The Average Pediatrician Salary and Becoming One

The Average Pediatrician Salary and Becoming One

Becoming a pediatrician definitely means choosing a well-paying profession. However, a pediatrician salary is not among the top-paying medical profession salaries. Beyond the obvious point, a pediatrician helps improve the lives of children and families everywhere. There are still some gaps in the data about their financial assets and how much you can expect to make as one. If you have decided to become a pediatrician and you’re curious as to how much you could make in this profession down the line or if you’re already one and you want to know what factors could weigh in to increase your salary, here is all you need to know on the matter. Indeed, the average pediatrician salary varies from location to location or depending on the place of employment, the sub-specialty, and so on. Below we will sketch out an overview of all the factors that influence the doctor salary figure you can expect to make as a pediatrician, so you will know what could be changed to get higher pay.

The Average Pediatrician Salary

According to BLS data*, the average pediatrician salary is currently about $74 an hour and the yearly value of $155,000 in 2012. The median salary means that about half of all pediatricians made a little more than this sum in 2012 and the other half made a little less. Since then, according to the same official sources (the BLS*), things have improved for pediatricians: the median salary has become $84.33 per hour and $175,400 per year in 2014. The economic picture looks like it turned around a bit after the recent recession, at least in the professions where the demand for employees is constantly pretty high, such as all medical professions. In the pediatric branch, the employment rise is currently at 3.9% per year, so you don’t need to be wary about finding work if you’re considering graduating from a pediatrician degree.

If you’re curious how much more you can make or how much less, compared with this median value for the average pediatrician salary, this what you need to know: the lowest-earning 10% of pediatricians made about $44.77 per hour and $93,120 per year, while the lowest-earning 25% of pediatricians made $62.52 per hour and $130,050 per year, in 2014. As for the top-earning pediatricians, there aren’t a lot of exact figures due to the confidentiality of contracts, but sub-specialties are known to be really well-paid compared to the general pediatrician specialty. Just to give you an idea, the starting salary for an orthopedic, pediatric surgeon was $395,000 per year in 2013, according to Medscape’s Pediatrician Compensation Report. That’s not bad at all for a job right out of school, even considering the highly demanding and long period of time required by that school.

Variations By State and Industry

Now that you’ve gotten an idea about how much can a pediatrician generally make and what are the average numbers, it’s time to take a look at how the job pay changes according to factors such as geography and place of employment.

You can take a look at the complete list of values for the average pediatrician salary by the state in 2012, but since things have changed a bit since 2012, here are the top-paying five states for this profession, along with the median salaries in 2014:

  •   In the state of Montana, the mean hourly wage was $113.79, and the median yearly wage was $236,690;

average pediatrician salary

  •   In the state of Utah, the mean hourly wage was $113.66, and the median yearly wage was $236,410;
  •   In the state of South Dakota, the mean hourly wage was $109.23, and the median yearly wage was $227,200;
  •   In the state of Mississippi, the mean hourly wage was $107.89, and the median yearly wage was $224,410;
  •   In the state of Nebraska, the mean hourly wage was $99.75, and the median yearly wage was $207,480.

However, before you rush to arrange for moving to another state, do take into account that these bigger than average wages may be accountable to other factors as well, such as an increased living cost or a highly competitive hiring spot for the entire state and so on. Look into matters closely and talk to a career consultant before planning anything drastic.

As far as hiring industries are concerned, a pediatrician salary can vary greatly depending on the type of place that hired them. Here are the top-paying industries and median wage values for 2014*:

  •   Specialty hospitals (except psychiatric and substance abuse): $100.55 mean wage per hour and $209,140 mean wage per year;
  •   Employment services: $97.29 mean wage per hour and $202,370 mean wage per year;
  •   Local government (OES designation): $91.01 mean wage per hour and $189,300 mean wage per year;
  •   Offices of other health practitioners: $87.75 mean wage per hour and $182,510 mean wage per year;
  •   Offices of physicians: $86.14 mean wage per hour and $179,170 mean wage per year.

Also, here are the top-employing industries and their median wages in 2014* (this means the list of the top 5 industries that have the greatest numbers of employed pediatricians):

  •   Offices of physicians, with the afore-mentioned mean wages of $86.14 per hour and $179,170 per year;
  •   Outpatient care centers: $85.19 mean wage per hour and $177,190 mean wage per year;
  •   Hospitals (except the psychiatric and abusing substances specialties): with a median wage of $100.55 per hour and $209,140 per year;
  •   General medical and surgical hospitals: $79.50 median wage per hour and $165,370 median wage per year;
  •   Other residential care institutions and facilities: $48.08 median wage per hour and $100,010 median wage per year.

