Pediatric Oncologist: Job Outlook & Summary

Explore the job outlook and duties of a pediatric oncologist. In this article, you will find out the requirements, the job description, and salary to see if you want to pursue this medical profession. Schools offering Anatomy & Physiology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career at a Glance

A pediatric oncologist, also known as a pediatric hematologist, is a licensed professional who works with children and young adults who have been diagnosed with a blood disease or cancer. They work with advanced cancers such as leukemia, brain and bone tumors. Find out more by checking out the chart below:

Degree RequiredProfessional Degree
Education Field of StudyMedicine, pediatric hematology-oncology
Necessary Training3-years of residency; 3-years of fellowship training in pediatric hematology/oncology
Job DutiesEvaluate diseases; treat children and teenagers who are diagnosed; continue management of bleeding disorders, cancers and blood diseases
Certification/LicensureCertification with the USMLE or COMPLEX-USA; board-certification with ABP in hematology-oncology; state licensure
Average Salary (2019)$233,000 per year entry-level; $242,000 with 5-10 years of experience (all oncologists)*
Job Outlook (2016-2026)13% Growth** (all physicians and surgeons)

Sources: *Payscale.com; **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

What Does a Pediatric Oncologist's Job Entail?

A pediatric oncologist can diagnose and treat disorders such as cancerous lymphomas, disorders of the red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets in children. They use several methods of treatment, including chemotherapy, surgery, immunotherapy, stem cell transplant, and radiation therapy.

As qualified professionals in the oncology field, they also promote the well-being of their patients and long-term survival. The medical field is constantly updating and developing, which is why pediatric oncologists continually conduct clinical, transitional, and science-based research to find new ways to treat these ailments and illnesses and work towards a cure.

What Degree is Necessary?

Pediatric oncologists earn a 4-year medical school degree after obtaining a bachelor's degree from an accredited university and passing the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). Once they have obtained the medical school degree they will need to sit for the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) to be qualified as an M.D. or the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination (COMPLEX-USA) for D.O. licensing.

Then they complete a 3-year residency in pediatrics and another 3-years of fellowship training in pediatric hematology/oncology. During the 3-year fellowship program, they gain experience in clinical based research, in addition to diagnosing and treating cancers and blood disorders. Additionally, they develop strong interpersonal skills necessary to becoming board-certified through the American Board of Pediatrics ABP in pediatric hematology-oncology.

How Much Will I Earn?

The average oncologist salary in the United States for an entry-level professional is $233,000, according to Payscale.com in 2019. However, an oncologist with 5-10 years of experience could make an average wage of $242,000 per year. There are several settings for pediatric oncologists to work in, including children's hospitals, large community hospitals and university medical centers.

What is the Job Outlook?

Between 2016-2026, it is estimated that jobs for all surgeons and doctors will have a 13% growth rate, says the BLS. This is faster than the average and offers increased opportunities for those wanting to become pediatric oncologists. The United States population is continuing to grow, and that means that there will be a rise in cancer diagnoses and the need for oncologists to continue researching, studying and treating these diseases. Those willing to work in rural and low-income areas may have greater prospects, as these areas typically have difficulty attracting medical professionals.

What Are Some Alternative Careers?

There are a variety of careers that you can look into, such as becoming a pediatric nurse, which is a clinical nurse specialist (CNS). This is an individual who works directly with children and their families from birth to young adulthood in performing necessary checkups to ensure that the child is appropriately developing.

If you are still interested in oncology, but do not want to attend medical school, becoming an oncologist nurse might be another great option. These nurses earn an undergraduate degree to work with patients who have or are at risk of having cancer, by educating them and/or their families and administering treatments such as chemotherapy.

Becoming a nurse practitioner or a physician assistant are other options that would only require a master's degree; however, you still get to work directly hands-on with patients. Physician assistants diagnose and treat ailments and diseases, while a nurse practitioner can coordinate patient care and even provide primary and secondary healthcare services.

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