What Are the Duties and Responsibilities of a Pediatrician?

Pediatricians are doctors who treat infants and children. Read on to see the specific duties and responsibilities of pediatricians, as well as the education requirements and employment statistics of the occupation. Schools offering Health Science degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Overview

As a pediatrician, your main occupational tasks involve providing medical care to people ranging in age from newborns to young adults. You are responsible for examining, diagnosing, and treating children with a wide variety of injuries and illnesses. You will also administer the many immunizations that are available to protect children from diseases such as hepatitis B, diphtheria, polio, measles, and the mumps. Routine check-ups are also part of your common tasks list, with the intent of monitoring a child's growth and development from birth to adulthood.

You will work closely with other healthcare professionals to provide children with medical care to the fullest extent possible. Another important part of your job revolves around working with your patients' parents or guardians to teach them how to provide proper care to their children. This may include tips on improving childhood eating habits, promoting regular exercise, and improving personal hygiene.

Important Facts About Pediatricians

Key Skills Critical thinking, active listening, deductive reasoning
Work Environment Healthcare facility or private office
Licensure All physicians must pass a national exam; other requirements vary by state
Similar Occupations Chiropractor, physician assistant, family practitioner, nurse midwife

Educational Requirements

As with other types of physicians, pediatricians are required to earn a doctoral degree, such as a Doctor of Medicine or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine. The first half of a medical doctor degree consists of advanced science courses and acquaints you with the procedures, laws, and ethics of the medical world. The second half provides you with clinical hospital experience through rotations in the main areas of medical care, including pediatrics.

Once the doctoral program is completed and you've decided to pursue a career as a pediatrician, you enter a pediatrics residency program, which lasts at least three years. Through the residency program, you learn to perform pediatric duties at the professional level in critical care, ambulatory care, and in-patient settings. You will undergo various rotations in topics such as newborn intensive care, development disabilities, anesthesia procedures, and adolescent medicine.

Employment and Salary Info

In May 2018, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov) found that there were nearly 28,500 people employed as general pediatricians. The BLS also reported that the average yearly salary was $183,240 for general pediatricians in May 2018. The majority of general pediatricians worked in private physicians' offices. Careers are also available in general hospitals, though these pediatricians earned almost $22,000 less per year on average than those working in physicians' offices.

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