The field Physicians and Surgeons, including pediatricians is expected to experience a tremendous amount of growth in the coming years. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics has listed this growth rate at 7%, which is faster than the average for all occupations. This growth will be driven by an increasing number of new diseases and the latest technology needed to battle them. Doctors will be required to use these technology, along with therapies and diagnostic tests.
If you like working with children and providing them the medical advice they need to remain healthy, and have good communication skills, you might want to consider a career in pediatrics. Other qualities you ought to possess include empathy, good perspective and a yearning to learn. If you think you have these, you should read the following guide on the steps to become a pediatrician in the US. It provides all the details regarding the duties of a pediatrician, the steps to become a pediatrician and the salary outlook for this profession.
What Does a Pediatrician Do?
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, pediatricians are “physicians who diagnose, treat, and help prevent children's diseases and injuries.” Their job duties are pretty much the same as physicians and surgeons, with the only difference being their patients’ age. Pediatricians are in-charge of reviewing medical histories, recommending diagnostic tests and creating treatment plans. They are specifically trained to treat conditions that are common to infants, children and teenagers. In addition to that, they also vaccinate their patients, treat minor injuries and provide advice to parents on proper health care for their child. Pediatricians may also choose to specialize in a specific area, such as pediatric surgery.
Steps to Become a Pediatrician
In order to become a pediatrician, aspiring candidates will have to meet certain educational, experience and licensure requirements. The following list of steps sheds some light on this process.
Step 1: Get a Bachelor’s Degree
To get into a medical school, students will have to complete a 4-year long bachelor’s degree with premedical courses. These courses would include the likes of organic chemistry, physics and biology. In addition to a bachelor’s degree, students are advised to get some experience through an internship in a healthcare facility.
Step 2: Give the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)
Accredited medical schools require applicants to clear the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). This test evaluates students’ knowledge on physical science, biology, verbal and cognitive skills.
Step 3: Get a Medical Degree
Individuals will be required to complete an MD or an ND degree to become a pediatrician. The first two years of these programs are spent in classroom study with lab work, while the last 2 years are spent in clinical rotations. These rotations give students the opportunity to work under trained physicians in a supervised setting. Clinical rotations could include areas such as pediatrics, psychiatry and internal medicine.
Step 4: Complete a Residency
After completing the first part of the United States Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE) and being matched to a residency program, students may begin fulfilling the requirements of their residency. In this phase, aspiring pediatricians have the opportunity to get focused instruction related to children’s medicine. Students can choose from several specialties, such as pediatric sports medicine, neonatal-perinatal medicine and adolescent medicine.
Step 5: Get a License
All states in the US require pediatricians to be licensed to practice. Requirements for this vary from state to state, though mostly require a medical degree from an accredited institute, along with a completed residency and licensing exams.
How Much Does a Pediatrician Earn?
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual mean wage for Pediatricians in US in 2018 was $183,240, which roughly translates to $88.10 per hour. The earning potential of Pediatricians varied according to industry and location. For instance, the top paying industry for this occupation was Specialty Hospitals (except Psychiatric and Substance Abuse Hospitals), paying an annual mean wage of $205,370.
Salary outlook also varies according to the state of practice. For instance, pediatricians in Alaska earned the highest amount of money, with an annual mean wage of $268,010 in 2018. This was followed by Wisconsin, Mississippi, Nevada and Montana.