on geography, experience, and demand; however, indicators are that physicians working in this specialty can expect very favorable rates of pay.

Demand Skyrocketing For Locum Tenens Psychiatry Physicians In The U.S.

Despite the prevalence of psychiatrists throughout the U.S., there's no shortage of opportunities for physicians practicing in this specialty. Indeed, Staff Care's 2015 Survey of Temporary Physician Staffing Trends ranked mental health and psychiatry professionals as second on the list of most-used locums physicians.

"About 30% of healthcare facility managers indicated they used locum tenens, behavioral health professionals, in the last 12 months, up from 24.1% in 2013 and down from 31% in 2012," the survey authors note.

Why the surging demand for locum psychiatrists in the U.S.? Staff Care's physician staffing experts attribute the demand for psychiatry and mental health professionals in America as “the Silent Shortage.”

In their “Silent Shortage” white paper, these experts explain that the need for qualified psychiatrists to fill locum tenens roles is greater than ever.

"This emerging crisis is due to a multitude of factors," the authors write, "including an aging psychiatrist population, a small percentage of medical school graduates choosing psychiatry residency programs (4%), and mental healthcare models that operate 'like a bus station,' stressing patient volume over the value of care."

There are other, pressing causes for America's increased need for psychiatrists. Citing the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) as its source, the Staff Care white paper points out that:

  • One in every five U.S. adults has experienced mental illness in some form
  • Almost one in every 20 U.S. adults (13.6 million) actively live with a serious mental illness
  • 60 percent of adults with a mental illness "received no mental health services in the previous year"
  • In the U.S., suicide is the third-leading cause of death for youths aged 10 to 24, and the 10th-leading cause of death for adults
  • The average delay between onset of mental health symptoms and intervention is eight to 10 years
  • More than $193 billion dollars in earnings are lost each year as a result of serious mental illness
  • 24 percent of inmates in state prisons have “a recent history of a mental health condition”

With Mental Health Awareness Month upon us, there's no better time to spread awareness of this growing demand for locum psychiatry professionals. You can help spread the word about Mental Health Month by sharing this article. And if you're a practicing psychiatrist seeking a new career opportunity, we invite you to search for available locum psychiatry job opportunities.


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