How to Become a Pediatrician

A pediatrician is responsible for maintaining the wellbeing and health of children. This is a very important job in every country. However, becoming a pediatrician is not easy. The reward of pursuing what you love and taking care of children is worth the amount of time you invest in it.

Undergraduate Studies

As a graduate that has pursued a bachelor’s degree from a recognized and accredited university, you can become a pediatrician. Many learners opt for premed majors. However, it’s possible to pursue pediatrician studies with any major. You just need to attend classes that make you ready to seat for the Medical College Admission Test.

Such classes include genetics, biology, chemistry, molecular biology, microbiology, physics, organic chemistry and math. Most medical schools prefer well-rounded applicants. Therefore, spend time doing volunteer work that involves children to show that you are really interested in this field.

Medical School

A pediatrician has to graduate from a medical school with accreditation. The focus of the first 2 years at the school is on basic skills. The other two years focus on hands-on patient practice. The last 2 years entail choosing pediatrics as a specialty. As a student, you have to pursue the necessary courses in your field. In the last year at the medical school, students engage in elective rotations that happen in different locations within the country.

Residency

Once you are done with medical school, you apply for pediatrics residency at a hospital. To become a pediatrician, you need a 3 year accredited residency. You study various outpatient and inpatient methods, pediatric illnesses, and different forms of pediatric care including neonatal intensive care and acute care.

Residency training is usually difficult at the beginning because you will be responsible for very sick children. You also have to work for a long duration of up to 100 hours per week and earn a minimal salary.

Certification

To be certified, a pediatrician has to take the General Pediatrics Certifying Examination. A degree from a medical school, training in pediatric residence and medicine practice license are required to sit this examination. The exam takes one day or seven hours of multiple-choice test.

The Job Outlook for Pediatricians

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that physicians’ employment will generally grow by 24% by 2020. This growth rate is faster than that of the average jobs. Therefore, there is a positive outlook for physicians’ employment including that of pediatricians.