Pediatricians are specialists in children’s diseases and ailments. They treat conditions like chicken pox, pink eye, strep throat and cold among others. Moreover, they help healthy kids stay well by providing immunity meds, analyzing height and weight growth over time, giving advice on physical as well as mental health, etc.According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are close to 30,000 licensed general pediatricians in the country as of 2019. If you want to be a part of this group of professionals in the coming years, then go through this piece. It contains all the important information about becoming a pediatrician in the United States.
Should I Become a Pediatrician?
|Education||Doctor of Osteopathy (D.O.) or Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree|
|Area of Study/Major Requirement||Pediatrics|
|Key Skills||Judgment and Decision Making, Communication, Inductive and Deductive Reasoning, Critical and Creative Thinking, Therapy and Counseling, Active Listening|
|Annual Mean Salary (2019)||$184,410 (Pediatricians, General)|
|Job Outlook (2018-2028)||2% (Pediatricians, General)|
Sources: O*Net Online and US Bureau of Labor Statistics
Pediatricians provide their services in hospitals and clinics or they may practice privately. Different types of medical practitioners have to spend long hours on the job and the pediatricians are no strangers to the rigors of their sector. To be successful, they must be very good communicators and have the ability to think on their feet.
The data gathered by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates an expected growth of 2% in jobs for general pediatricians between 2018 and 2028. This is slower than the average increase predicted for other occupations. The majority of medical school graduates are able to get into residency programs soon after completing studies. Therefore, the employment prospects are expected to be quite good.
Steps to Become a Pediatrician
Following are the steps you need to take to become a pediatrician in the United States.
- Complete Undergraduate Education
To be eligible for medical school, you need to first get a Bachelor’s degree. There is generally no mandatory specialization requirement at this point. However, there are pre-med programs available that many aspiring healthcare professionals tend to choose.
Others take courses in mathematics and science-related subjects (chemistry, biology, physics, psychology, etc.) to fulfill any prerequisites for entry to medical school. You may also opt to specialize in child psychology or a discipline related closely with pediatrics at the Bachelor’s level.
- Take the MCAT
After completing undergrad education, you must take and pass the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). This is vital for securing entry into a reputed medical school.
- Go to Medical School
Once you are in medical school, you will spend 4 years in either a Doctor of Osteopathy (D.O.) or a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree program.
- Enter a Residency Program in Pediatrics
Once you graduate medical school, you need to join and complete a pediatrics residency program at a hospital or a health facility of note. These programs are normally 3 years long.
- Specialty Fellowship (Optional)
After you have completed the residency program, you may decide to specialize in a pediatrics subfield like medical genetics, critical care, neonatology, etc. To do that, you will have to pursue a fellowship which can last for 2 to 3 years.
- Get Licensed
When all the education and training (residency, fellowship, etc.) requirements have been fulfilled, you can apply for your license to practice. Different states have varying requirements but generally include passing an exam or two (among other things) for license eligibility.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Pediatrician?
You will need 4 years for Bachelor’s studies, 4 years for medical school, about 3 years for residency and possibly another 2 to 3 years for a fellowship. So, it takes about 11 to 14 years to become a pediatrician.
What Are the Requirements for Becoming a Pediatrician in the US
Following are the requirements for becoming a pediatrician in the US.
- Complete undergraduate studies.
- Obtain an MD (Doctor of Medicine) or DO (Doctor of Osteopathy) degree.
- Complete a pediatrics residency.
- Get licensed by the relevant state authority.
How Much Can I Make After Becoming a Pediatrician?
In 2019, General Pediatricians in the country made $184,410 in annual mean wage. This is according to the public records of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.