In an argument, supporting expert evidence will really help prove a case. The same is true in the courtroom and during media interviews. This is why Psychiatrists who are Expert Witness and Media Consultants are so valuable in today's society. These individuals, with expert medical knowledge, can help win cases or sway audiences. However, contrary to popular belief, the path of learning how to become an expert witness and media consultant is not as simple as you might think.
What is a Psychiatrist who is an Expert Witness and Media Consultant?
An Expert Witness or Media Consultant Psychiatrist is a medical doctor (either a M.D. or a D.O) who serves as a paid witness or expert spokesperson as a result of their knowledge or experience within psychiatry. The majority of Expert Witness or Media Consultant Psychiatrists begin as Forensic Psychiatrist, as these professionals typically spend time in the judicial system.
According to the Psychiatric Times, about 80 percent of civil cases and 50 percent of felony prosecutions call for expert witness testimony. Psychiatrists may speak to the court or media in order to educate about or clarify psychiatric issues. These qualities include proper qualifications, good communication skills, and familiarity with legal standards and procedures. Expert Witness and Media Consultant Psychiatrists should have some legal education and knowledge of court proceeding.
Prior to giving testimony of doing a media interview, it is suggested that Psychiatrist who are Expert Witnesses and Media Consultants prepare and rehearse. Expert Witnesses should also prepare for the opposing attorney's cross-examination by considering possible holes in their argument and how to best articulate the message.
Understanding the Educational Path to Become a
Psychiatrist who is an Expert Witness and Media Consultant
A medical doctorate degree and psychiatric residency are the primary educational requirements for a profession as a board-certified Psychiatrist, which is required to serves as an Expert Witness or Media Consultant Psychiatrist. However, the educational path begins by receiving a Bachelor's Degree from an accredited college or university. Psychiatry is a highly complex field of study; as such, a successful candidate will possess strong skills in math and science, written and verbal communications.
They also need a positive demeanor and strong interpersonal skills, as these enhance credibility with juries and audiences. Expert Witness’ must also exhibit characteristics flexibility since testimonies do not always occur at scheduled times. This skill set is often the focus of core educational course study while in college.
Educational Path of a Psychiatrist
Earn a bachelor's degree.
A bachelor’s degree is the first higher-education step toward becoming a Psychosomatic Psychiatrist. Although candidates complete a broad range of undergraduate majors, students should complete the courses the American Association of Medical Colleges found most medical schools require as prerequisites: biology, physics, and chemistry, along with written and oral communication course study.
During their undergraduate degree, students wanting to gain an edge in the competitive medical school application pool would benefit from taking career and advanced education oriented steps like joining pre-medical organizations, completing community service at mental health centers, shadowing physicians and studying for the MCAT (Medical College Admissions Test). Before graduating, a candidate should apply to medical school. Medical school is a four-year process, leading to an advanced degree in the medical field, either a M.D. or D.O.
Complete a medical school program
During medical school, future Expert Witness or Media Consultant Psychiatrists spend their first year primarily in the classroom absorbing knowledge in areas like anatomy, histology, pathology, biochemistry, psychology, ethics and preparing for Objective Structured Clinical Exams. The second year, while still in the classroom, is more clinically focused. A third and fourth year student will transition into clinical rotations and gain exposure to a wide range of potential specializations, including psychiatry.
Complete a Residency
Following medical school, graduates pursuing psychiatry should elect to complete their four-year residency in the specialty. Psychiatry residents need to complete 36 months of additional training after the first year of general residency, as required by the American Psychiatric Association. These three years focus on specific training areas, such as psychopharmacology, substance abuse and cognitive behavioral therapy.
Psychiatrists should be aware that board certification, which is necessary for legal practice, must be renewed every 10 years. Continued education is required in order to renew certification, and credits for the psychiatric field must meet specific standards. For more information about continuing education requirements, review the ABPN website. Continuing Education is available for Psychiatrists interested in serving as Expert Witnesses.
Understanding the Career Path of Becoming an Expert Witness Psychiatrist
Psychiatrists who serve as Expert Witnesses and Media Consultants often work in full-time private practice or part of a group practice. They may also conduct research and author education materials. Most often, Expert Witness and Media Consultant Psychiatrists work in the field of Forensic Psychiatry. However, this specialty is not a requirement to work as an Expert Witness or Media Consultant.
Psychiatrist who are Expert Witnesses of Media Consultants often gain niche expertise and then market themselves as Expert Witnesses and Media consultants while running their regular practices.
Professional organizations can be used as a means for networking, community service, think tanks, research, continued education and specialized learning. Expert Witness Psychiatrists should consider joining the Forensic Expert Witness Association.
The American Psychiatric Association (APA) dominates the psychiatry market with a membership of more than 36,000. It is currently the world’s largest professional organization focused on psychiatry.
While speaking with the media sometimes pays and at other times serves as publicity, Expert Witnesses in court receive an expert witness fee. According to SEAK, Inc., medical expert witnesses are paid an average of $555 per hour. Medical expert witnesses earn more than double (124 percent more) what non-medical expert witnesses earn.
While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does not track data for the Psychiatrists who are Expert Witnesses and Media Consultants, the mean annual wage for psychiatrists in general is $182,660.While a 2013 Medscape report found average compensation for psychiatrists was higher than pediatrics, internal medicine and family medicine, it still ranked in the lower third of physician incomes by specialty.
According to the Royal College of Psychiatrists, there is an increasing tendency in to rely on expert medical evidence in legal proceedings. While formerly the expert witness role has defaulted to those in Forensic Psychiatry, there has recently been an increasing demand for psychiatrists from other specialties to take this work.
Research by AMN Healthcare Company Merritt Hawkins found that psychiatry is one of the most in demand medical professions. The National Institute of Mental Health reports that 1 in 4 adults suffer from a mental disorder each year. Although psychiatric specialties have increased among medical residents, there is still a growing need for psychiatrists, offering a promising job outlook.