How To Become a Pediatrician (Education, Training and Certification)

Callie Torres is a Captain in the United States Air Force and a resident at Wash U/Barnes Jewish Hospital in St Louis. She is a freelance writer with many published medical articles as well as multiple peer-reviewed medical publications

Pediatricians must attend at least nine years of schooling. That includes four years of undergraduate school and four years of medical school (or six years at a combined university), plus three years of a pediatric residency. Some pediatricians spend another two to six years training in a subspecialty.

So You Want to Be a PEDIATRICIAN [Ep. 24]

How to become a pediatrician

Follow these steps to meet the requirements to practice as a pediatrician and get your first job in pediatrics:

1. Spend time working with children

2. Earn a bachelors degree related to medicine

Begin an undergraduate degree with a focus on science and medicine to start getting ready for medical school. Not all pediatricians major in pre-medicine, but it can be helpful to take classes related to science, anatomy and biology so you can satisfy all of the medical school requirements.

If possible, its also a good idea to take classes related to childhood development. Many sociology and education departments offer courses that will teach you about children and adolescents. This can give you an advantage when you begin your pediatric studies during medical school. Getting involved with clubs, internships and extracurriculars can also help you earn admission to a good medical program.

3. Take the MCAT and apply for medical school

Medical school applications typically consist of your MCAT scores, a background check, school transcripts, letters of recommendation and a personal statement. Edit and proofread your application thoroughly, and be sure to submit it before any deadlines.

4. Complete a pediatric residency

Once you complete medical school, you can begin your specialized education in pediatrics through a pediatric residency. Although you might learn some information about pediatric medicine during medical school, your residency is when you can gain the most hands-on experience interacting with real patients and observing experienced pediatricians. Pediatric residencies typically last three years, where you can l slowly earn more responsibility until you can treat patients independently.

During their training, pediatric residents learn how to work in a range of clinical environments, such as the pediatric ICU and community health centers. You can learn about common health problems that impact children, communication methods and age-appropriate ways to discuss medical issues.

5. Apply for your medical license

Once you pass the USMLE, you can apply for a license in your state. Each state medical board has its specific qualifications, so you should prepare by researching the requirements in whichever state you want to practice medicine.

5. Pursue a pediatric fellowship

Pediatric fellowships are programs where you learn more about a specific type of pediatric medicine. You dont have to complete a fellowship to become a pediatrician, but it can strengthen your job applications and help you qualify for specialized positions. Pediatric fellowships usually last two or three years and can focus on areas like neonatal medicine, pediatric surgery or child psychiatry. During the program, you can learn from highly experienced pediatricians learning advanced procedures and innovative treatment methods.

6. Become board certified

7. Apply to hospitals, clinics or private medical practices

After completing your education, training and certification, you can start working independently as a pediatrician. Many pediatricians eventually open a private practice, but its a good idea to start as an employee at a clinic or hospital where you can learn the basics of being a pediatrician. Apply for jobs at institutions where you can work in your desired specialty and continuously advance your skills.

What is a pediatrician?

A pediatrician is a type of doctor who specializes in working with patients under the age of 18. Some pediatricians may further specialize in a particular age group, such as infants or toddlers, or a type of pediatric medicine, such as pediatric cardiology. Pediatricians are involved with all aspects of their patients health, from tracking a childs developmental benchmarks to diagnosing and treating disease.

What does a pediatrician do?

To provide the best standard of care for patients, pediatricians have a wide range of responsibilities. Their specific duties can vary based on their specialty, but some common responsibilities include:

National average salary for a pediatrician

Depending on their specialty, pediatricians can work in a range of clinical, research or office environments. They typically work in doctors offices and hospitals treating patients, but may also spend time teaching classes, consulting with health organizations or conducting clinical trials and other research projects. Pediatricians tend to work long hours, especially if they work in a critical care unit or emergency room.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article is affiliated with Indeed.

FAQ

What is the fastest way to become a pediatrician?

7 Steps to Becoming a Pediatrician
  1. Obtain a bachelor’s degree. To apply to medical school, you must first complete your undergraduate studies. …
  2. Take the MCAT. …
  3. Apply to medical school. …
  4. Graduate from medical school. …
  5. Begin the licensure process. …
  6. Apply for and complete a residency in pediatrics. …
  7. Become board certified.

What is the best major to become a pediatrician?

What Should I Major in to Become a Pediatrician ? Most pediatricians, 40% to be exact, major in medicine. Some other common majors for a pediatrician include nursing and biology majors.

Is becoming a pediatrician hard?

Becoming a pediatrician requires many years of hard work and tons of smarts. For those with the skills and determination to see it through, it can be a gratifying and lucrative profession.

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