How to Become a Pediatrician

A pediatrician provides specialized medical care to children and teenagers.

To become a pediatrician, you must first train to become a medical doctor, then go on to complete further study in the field of pediatrics.

If you’re interested in a career in medicine, wanting to work with children, and good at studying and research, then you might like to consider working as a pediatrician.

The duties of a pediatrician are similar to that of a regular doctor.

They see their patients, diagnose and treat a range of illnesses, and also refer them on to other specialists for surgery or other related matters.

The major difference is that all of their patients are children.

A pediatrician must have a wide field of knowledge relating to children’s health to provide the highest level of care to their cases.

Having a caring manner and good skills when it comes to children will help you a lot in this role.

Your patients, as well as their parents, will need to put their trust in your abilities.

Having strong interpersonal and people skills, as well as academic skills, is integral in this field of medicine.

Education Requirements to Become a Pediatrician

There is quite a lot education involved when you become a pediatrician.

You will need to be good at math and science, and also enjoy studying and research.

You will need to first complete a four year bachelors degree with pre-med concentration at a college that is strong in health and science.

While you are there, concentrate on making good grades since you will need them to gain a place in medical school.

After you graduate from college, you’ll need to complete a four year doctorate degree at medical school.

You will complete either a doctorate of medicine, or a doctorate of surgery.

Most pediatricians complete the doctorate of medicine.

After medical school, you’ll need to complete an internship at a hospital which takes about one year to complete.

Following your internship, you will need to complete a residency in pediatrics, which will take around three years.

In all states pediatricians must be licensed to practice and take a national exam.

Pediatrician Job Description

When you become a pediatrician, your main role will be to promote the health of children.

Your patients may be newborn babies, toddlers, children, or adolescents.

Some pediatricians work in hospitals to check on the health of regular patients, such as newborn babies.

Others work in specialist clinics.

A pediatrician will use a wide range of methods to diagnose health conditions or diseases.

It could be simply asking a patient or their parents questions, to taking medical histories, running blood tests, taking x-rays, or other procedures.

A pediatrician may treat illness by diagnosing drugs, giving health and nutrition advice, referring a patient to surgery, or referring them to another specialist.

Here are some of the duties of a pediatrician

  • Communicating with patients and their parents
  • Communicating with other medical staff
  • Analyzing a medical history
  • Taking and analyzing blood work
  • Ordering other tests
  • Ordering x-rays
  • Prescribing drugs
  • Administrating immunizations
  • Completing paperwork and reports
  • Administrative tasks

Pediatrician Salary and Career Path

While some pediatricians will work in private clinics and work regular hours, many will be employed in hospitals and work a variety of shifts, as well as being on call at times.

While most pediatricians will stay within this role for the most part of their career, some will move into managerial roles within hospitals.

Other may leave practice for research or teaching positions.

Some examples of positions include:

  • Medical researcher
  • Medical Doctor
  • Professor
  • Chief of medicine
  • Medical department head

Employment prospects are very strong, there is currently a shortage of pediatricians, especially in rural areas.

You can be assured that there is enough work for pediatricians in both private and public practice.

The median salary for pediatricians is around $160,000 a year, while some make in excess of $200,000 annually.

Most will also receive benefits such as health, dental, and optical.

Those who work in private practice are likely to make a higher income than those who work out of hospitals, and salaries can range significantly between different geographic areas as well.

When you become a pediatrician, you can look forward to a challenging and rewarding career in the health sector.

While there is a great deal of education and hard work needed to qualify, salary and benefits are strong, and it can be a very rewarding opportunity for those pursuing this career.

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