What Are Some Entry-Level Career Options in Pediatrics?

Some entry-level career options in pediatrics include medical assistant, licensed practical nurse and physician's assistant. These jobs can be found in a variety of pediatric settings, including private practices, general hospitals and surgical centers. Schools offering Nursing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Entry-Level Careers in Pediatrics

Many schools offer programs that train individuals to work in pediatrics though a variety of occupations that may cover clerical and clinical tasks. Some of these jobs call for training programs of two years or fewer, while others may require a 4-year degree and additional training. Here is a look at the education requirements and job duties for several occupations.

Important Facts About Entry-Level Career Options in Pediatrics

Pediatric Medical Assistant Pediatric Licensed Practical Nurse Pediatric Physician's Assistant
Professional Certification / Licensure Voluntary, but preferred by employers; the Institute for Credentialing Excellence offers five different certification options Mandatory; the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) Mandatory; provided by the National Commission on Certification of Physicians Assistants (NCCPA)
Key Skills Analytical thinking; attention to detail; computer competency; social nuance Empathy; patience; physical stamina; clear communication Clear communication; problem solving; attention to detail; empathy
Work Environment Full-time; some evening, weekend, or holidays shifts may be required Typically full-time with some nights, weekends, or holidays required Typically full-time with some shifts during nights, weekends, holidays, or on-call as needed
Similar Occupations Dental assistants; occupational therapy assistants and aides; pharmacy technicians Physical therapist assistants and aides; psychiatric technicians and aides; surgical technologists Physicians and surgeons; speech-language pathologists; physical therapists

Pediatric Medical Assistant

Medical assistants are responsible for both clerical and clinical duties. Though they are occasionally trained on the job, most medical assistants complete 1- or 2-year diploma or degree programs. After graduating, they might work in a variety of health care settings, although private practice physicians employ the majority of pediatric medical assistants. Answering phones, scheduling appointments and billing insurance companies are just a few of the administrative tasks completed by medical assistants. Clinical duties are limited by state law but might include:

  • Collecting lab samples
  • Recording vital signs
  • Maintaining exam rooms

Career Outlook and Salary

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), www.bls.gov, jobs for medical assistants were expected to grow by 29% from 2016-26, much faster than the average for other professions. The BLS said the median annual wage for medical assistants was $33,610 as of May 2018.

Pediatric Licensed Practical Nurse

Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) work under the supervision of doctors and registered nurses. In a pediatric practice, LPNs assist in the care of children and adolescents. They must complete a medical training program, usually lasting about a year, and earn licensure through their state board of nursing. Pediatric LPNs typically work in doctors' offices or the pediatric wings of hospitals. Their duties might include:

  • Giving injections
  • Dressing wounds
  • Monitoring vital signs

Career Outlook and Salary

Jobs for all LPNs were predicted by the BLS to increase by 12% from 2016-26, faster than for other occupations. The BLS noted that the median annual wage for this occupation was $46,240 as of May 2018.

Pediatric Physician's Assistant

Physician's assistants work under the direct supervision of practicing doctors. Entering the field requires an undergraduate degree and completion of a 2-year postgraduate physician assistant program. Some facilities also may require previous health care experience.

In clinic settings where doctors are in-office only a few days a week, physician's assistants may act as primary care providers. State law largely dictates duties assigned to physician's assistants, but typical jobs may include:

  • Interpreting laboratory tests
  • Taking medical histories
  • Treating minor injuries

Career Outlook and Salary

Jobs for all physician's assistants were expected by the BLS to increase by 37% from 2016-26, much faster than other jobs. The BLS reported the median annual wage for this profession was $108,610 as of May 2018.

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