Pediatricians are medical doctors who specialize in the care of children from birth to young adulthood. They’re trained to diagnose, treat, and manage a wide range of common childhood injuries and illnesses. Pediatricians also commonly provide advice and guidance on the physical, social, and emotional development of children.
Aside from providing clinical care, pediatricians often play a critical role in helping to prevent childhood disease. They commonly conduct research, lead efforts to promote healthy lifestyles in young people, and develop innovative ways to create healthier communities. This may include working with city or state governments or with community groups, schools, or other organizations to help improve the overall health of children in their area.
Read on to learn more about what it’s like to be a pediatrician and what it takes to become one yourself.
Pediatrician Job Duties
Pediatricians typically have the following job duties:
- Providing medical care to infants, children, and adolescents in a variety of settings, such as general practices or clinics
- Diagnosing and treating infectious diseases, childhood illnesses, behavioral problems, developmental disabilities, and physical disabilities
- Informing parents about children’s health concerns through counseling and providing advice on ailments and injuries
- Prescribing medications and teaching parents how to administer medications to their children
- Providing primary care treatment including administering vaccinations, monitoring weight, height, and nutrition, and performing physical examinations
- Teaching parents about child development and healthy habits such as hygiene and diet
- Coordinating with other health care providers regarding treatment plans for patients
Pediatrician Salary & Outlook
Pediatricians are among the highest-paid medical professionals, with a median annual wage of $171,030. The top earners make over $270,000 per year. Those earning higher wages tend to work in private practice.
The employment of pediatricians is expected to steadily rise over the next decade. This is due to the increase in population growth and the increased emphasis on childhood health.
Pediatrician Job Requirements
To become a pediatrician, you’ll need a combination of the following:
Education: Pediatricians must first complete a four-year bachelor’s degree before applying to medical school. They should focus their undergraduate studies on pre-medicine classes such as biology, chemistry and organic chemistry. After graduating from college, applicants will need to complete an accredited medical school program and then begin their residency training in pediatrics.
Training: Pediatricians usually spend three years in the hospital and one year working in an outpatient clinic during their residency program. During this time they work closely with senior pediatricians who can provide them with real world experience and help them develop an effective treatment plan for their patients. This training is crucial for pediatricians because it provides them with valuable information about how to properly diagnose and treat various conditions within the field of pediatrics.
Certifications & Licenses: Pediatricians are required to become licensed by the state where they intend to practice medicine. To obtain licensure, they must pass an exam covering their areas of specialization and medical knowledge.
There are no specific certification requirements for this job though specialty certifications from organizations like The American Board of Pediatrics (ABP) can help boost ones resume if looking to become hired into higher-paying positions.
The following skills are required for this job:
Patience: Working with children and their parents requires a great deal of patience.
An ability to handle pressure: Pediatricians must be able to handle the stress of dealing with sick children and their worried parents on a daily basis.
An ability to multitask: Pediatricians must be able to work quickly and efficiently while also attending to the needs of other patients, especially when they have many cases scheduled in a day.
Strong analytical skills: A pediatrician must be able to analyze each patient’s condition and make quick decisions about how best to treat it.
Communication skills: A pediatrician must be able to communicate effectively with parents, children, and other health care professionals.
Medical knowledge: The ability to make accurate diagnoses is crucial in this job, so it is essential that pediatricians possess a working knowledge of all aspects of medicine.
Pediatrician Work Environment
Pediatricians work in hospitals, private practices, or research facilities. They can work in a variety of settings, including surgery rooms, outpatient clinics, and private offices. A pediatrician’s schedule can vary greatly depending on their job. Some doctors are on call around the clock in case of emergencies, while others work regular business hours.
Pediatricians must be sensitive to the emotional needs of their patients. They need to listen carefully and offer support to families who are dealing with very sick children. Even though they spend most of their time working with ill children and their parents, pediatricians also interact frequently with other health care professionals.
