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What Are the Duties and Responsibilities of a Pediatrician?

Pediatricians work with younger patients, from infants to young adults, to maintain their health, diagnose and treat illness, and monitor their development. A pediatric doctor has many important duties. Read on for a pediatrician job description and to learn about some pediatrician responsibilities.

Pediatric Doctor Career Overview

Pediatrician responsibilities include monitoring and documenting the health and development of younger individuals, diagnosing and treating common ailments and minor injuries, and administering vaccines.

Educational Requirements Bachelor's degree
Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.)
3-year residency
Key Skills Problem-solving skills, empathy, critical-thinking skills, written and verbal communication skills, stress tolerance
Work Environment Physicians' offices or hospitals
Licensure National licensure, corresponding with medical degree
Similar Occupations Family practitioner, physician assistant, registered nurse, child psychologist
Mean Annual Wage (2018)* $183,240
Job Outlook (2018-2028)* 2%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Pediatrician Job Description

Pediatricians specialize in the health care needs of infants, children, adolescents, and young adults. Most pediatricians are more general practitioners, although some may specialize in pediatric surgery or in more serious medical conditions that are more common in the younger population. Pediatrician duties include monitoring the health, growth, and development of their patients from birth. Pediatricians regularly see their patients for checkups. These checkups occur frequently from birth until the age of two, and then generally once a year through adolescence.

Pediatrician responsibilities include:

  • Diagnosing and treating common childhood ailments and minor injuries
  • Recommending patients for further treatments and to specialists when needed
  • Providing preventative care, including the recommendation of vaccines
  • Recording and maintaining the health and development information of their patients
  • Effectively communicating their patients' health, nutritional, and fitness needs to their guardians

Educational Requirements

In order to become a pediatric doctor, one must first earn a bachelor's degree and then attend medical school for pediatrics. Pediatricians must have one of the following types of medical degrees: a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) or a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.). Medical school programs are generally four-year programs. The first two years consist of coursework focused upon the human body, medical practice, and medical ethics. During the second two years, medical students, under the supervision of physicians, learn how to diagnose and treat patients, communicate with patients and other medical practitioners, and collaborate with other medical practitioners in a variety of settings. Following medical school, pediatric graduates complete a three-year residency. Upon the completion of their residency, candidates must then pass a national licensing exam.

Job Outlook and Salary Information

The mean annual wage for pediatricians reported by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in May 2018 was $183,240, which is at the lower end of the salary range for physicians and surgeons in general. The projected job growth between 2018 and 2028 is slow, at only 2%. This is in contrast with the job growth for physicians and surgeons in general, which is projected to be 7%. In May 2018, the BLS reports that most pediatricians work in the offices of physicians. Hospitals are the second-highest employer of pediatricians. Pediatricians who work in physicians' offices tend to earn higher salaries than pediatricians who work in hospitals.