As a medical student or someone who’s considering going to medical school, you might have wondered if pediatrics is the path for you. Here we’ll look at the journey to becoming a pediatrician and what actually happens when you become one.
Pediatricians are doctors who provide medical care for individuals from birth until the age of 21. You collaborate with parents, family members, medical experts, and community members to evaluate and treat children’s and teenagers’ health issues. You are trained to identify trends in their development and to diagnose health concerns.
The Path of a Pediatrician
Qualifying to practice pediatrics can take longer than other careers, rounding up to about 10-12 years.
The education path starts by first completing a bachelor’s degree in a related field. Then, you attend medical school for four years and another three years of residency. After, you decide whether to become a general pediatrician or a subspecialist. If the latter, you attend another one to three years of special pediatric training.
In the U.S., pediatricians are licensed by the state they practice in. You must pass three national tests called the United States Medical Licensing Examinations (USMLE). In addition, most hospitals require a license from the American Board of Pediatrics Certifying Examination after your general pediatric training to be board-certified.
To continuously learn about the field, you can take a postdoctoral fellowship or take part in training programs.
A Day in the Life
While each day is different, pediatricians are generally responsible for helping children and teens feel comfortable during their check-ups. You assess their symptoms, diagnose, and prescribe medications. You also advise parents and family members on what to do about their kids’ health issues.
Beyond the routine check-ups, pediatricians’ days include duties like:
- Attending care meetings with health care teams.
- Checking residents’ notes.
- Doing hospital rounds to talk to patients and their families.
- Interpreting lab results.
- Ordering necessary tests for patients.
- Participating in education or patient care conferences.
- Providing free medical services to communities.
- Recommending specialized care.
- Researching new diseases, treatment, or preventive measures.
- Teaching medical students and residents.
- Volunteering in school or government programs.
- Working with policymakers and stakeholders.
Typically, you work about 50 hours per week alongside other physicians. However, you can have an unstable work schedule, especially having to remain on-call in case of an emergency or if a patient is undergoing treatment.
Pediatricians also have different workplaces. You can work in hospitals, your own private clinic, or community health centers. Others operate in health organizations, public clinics, schools, or company offices. Where you end up working depends on your own goals, desires, and family or social situations.
Once you complete your training and build your credentials as a pediatrician, you can earn comfortable money doing rewarding work.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, pediatricians can earn from a range of $68,860 to $126,690. The median annual salary goes up to $170,560.
Choosing a career in pediatrics entails genuine care for babies, children, teens, and young adults. Now that you know more about what it’s like to be a pediatrician, you can better assess if this is the best choice for your professional goals.
If you need any guidance, C.H.H.A is here to help. Contact us today to learn more.Back to All Articles