Pediatrician Career Path
In the early years, pediatricians work hard to learn the medical care routines of their chosen specialty. They spend a considerable amount of time observing other practitioners, then try to replicate that knowledge. Most of the time is spent volunteering for medical services at a hospital or clinic. Although they are Physicians must put in long hours and work weekends or holidays, but most find this satisfactory. The average salary is competitive with other health specialists.
Five Years On The Job
Pediatricians who demonstrate diligence can expect to be responsible for their own patient population and see them regularly. This portion of a pediatrician’s career is one of satisfaction and accomplishment, especially if he or she maintains a good reputation in the community. However, the long hours continue to be a problem for some. Twenty percent of pediatricians who begin their careers decide to leave the field at this point.
Ten Years On The Job
Most pediatricians are satisfied with their work and the lifestyles it affords them; they enjoy helping children. They generally make comfortable salaries and have good job security, although hours tend to be long and vacation time short. By the tenth year, the majority of pediatricians have developed strong reputations within their fields; others may become involved in research or administration at higher levels. Those who work at large medical groups tend to be less satisfied; group practices often involve more red tape and bureaucracy than private practices.
Here are three trends influencing how pediatricians work. Pediatricians will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.
The rise of Telemedicine
The medical field is becoming increasingly reliant on technology, which has led to a rise in telemedicine.
Telemedicine involves the use of various technologies to treat patients remotely, including apps that can help monitor health conditions and diagnose ailments without having to be seen in person.
Additionally, many medical practitioners are choosing to incorporate mobile devices into their practices so that they can provide healthcare services even when they are not physically present.
Childhood obesity is a growing concern for pediatricians and healthcare professionals in general, as it can lead to many health problems including diabetes, heart disease, and arthritis.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has taken a number of steps to address this issue, including advocating for changes in the food supply and increased access to healthy foods.
Importance of Child Development
As more parents are becoming aware of the benefits of early childhood education, pediatricians are being called upon to help determine when children are ready for academic learning.
By evaluating physical and cognitive development in children, pediatricians can provide families with information on when their child is developmentally ready for different levels of learning.
Additionally, pediatricians can work closely with parents to help them find effective ways to improve their child’s language skills, social skills, or other essential developmental milestones.
How to Become a Pediatrician
1. Planning Your Career
If you are thinking about a career as a pediatrician, you need to be aware of the high financial and time commitments that come with this position. If you decide to pursue this path, take some time to consider your reasons for doing so. Is it because you love working with children? Or is it because you like the idea of having a stable income? It’s important to understand why you want to become a pediatrician so that you can best prepare yourself for the challenges ahead.
2. Writing a Resume
The best pediatrician resumes emphasize their ability to provide patient care. The descriptions of your previous jobs should include the conditions you treated, the procedures you performed, and the diseases you diagnosed. You can also highlight your medical knowledge by listing certifications or licenses that are relevant to the position.
Furthermore, the best resumes for pediatricians should emphasize their interpersonal skills, medical knowledge, and ability to work under pressure. Because pediatricians are the first point of contact for many children and their parents, it’s important to highlight your compassion, empathy, patience, and other soft skills.
3. Applying for Jobs
One of the best ways to find a pediatrician job is to connect with local hospitals and healthcare organizations. Keep your resume updated with your volunteer experience, community service projects, and job shadowing experiences.
You can search online for available positions at websites like Doximity and the American Academy of Pediatrics. If you have a personal connection to someone who works in the industry, ask them to keep an eye out for you.
4. Ace the Interview
When you’re interviewing for a position as a pediatrician, it is important to be able to demonstrate your competency in the medical field. The interviewer will want to know how you would handle delicate situations such as an unexpected death or a violent patient. Be ready to explain how you would support families that may be experiencing stressful or emotional situations.
Make sure you know exactly what the job entails and are prepared to explain your approach to solving common problems within this field of medicine. Take the time to research the hospital and clinic, so you can discuss specific examples of how you would improve patient care and outcomes.
You may also be asked about your work experience and skills. It is always best to make sure that your experience supports all of the qualities required of a pediatrician role. If it does not match exactly, emphasize how your past experiences have helped prepare you for the job ahead.