How to Earn More as a Pediatrician

If you’re interested in building a solid pediatrician career, it’s normal to look at the factors such as those above, which could influence the financial outcome of your job for the better. Some other factors are pretty much widely-known and intuitive, such as the level of experience, for example, since you can definitely expect to be paid better as you accumulate more experience on the job. It’s also easy to guess that a sub-specialty such as surgery will obviously be better paid. But other factors, such as geography or place of employment are more difficult to map out by intuition alone, which is why you need to take them into account before giving your job application process a more defined direction.

Pediatrician Job Description

A major part of being a pediatrician is working with children. Generally speaking, you will provide medical care and treatment for children from infancy to adolescence. You might work by yourself or within a group, which means you need to be comfortable working in a range of environments and conditions. Despite your working conditions, your overall objective is to treat illnesses, improve mental and physical well-being and diagnose any illnesses or injuries. Your role isn’t necessarily to provide the care, but perform checkups and keep a record, as refer any patients to medical care, if appropriate.

A large amount of your time will be spent with children to retrieve data and undergo examinations and assessments. You’ll then need to interpret the results and communicate with parents and guardians about the treatment options available to improve the child’s wellbeing. It’s critical that you can perform medical examinations with the care and attention they need. Many of these routine physical examinations will be in relation to injuries so you’ll need to consider the child’s condition. These examinations will vary from respiratory tests to nose and ear examinations. 

Conducting examinations is one part of your role, but you’ll then need to diagnose a correct condition given the symptoms and health issues you’re dealing with. This might involve follow-up tests or conversations to get a deeper insight into the patient’s wellbeing. With this in mind, you’ll need to establish an appropriate treatment plan to help with the child’s illness and health issue. This might be as simple as antibiotics or providing treatment procedures for home use. As a pediatrician, you may need to request further appointments to assess if the treatment is working.

It’s possible that you’ll need to refer a child to a specialist in another line of work, such as a dermatologist for skin conditions or an orthopedist for physical breaks or sprains. Therefore, you’ll need to have excellent knowledge of medical care to determine the right kind of doctor who can help with your patient’s illness.

You’ll be dealing with a lot of sensitive data so keeping patient’s medical records up to date is a mandatory part of the job. The records must include treatment methodologies, general notes about the patient’s health and a schedule of visits. In rare cases, you may even need to show social services this record to prove the child’s safety. Finally, throughout all stages of the patient’s assessments and treatments, you’ll need to communicate with guardians and specialists. Many children are nervous about visiting a doctor’s office, so you’ll need to effectively communicate all information and instructions with parents.

What Education and Training You’ll Need

If you’d like to consider this career after reading about the average salary for a pediatrician, there are some requirements you should know about. Getting into this line of work can be challenging and demanding, but extremely rewarding. First, you’ll need to become a doctor which requires a medical degree. After you’ve completed years of training, you’ll move on to a two-year foundation program as a specialist pediatrician. During this stage, you’ll receive training in the field and learn general information about medical care.

Of course, it’s easier to talk about becoming a doctor than working hard to become one. The requirements for medical school can be tough and competitive, and though they may vary, you’ll typically need high school diplomas in English, Maths, and Science. Before beginning your medical degree course, you’ll need to apply for a Disclosure and Barring Service. If you don’t have the necessary qualifications and knowledge to register for a medical school, there’s a wide range of foundation and pre-medical courses that can help prepare you. Many universities have specific entry requirements, so always refer to the university you’re interested in before pursuing any programs you’re unsure of. Once you’re officially qualified to be a pediatrician, your learning and training won’t stop there as the medical world is constantly evolving. Throughout your entire career, you’ll constantly be learning to provide improved medical care for your patient’s wellbeing.

Additional Skills You Need

Aside from educational requirements, you’ll also need to have personal skills to become a pediatrician. Most of your time will be spent with children, so it’s important that you’re comfortable communicating effectively with patients of all ages and can make them feel welcome. Many children are scared when they enter a doctor’s office, so you’ll need to be a friendly face for them to put their trust in you. One moment you’ll be working with a toddler and the next you’ll be talking to a teenager, so it’s essential that you can quickly adjust to communicate with all ages and personalities. 

