Pediatrician Schooling

As a general pediatric physician, you can help prevent and treat childhood illnesses. However, becoming a pediatrician takes many years of schooling and training. Read on to discover what education you'll need to work as a pediatrician. Schools offering Health Science degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Pediatric Medicine Career Overview

If you decide to work as a pediatrician, you'll specialize in the medical treatment of children. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), your patients will likely range in age from infants to young adults ( In addition to treating children for injuries and diseases, you'll also monitor their development, prevent potential illnesses and track their mental health. Depending on your pediatric subspecialty, you may also operate on your patients or work with a team of other physicians in order to provide your patients with the treatment they need.

In May 2018, the BLS reported that pediatricians earned a median annual wage of $170,560. That salary often comes after many years of education and on-the-job training. Below is a look at the schooling required to become a pediatrician.

Important Facts About Pediatric Physician Education

Degree Level Graduate
Prerequisites Standardized test scores, courses in the core sciences, acceptable grade point average, recommendation letters, interviews
Online Availability No courses are available online
Possible Careers Physician, surgeon, developmental psychiatrist
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 15% growth (for all general pediatricians)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Go to Medical School

After completing an undergraduate degree in a science-related area, you'll need to attend medical school, where you'll spend four years learning about medicine from a broad standpoint. You'll spend your first two years of medical school in the classroom, where your courses might include topics like:

  • Anatomy
  • Pathophysiology
  • Patient care
  • Immunology and infectious disease
  • Human health

For your last two years of medical school, you'll participate in clerkships, also known as rotations. During this time, you'll spend between 4 and 8 weeks rotating through different hospitals and receiving hands-on, clinical practice in specific medical disciplines, including obstetrics and gynecology, neurology and psychiatry, general medicine, surgery and pediatrics. Your pediatric clerkship experiences should help prepare you for the more specialized clinical training you'll receive during your residency.

Complete a Residency in Pediatrics

During your residency, which will last at least three years, you'll build on the hands-on experience you earned during your medical school pediatrics rotation. As a resident, you'll be paid to help perform clinical pediatric duties, such as inpatient interviews, physical examinations and surgeries. You'll rotate through all the pediatric subspecialties, so that if you choose to pursue a fellowship after your residency, you'll have an idea of what area you'll want to focus on. Since you'll still be considered a student, you'll also be expected to complete academic coursework and research in addition to your clinical responsibilities. Your program may also expect you to take on additional duties as you progress through your residency.

Pursue a Fellowship

Once you finish your residency, you may choose to apply for a pediatric fellowship, which will allow you to further explore a subspecialty within the discipline. Examples of a few possible subspecialties are listed below:

  • General pediatrics
  • Allergy and immunology
  • Child and adolescent psychiatry
  • Epilepsy and clinical neurophysiology
  • Infectious diseases
  • Oncology
  • Surgery

In addition to participating in research, you'll also be expected to perform clinical duties, attend conferences and teach residents.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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