Five Professions that Use the DSM-5

Psychology Careers that Require DSM-5 Training

  • Psychologist
  • Nurse Practitioner
  • Primary Care Physician
  • Clinician
  • Clinical Social Worker

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is the industry standard for psychology professions that involve diagnosing and treating mental illness. From clinical psychologists to primary care physicians, the healthcare professionals who rely on the DSM-5 occupy diverse and important positions in their respective fields. When it comes to diagnosing mental disorders, it’s important for mental health professionals to have a high degree of accuracy and confidence in their assessments. The DSM-5 provides the tools and information needed to determine the underlying causes of various sets of symptoms experienced by patients in clinics and hospitals.

1. Psychologist

Psychologists are academic professionals who have training in a specialized area, such as clinical psychology, cognitive behavioral therapy or dialectical behavioral therapy. They may work in university research labs, hospitals, clinics or private practices. Part of the job of a psychologist is to assess and understand mental disorders, and the DSM-5 helps them gauge the condition of a patient in a clinical setting. The requirements to become a psychologist are extensive. A professional psychologist must have a doctor of philosophy or doctor of psychology degree before being qualified to counsel patients. Obtaining a Ph.D. or Psy.D. requires six to eight years of postgraduate training.

2. Nurse Practitioner

Nurse practitioners are specialized nursing professionals with advanced credentials, such as a master’s degree, doctoral degree or board certification in nursing. In some cases, they’re qualified to assess and diagnose mental health conditions in patients. Nurse practitioners are responsible for treating patients with conditions ranging from substance abuse disorders to autism spectrum disorders. The credentials necessary to become a nurse practitioner vary, depending on the state issuing the licensing. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job of a nurse practitioner is one of the fastest-growing occupations in the country, with job openings expected to increase by 31 percent over the next decade.

3. Primary Care Physician

Primary care physicians treat patients for a variety of conditions. They’re the first health care professionals who assess and diagnose illnesses in patients, and they often have to consult the DSM-5 to identify the symptoms of a mental health disorder. A primary care physician doesn’t need to have extensive training in psychology, but he or she may need to identify a mental condition in order to refer a patient to a specialist.

4. Clinician

A clinician is a mental health professional with a master’s degree in psychology or a related discipline. Clinicians are responsible for diagnosing and treating a range of mental disorders from depression to anxiety. They should be familiar with many of the topics covered in the DSM-5 so that they can competently diagnose patients who are suffering from mental illness and offer them treatment or refer them to a specialist.

5. Clinical Social Worker

When it comes to helping members of disadvantaged communities come to grips with mental health challenges, clinical social workers are leading experts. These professionals must have training in cognitive behavioral therapy, sociology and other areas of social work because they need to assess mental health conditions, recommend treatments in some cases and refer patients to psychiatrists or doctors in other cases.

The DSM-5 is an important text for mental health professionals because it comprehensively outlines the symptoms, treatment, and protocols associated with various mental illnesses. Mental health care workers from nurses to clinical psychologists should study and understand the fundamental concepts described in the DSM-5.