You’ll be expected to have great problem-solving skills and critical thinking so you can look at the information and data provided to you and interpret it to find the best solution. Working with children is generally more different than being around adults as you’ll need to demonstrate patience and compassion. At the end of the day, your role is to help children feel better and healthier, so choosing the right treatment plan and correctly diagnosing them is the most important part of your role. Also, as this job can be emotional, demanding and sometimes stressful, you’ll need to have the stamina and resilience to work in this kind of environment and effectively deal with difficult situations. 

The Advantages of Becoming a Pediatrician

There are many benefits of working within this career and so many reasons to get into this line of work. One of the most popular reasons people enter this profession is for a big salary. As you’re responsible for children’s health and wellbeing, you can earn around $168,000 per year. On the other hand, those who work for a private practice can earn an even higher salary.

Aside from money, a major motivation is knowing that you’re helping children to become better and treat their illnesses. Your responsibilities are tough and demanding, and you get to leave work every day knowing that you’ve helped to improve someone’s life. If you love children, it can also be highly rewarding to spend most of your working life with inspiring youngsters and help to shape their adulthood. Although you’ll only spend a small portion of your time with them, the decisions you make and the treatments you provide can make an incredible difference. 

Another popular reason people choose to become a pediatrician is for positive results. Everything you do and say can lead to positive results. You’re not working in an environment that isn’t inspiring or doesn’t have a purpose because this type of profession can save and improve children’s and parent’s lives. If you ask any working pediatrician, they’ll confirm these advantages (and possibly more!) with you, too.

The Disadvantages of Becoming a Pediatrician

There are different sides to every career and pediatricians also have considerations to make and factors to bear in mind at all times. First, this job isn’t a normal office-based role where you have a 9-5 schedule and once you’ve finished a project, you can go home. Instead, this line of work is in high demand and so finding a work-life balance can be difficult. Therefore, you may need to make some serious adjustments to your personal life with can affect the amount of time you spend with family. However, this can put a huge strain on life outside of work, so this can improve your work ethic and ensure that you work even harder and more efficiently. A large portion of your hours will be in shifts so this means holding off on any plans in your personal life until you have your rota.

There’s also a huge amount of pressure and stress in this line of work since your dealing with people’s health and wellbeing. You’ll be a medical professional and that means people will turn to you when they need medical and emotional assistance. As you communicate with parents or guardians, there may be conflicts along the way, so you’ll sometimes have to put your personal beliefs to the side to support others. Another factor to bear in mind is that other people’s health is in your hands, so it’s essential you assess and examine correctly to find the optimum solution.

Indications That You’d Make a Great Pediatrician

Now, let’s look at whether you have the personal skills and traits to succeed in this profession. Below are some key skills you’ll need and are great indications that you’d be suitable in this role.

You’re Patient and Understanding

It’s certainly not easy working with children, especially toddlers who have short attention spans and don’t want vaccinations. Therefore, you should be able to remain calm and attentive throughout all situations.

You Communicate Effectively

Communication is another huge portion of your role and you’ll be communicating with people from all backgrounds and ages. One moment you’ll be talking to a toddler and the next you’ll be communicating with the parents. No matter the age range, it’s critical that you can effectively share your information and knowledge with a wide age group so that everyone’s aware of what’s involved and the situation at hand.

You Can Empathize With Others

Knowledge and education are two important skills, but you’ll need to empathize with your patients. This role isn’t about ticking off projects and getting the job done, as you’ll need to genuinely care and be concerned about your patient’s wellbeing. This also means that people trust you and can approach you with their sensitive concerns. Therefore, being emotional responsive is an essential skill set and personality trait.

You Are Filled With Happiness and Joy

Education is one part of this role, but you’ll need to have a lot of joy and generally be a positive person. This is important to ensure that you’re suitable for working with young children and can see the fun side of these sometimes heavy-hearted tasks. Being able to cope is important, but it’s even more important to find joy and during these occasions. If you can feel light in a dark situation, you’ll succeed in this line of work.

You Can Multitask With Ease

There are so many angles to this line of work, so one minute you’ll be focusing on a task and the next minute, your entire day has changed. You’ll need to multitask working with different patients and handling a large workload. In such events, you can remain calm and strong-minded, almost as if nothing can break you. This will bring you joy and you want to work hard and help others.

Would You Consider This Career?

We hope you enjoyed reading about this line of work and the opportunities available to you. After reading what’s involved, would you consider this career? Or perhaps you have experience of working as a pediatrician. Either way, share your thoughts and feedback in the comments to keep this conversation going. 


You can learn more about how to begin a professional career as a Pediatrician here.

*According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics,

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