How To Become A Pediatrician

Pediatricians are a type of physician that specialize in working directly with children. They see patients from the time they are newborn, up until 21 years of age. A pediatrician is trained to understand how a person’s medical needs are different as a child than as an adult. It takes several years of training in order to become a pediatrician, including going to undergraduate school, medical school, and completing a pediatric residency.

Why Become A Pediatrician

Pediatricians provide healthcare for children, from newborns up through young adults. They diagnose all kinds of illnesses and injuries. They treat common illnesses, infectious diseases, and administer vaccinations. Pediatricians go into this specialty – as opposed to other medical practices – because they enjoy working with children.

Pediatricians take the medical history of a patient. They order any tests and allow nurses to perform them. They review test results and diagnose based upon findings. They give a plan of treatment for illnesses. They make order additional testing for injuries and serious conditions. They talk to parents about concerns they have about their child’s wellbeing.

This is a good career for people who want to be doctors, like working with children, are compassionate, good problem solvers, and want to help others.

Pediatricians should possess the following qualities and skills:

Pediatrician Work Environment

Pediatricians work in healthcare environments, either in hospitals, clinics, or in their own private offices. They work directly with children, from newborns up to teenagers. They often share a large number of patients with other doctors, if they are not working in their own private office. Pediatricians work long hours, and may even travel between different hospitals and clinics in order to care for patients.

There will always be emergency and urgent care situations that come up as a physician, and pediatricians need to be available at a moment’s notice to deal with these kinds of emergencies. They often have to be on call, answering questions over the phone. Pediatricians have to work weekends. They are often on their feet all day long, moving from room to room, seeing patients with all kinds of illnesses and injuries.

Pediatrician Salary

The median annual salary for pediatricians was $212,000 in 2017.

A pediatrician is a highly specialized type of physician, who works with children. Pediatricians are one of the lowest paid specialties within the field of medicine. Despite this, they still have quite a lucrative salary. Pediatricians are paid well due to their high level of expertise and knowledge in their field.

t is also important to keep in mind that pediatricians have several years of medical school they must complete in order to become a pediatrician. Along with this comes hundreds of thousands of dollars in student debt. This is important to take into consideration when choosing a career as a pediatrician.

Average Pediatrician Annual Salary


The average annual salary for pediatricians is $187,540 a year. Salaries start at $82,670 a year and go up to $208,000 a year.

Average Pediatrician Hourly Wage


The average hourly wage for a pediatrician is $90.16. Hourly wages are between $39.74 and $100 an hour.

Stats were based out of 28,990 employed pediatricians in the United States.

Highest Paying States For Pediatricians

Top Paying Cities For Pediatricians

Data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Pediatrician Career Outlook

Employment for pediatricians is expected to increase by 15 percent from 2016 to 2026, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is a much faster rate of growth than many other jobs. This will result in approximately 5,000 new job openings for pediatricians across the country during this 10 year period.

Medical professions show no signs of slowing down. Healthcare is a field that will always be needed. Pediatricians will continue to be needed to take care of the childhood population. Those who are willing to work in rural and low-income areas will have an easier time finding jobs because there is a great need for people in those areas, and fewer people willing to work in rural and low-income areas.

Pediatrician Degree

It takes several years of education to become a pediatrician. First, a person must earn a bachelor’s degree. Then they must apply for and get accepted into medical school. Medical school typically takes an additional four years of education. After medical school, they must apply for residency, where they decide to further specialize in pediatrics. This typically takes three years. Altogether it can take about 11 or so years until a person is licensed to work as a pediatrician.

The first step is undergraduate coursework. Many people choose to earn a degree in a physical science such as biology or chemistry. Any program that gives you a good background in the sciences will provide a strong foundation for a profession in medicine. It takes four years to earn a bachelor’s degree.

The next step is applying to medical schools. There are two types of medical degrees: a Doctor of Medicine (MD) and a Doctor of Osteopathic (DO). You should decide which type you want, or if you want to apply for both kinds of programs. You will need to take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) exam in order to apply for medical school. Once accepted, you will spend the first two years taking advanced classes, specifically focusing on the medical field. The last two years are spent in rotations at hospitals and clinics, learning in-depth about the many specialties within the medical field.

At the end of your four-year medical school program, you must apply for residency programs. If you still wish to become a pediatrician at this point, you can apply for pediatrician programs at residency hospitals. You will be “matched” with a place of residency, where you will further learn to specialize in pediatrics. It takes three years before you become licensed as a pediatrician.

Pediatrician Coursework

Microbiology: In this course students learn about many different kinds of microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, algae, fungi and more. Major emphasis is placed upon classification, genetics, ecology, physiology, physical and chemical control and economic importance. An introduction to applications of microbiology to food and water analysis, industry and medicine, including principles of immunology and transmission of infectious diseases.

Immunology: In this course, students learn about the principles of immunology. They are introduced to the development of the immune system, innate immunity, immunoglobulin structure and genetics, antigen-antibody reactions, the major histocompatibility complex reactions and antigen presentation, T cell receptors (genetics, structure, selection), T cell activation and effector functions, immune responses to infectious organisms and tumors, autoimmune diseases, autoimmunity, allergies, and immune deficiencies.

Pharmacology: In this course, students learn about human diseases and drugs used in their treatment. Students explore pharmacology concepts, drug therapies, and common pathologies. Emphasis is placed on disease etiology, symptoms, and diagnostic measures, as well as drug administration and dosage.

Pediatrician Career Path

Career Overview Responsibilities Education Required Benefits
Pediatric Surgeon A pediatric surgeon performs surgery on children of all ages. Pediatric surgeons form treatment plans using various types of equipment such as ultrasound. They have specialized training to correct birth defects. They may treat trauma cases and injuries in children. It takes an additional two years of fellowship experience after the completed pediatric residency in order to become a pediatric surgeon. A pediatric surgeon receives a higher salary and is involved in more detailed care of pediatric work. They often perform complex surgeries that many others are not able to perform.

Related Pediatrician Careers

Family Physician: A family physician treats people of all ages, from children to adults. They are also known as primary care physicians. They are trained in a wide range of medical ailments. They provide basic, comprehensive health care for all of their patients.

Internal Medicine: Physicians who practice internal medicine focus on adults. They also focus on common general medical conditions, and are considered to be primary care physicians. Their experience includes internal medicine subspecialties such as endocrinology, rheumatology, neurology, and infectious diseases.

Surgeon: A surgeon is a type of physician who has spent years training to perform surgery. They treat injuries, diseases and more through operations. They often perform general surgery. Some choose to specialize in a certain type of surgery, such as pediatric surgery. Of course, there are many kinds of surgery, such as cardiovascular or neurological.

More Careers To Explore

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