How to Begin a Professional Career as a Pediatrician

How to Begin a Professional Career as a Pediatrician
Pediatrician: A Quick Look
Median Salary $216,069 per annum
Entry-level education Medical Degree
On-the-job training Pediatric Residency
Primary employers Physician’s Offices
Number of positions (U.S.) 30,890
Job Growth (2012-2022) 18% (Faster than national average)
New positions (2012-2022) +8,550

How to Begin a Professional Career as a PediatricianWhat Is A Pediatrician?

Pediatricians are physicians who specialize in the care of infants, children, and adolescents. Read more.


Pediatricians in the United States earn a median salary of $157,610 per annum. Read more.

Becoming A Pediatrician

Pediatricians undergo extensive training in the classroom and in a clinical setting. They must earn an undergraduate degree, gain acceptance into and complete medical school, and complete a pediatric residency program at a hospital. Find out how to begin a professional career as a Pediatrician…Read more.

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Job Outlook

The job outlook for physicians in the United States is very good, with a projected 24% job growth rate from 2010-2020. Read more.

Pediatrician Salary

The entry-level average salary for pediatricians in the United States is approximately $135,000. The median annual pediatrician salary is $157,610 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The top 10% of pediatricians earned $187,199 annually, while the bottom 10% of pediatricians earned $87,190 per year or less.

How To Become A Pediatrician

How Long Does It Take To become A Pediatrician

Becoming a pediatrician can be an extremely rewarding career, but it also requires a significant amount of education and training. It takes approximately 11-12 years to become a pediatrician. This includes:
  • 4 years completing an undergraduate degree
  • 4 years in medical school
  • 3-4 years internship/residency

Educational Requirements

Pediatricians undergo extensive training, both in classroom and real world settings. There are several important educational milestones that aspiring pediatricians must reach before they can practice.

Step 1: Bachelor’s Degree & MCAT

After graduating high school, aspiring Pediatricians need to complete a 4 year Bachelor’s degree. This should include completing courses required for medical school, which generally includes courses in advanced biology, math, chemistry, although the specific coursework may vary from medical school to medical school. In order to be accepted into medical school in the United States, students also need to obtain high academic standing. Most med schools require a minimum Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.5 or above, though the requirements can often be higher. Students applying to medical school must also complete and score competitively on the MCAT exam.

Step 2: Medical School

Getting accepted into Medical School is a crucial step for becoming a pediatrician, and perhaps the most challenging. The first 2 years of med school consists primarily of basic medical overview courses. In first year, students will learn all about human anatomy and physiology, micro biology, chemistry, pharmacology, neuroanatomy, and much more. In 2nd year, students may take courses more focused on clinical sciences and start getting more hands on experience with patients. This may include introductory courses on radiology, cardiology, surgery, emergency medicine, internal medicine, and much more. In their 3rd and 4th years, students will often have chosen a specialty area, and will take coursework and participate in clinical rotations designed to strengthen their knowledge and training in their specialty of choice. Aspiring pediatricians will want to tailor their program around pediatrics, family practice, and internal medicine.

Step 3: Internship & Residency

After med school, you’ll need to be accepted into a 3 year pediatric residency program. This is where you will work as a resident in a hospital and gain real world experience working with patients under the supervision of more experienced doctors. Over the course residency, residents will gain more and more responsibility as they hone their training and skills. Pediatric residency programs must be approved by the American Board of Pediatrics (ABP). Pediatric interns also have the option of completing a fellowship at the end of their residency in order to specialize in a sub-specialty within pediatrics.

Pediatrician job description

What does a pediatrician do? Pediatricians are medical doctors who specialize in the care of infants, children, and adolescents. They assess and treat infants and children suffering from medical diseases and disorders, perform regular checkups to ensure good health, and track their growth. Most of the day to day work of a pediatrician involves treating common childhood illnesses and minor injuries. Certain pediatricians may also be specialists with regards to specific aspects of pediatric surgery.


  • Examine infant and youth patients and perform diagnostic tests to obtain a medical diagnosis
  • Track childhood development and growth
  • Assess and record patient history
  • Treat patients with minor illnesses, injuries, medical disorders, chronic health problems, and issues with growth and development.
  • Monitor a patient’s condition and re-evaluate treatments when necessary.
  • Advise parents or guardians regarding child health issues such as diet, exercise, hygiene, and disease prevention.
  • Refer patients to other specialists when necessary.
  • Co-ordinate with other staff involved with medical treatment.
  • Plan and implement health programs within businesses, schools, hospitals, and the community at large.

Job Outlook

The job outlook for physicians and surgeons is good, with the profession expected to see a projected job increase of 22% over 2010-2020. The largest employer of pediatricians are physician’s offices and hospitals, though many pediatricians are also employed in outpatient care centers and schools. The most highly paid pediatricians out of any industry segment were those employed at outpatient care centers.

1 Comment on “How to Begin a Professional Career as a Pediatrician

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