If you are considering a career as a physician, you may be curious about how to become a pediatrician or what you can expect out of a career in pediatrics. Like many medical fields, pediatrics has its share of challenges and rewards.

Pediatrics offers unique opportunities to shape your career in a personally meaningful way. There are many different specialties to choose from, so you can find one that suits your interests and strengths. You’ll also have the chance to work with children of all ages, from newborns to teenagers. This allows you to develop long-term relationships with your patients and their families. And because pediatrics is such a diverse field, you’ll always have the chance to learn new things and keep up with the latest advancements in medical care.

What Is a Pediatrician?

A pediatrician is a medical professional who specializes in the health and well-being of infants, children, adolescents, and young adults. Pediatric care begins at birth and extends through a child’s 21st birthday or beyond. Pediatricians focus on preventing, detecting, and managing physical, behavioral, and developmental issues that affect children. Some pediatricians work in general practice, while others specialize in treating children with specific health conditions.

Pediatrician duties

With specialized training in child health, these medical professionals undertake diverse responsibilities to promote, maintain, and restore children’s health. 

That said, pediatrician responsibilities include but are not limited to;

  • Conducting regular well-child checkups
  • Diagnosing and treating illnesses, injuries, and other health conditions
  • Providing preventive care and vaccinations
  • Prescribing medication
  • Listening to parents’ concerns and answering their questions
  • Offering health advice to parents
  • Referring families to specialists as needed.

How to Become a Pediatrician

To become a pediatrician, one must undergo extensive education and training. This process includes:

  • A four-year undergraduate degree with pre-medical courses such as biology and chemistry
  • Four years of medical school, including coursework in anatomy, physiology, and clinical rotations in various areas of medicine
  • A three-year pediatric residency program, which includes training in pediatric specialties
  • Optionally, additional training in pediatric subspecialties through fellowship programs is also needed.

How long does it take to become a pediatrician?

To become a pediatrician, one must complete at least nine years of schooling, including four years of undergraduate school, four years of medical school (or six years at a combined university), and three years of a pediatric residency. 

Some pediatricians spend an additional two to six years training in a subspecialty. During training, all pediatricians must have at least 12,000 to 14,000 patient care hours.

Skills needed to become a pediatrician

Becoming a pediatrician requires a blend of academic excellence, interpersonal skills, and a deep commitment to the well-being of children. 

  • Communication Skills – Possess excellent communication abilities to effectively interact with young patients, as well as their parents or guardians. Clear and empathetic communication is essential in explaining medical conditions and treatment plans.
  • Interpersonal Finesse – Demonstrate patience, compassion, and emotional resilience to navigate the sensitive nature of pediatric care and manage potentially challenging situations with composure and empathy.
  • Continuous Learning – Stay updated with advancements in medical research and technology to provide the best possible care to pediatric patients. 
  • Passion for Pediatric Care – Maintain a genuine passion for improving the lives of children, as success in pediatric medicine requires a deep commitment to the well-being and development of young patients.

Careers in Pediatrics

Pediatric professionals typically work with children from birth until they reach adulthood. There are numerous career options in pediatrics, which means you can find a job that aligns with your interests and skills. Below is a list of some careers in pediatrics that you may want to consider if you enjoy working with children:

  • Adolescent Medicine
  • Child Abuse Pediatrics
  • Developmental And Behavioral Pediatrics
  • Medical Toxicology
  • Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine
  • Pediatric Cardiology
  • Pediatric Critical Care Medicine
  • Pediatric Emergency Medicine
  • Pediatric Endocrinology
  • Pediatric Gastroenterology
  • Pediatric Hematology-Oncology
  • Pediatric Hospital Medicine
  • Pediatric Infectious Disease
  • Pediatric Nephrology
  • Pediatric Pulmonology
  • Pediatric Rheumatology
  • Pediatric Sports Medicine
  • Pediatric Transplant Hepatology
  • Pediatric Surgeon

Pediatrician Job Outlook and Salary

The job outlook for pediatricians is generally positive, with opportunities for specialization in various subfields of pediatrics. The median annual salary of a pediatrician is approximately $205,860. 

The top-paying industries for Pediatricians, General, are as follows:

Industry Employment Percent of industry employment Hourly mean wage Annual mean wage
Medical and Diagnostic Laboratories 60 0.02 $ 120.92 $ 251,520
Local Government, excluding Schools and Hospitals (OEWS Designation) 70 (7) $ 118.79 $ 247,080
Specialty (except Psychiatric and Substance Abuse) Hospitals 170 0.06 $ 107.03 $ 222,610
Outpatient Care Centers 2,030 0.19 $ 106.84 $ 222,220
Offices of Physicians 22,960 0.81 $ 100.51 $ 209,070

Bottom Line

Becoming a pediatrician is a rewarding and fulfilling career path that offers unique opportunities to impact the lives of children and their families positively. With extensive education and training, pediatricians are equipped to provide comprehensive care, from preventive services to diagnosing and treating illnesses.

Frequenlty Asked Questions (FAQs):

What are the essential skills needed to become a successful pediatrician?

Successful pediatricians possess excellent communication skills, interpersonal finesse, a commitment to continuous learning, and a genuine passion for pediatric care.

How long does it take to become a pediatrician?

It typically takes at least nine years of schooling to become a pediatrician, including four years of undergraduate studies, four years of medical school, and three years of pediatric residency. 

What are some career options within pediatrics?

There are various career options within pediatrics, including adolescent medicine, developmental and behavioral pediatrics, pediatric cardiology, pediatric emergency medicine, pediatric gastroenterology, pediatric oncology, and many more.

What is the job outlook and salary for pediatricians?

The job outlook for pediatricians is generally positive, with opportunities for specialization in various subfields. The median annual salary for pediatricians is approximately $205,860, with variations based on industry and location.