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Child and adolescent psychiatry

In child and adolescent psychiatry (CAP), doctors work with children, young people (up to the age of 18) and their families. They treat a range of mental health problems and conditions including autism spectrum disorders, depression, anxiety, substance misuse and eating disorders.

Training and qualifications required

Training usually starts with a five year first degree in medicine. You’ll then complete two years of foundation training and three years of core training (CT1-3), followed by three years of specialty training (ST4-6). This period of training will include completing your royal college exams. Length of training can vary according to your circumstances.

Expected working hours and salary range

Doctors may work up to 48 hours a week. The working hours may sometimes extend beyond the normal working day to include early mornings, evenings.On call possible. Pay scales (2017): Consultants earn between £76,761 and £103,490.

Desirable skills and values

You’ll need to be flexible, with excellent communication skills and the ability to see things from a child’s perspective. You’ll be able to work under pressure and take initiative in challenging situations, but you’ll also monitor developing situations and anticipate issues. You’ll have empathy, compassion and emotional resilience, and show good motivational and leadership skills. Problem solving with an analytical and scientific approach will be important.


There are 649 consultants in child and adolescent psychiatry in England in 2016. Opportunities exist for research and teaching.
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