Pediatrician: Career Guide & Educational Requirements

Learn more about careers as pediatricians. Find information on career opportunities, tasks and duties, education requirements, and job growth. View popular healthcare schools that prepare students for careers as certified pediatricians.

Duties & Tasks

Pediatricians provide care and treatment to patients from infancy through the teenage years. They are tasked with examining children to assess their growth and development and monitor their ongoing care. These specialized physicians diagnose and treat illnesses and chronic health problems. Pediatricians prescribe medications, administer vaccinations, and provide medical care for sickness, injuries, and disease in children. They also order and perform diagnostic testing in order to determine the cause of medical conditions. In addition, pediatricians advise parents and guardians on the proper diet and activity levels for children and teenagers.

Education Requirements

Individuals are required to complete a rigorous course of study in order to become a pediatrician. Students may be required to obtain a bachelor’s degree in pre-medicine, chemistry, or biology. Upon graduation from a baccalaureate program, students attend a four-year medical school in which they take courses in human anatomy, pharmacology, and neuroanatomy. It is during medical school when students typically determine their specialty area of medicine, such as pediatrics, emergency medicine, or cardiology. After graduation from medical school, students must attend a three-year residency program in which they hone their skills in pediatrics through hands-on training. If pediatricians wish to sub specialize in areas such as pediatric cardiology, anesthesiology, or neurology, students may be required to complete a two to four-year fellowship program in their chosen specialty.

Residency Requirements

Graduates of medical schools are required to complete a three-year residency program before officially becoming a practicing physician. A residency program requires students to work in a medical setting such as a hospital, clinic, or physician’s office. During this period, students undertake a rigorous schedule providing hands-on care to patients while being monitored by licensed physicians.

Salary & Job Growth

Pediatricians practice in a variety of settings, such as surgical hospitals, physician’s offices, and outpatient care centers. As of 2012, the greatest amount of pediatricians worked in physician’s offices, with 22,640 doctors earning an hourly mean wage of $83.21 and an annual salary of $173,070. The second largest concentration of pediatricians worked in hospitals, earning an hourly wage of $71.82 and an annual salary of $149,380. Outpatient care centers employ the third largest amount of pediatricians, earning an average hourly wage of $84.47 and an annual salary of $175,700. The field of pediatrics is projected to increase by 24% from 2010-2020 due to the increase in population needing medical care. The increase in the profession may also be due to the amount of physicians currently retiring from medical practice.

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