How to Become a Pediatrician
Pediatrician Job Duties
Skills and Qualities of a Pediatrician
Pediatrician Salary
Influential Professional Pediatricians
Leading Organizations for Pediatricians
Top Cities for Pediatrician Jobs
Other Careers of Interest

How to become a Pediatrician

A pediatrician has to first become a physician. Like other physicians, they have to complete four years of college, four years of medical school and then three to eight years of internship and residency. Students wishing to become pediatricians have to have an extremely strong science background, particularly in biology, physics, organic chemistry, mathematics and inorganic chemistry. Some students gain practical experience by volunteering at hospitals or community clinics.

Students compete fiercely for admittance to medical school. It requires transcripts, interviews, background checks, letters of recommendation and passing grades on the Medical College Admission test. The last two years of medical school involve students working directly with patients under the supervision of an experience physician, learning practical medical care. During this period each student rotates through all the specialties of medicine. After graduating from medical school, prospective physicians enter residency, a paid-on the job-training program, associated with a teaching hospital. A medical education costs a great deal, with 80% of all medical school graduates having debt.

In the US, all physicians have to pass a state licensing examination prior to practicing in that state. States may not allow transference of license from one state to another. In addition all specialists must pass another licensing examination for that specialty.

What does a Pediatrician do?

Pediatricians assess, diagnose and treat children and adolescents. They form one of the four main types of general practitioners, the others three being Family Medicine/General Practice, Internal Medicine and Obstetrics/Gynecology. While most pediatricians are generalists, some specialize in the treatment of particular disorders.

Most pediatricians will work in small private offices, sometimes working solo, but frequently with a small staff of nurses and administrative workers, who handle billing. Some will work in a group practice or health care organization. Like other physicians, pediatricians may work more than a 40hour week and have to make hospital visits.

What skills or qualities do I need to become a Pediatrician?

Like other professions that work with children, a pediatrician has to like and get along with children and their families. A pediatrician needs to be able to obtain complex medical information from a child and calm an overwrought parent. They also need to be decisive in emergencies and emotionally balanced when facing life-threatening conditions in children. Like all physicians, they need a good bedside manner and the ability to work long irregular hours. Any physician also has to have the motivation to pursue continuous education throughout their entire career, as medical needs and treatments change over time.

Pediatricians number about 47,500 in the US, about 7.5% of all physicians.

How much does a Pediatrician make?

If the annual salaries of all pediatricians were arranged from the lowest to the highest, the median would be that point at which 50% of the salaries were lower and 50% were higher. Most salaries differ somewhat from the median, however. The best estimate of a potential salary lies in the range between the 25th percentile and the 75th percentile, known as the middle 50% of salaries. The 25th percentile is the point at which 25% of salaries are below and the 75th percentile is the point at which 75% of all salaries are below.

In the US as of 2005, the median salary for a pediatrician with less than two years experience was $132, 953. For a pediatrician with more than one year of experience, the median was $161,131. In 2008 the middle 50% ranged between $133,945 and $177,062. Unfortunately, medians were not available for 2008.

Like other occupations, pediatrician salaries can vary by region, by location and by type of practice. Urban solo-practitioners will generally make a higher salary than rural practitioners.

Who are some influential professionals in this field?

In 2006, The American Academy of Pediatrics elected Dr. Renée R. Jenkins as President - the first African-American to hold that post. Prior to her election, she served on AAP committees such as the Committee on Adolescence, the Task Force on Pediatric AIDS and Reimbursement and the Committee on Community Health Services. She belongs to the Ambulatory Pediatric Association and the Institute of Medicine. Dr Jenkins works as full Professor at Howard University's Department of Pediatrics and Child Health. She is also a Principal Investigator for a research collaboration and is an adjunct professor of pediatrics at George Washington University. Her areas of interest focus on adolescent health and underserved children.

Dr. Jerold F. Lucey edits the AAP journal 'Pediatrics' and is a professor at the University of Vermont. His research interests include neo-natolgy. Newborn jaundice treatment and premature baby breathing. In 2007, Dr. Lucey received the 2007 Alfred I. DuPont Award for Excellence in Children's Health Care. He founded the Vermont Oxford Network, a database storing information to improve the quality and safety of care for newborns.

What are some leading organizations in this field?

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), a professional organization, provides resources, continuing training, advice to parents and employment opportunities. In addition, it functions as a lobbying arm of the profession. Its website hosts resources, particularly for medical students, residents and early career pediatricians. The website ( also features a section on quality improvement. The designation 'F.A.A.P.' after someone's name means 'Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics'. The AAP awards this desgnation after the pediatrician has obtained board certification in pediatrics and after they have demonstrated an on-going commitment to lifelong learning.

The AAP produces the journal 'Pediatrics', which has a circulation of 66,000 and is translated into six languages, Chinese, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish and Turkish. In 2007, it was the most cited journal in the field of pediatrics.

The American Board of Medical Specialties has responsibility for the certification of all physicians, not just pediatricians. Within this organization, the American Board of Pediatrics develops the examinations used to license pediatricians. They also provide preparation course for prospective pediatricians. In addition to testing and test preparation, this body also assimilates new discoveries and practices into the body of pediatric knowledge.

What are the top cities for Pediatrician jobs?

The three top cities for positions as pediatricians are Phoenix, Los Angeles and Dallas. No major differences existed between these three regarding the number of vacancies available.

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