Pediatrician

Pros


  • Helping children and their parents with child-specific health problems.
  • Making decisions that improve the lives of your patients from the infant stage all the way to adulthood.
  • Demand for pediatricians is great.

Cons

  • You must be a very good communicator, and be able to deal with children in a playful manner with lots of tact.
  • This is a career that requires long hours, often responding to emergencies outside of normal working hours.
  • It takes a long time to become a pediatrician, from education to training in a residency program.

Overview

Pediatricians are specialized medical doctors that focus on children. They diagnose and treat them from the infant to the young adult stages of life. Some of the medical issues that pediatricians deal with include illness, injuries and disorders. They monitor the development of children and give immunizations as needed. Working with parents on how to care for new babies, they also will offer advice on the development of children until they become adults.

About five percent of all doctors are pediatricians. Many pediatricians are general practitioners in this field, working in a setting where children come to them with their parents for regular check-ups. Alongside nurses and medical assistants, a lot of time is spent by pediatricians in this environment analyzing medical history, administering treatment and explaining procedures. They also may take a specialty, such as pediatric surgery or neurology.

Pediatricians will often start their own practices, but more often they will work for a larger organization such as a clinic or a hospital. This is usually because the cost associated with entering the field is quite high. It is common for a pediatrician to eventually set out to work on his or her own, but those who are highly specialized in a specific surgery may need to work in a hospital setting in order to have a steady flow of patients that need their help.

Education

Since pediatricians are medical doctors, they must go to medical school. To be admitted, a student must complete a bachelor’s degree as a pre-med major studying biology, chemistry and other sciences. They must excel academically during their studies because entry into medical school is competitive. They also must take the MCAT, the medical college admission test. Once in medical school, students will spend four years learning how to be a doctor in both classroom and applied settings. Once medical school has been completed, students wishing to become pediatricians are specifically trained to become one during their residency, which lasts a few years depending on what specialty.

Job Prospects

As the medical field is a growing career path, the prospects for one wanting to become a pediatrician are quite good. The population is growing and as such there are children who need to be seen by doctors that are specialized. The demand for pediatric care is very high, and for pediatricians entering into the workforce over the next decade, they can expect lots of available work and many opportunities to specialize into what they may find interest in.

Advancement Opportunities

Most pediatricians will continue to work in hospitals or other large health organizations after their residency has been completed and there are opportunities to grow from there. But there are a lot of job opportunities for this career. Some of the highest paying would include continuing on in residency and entering into pediatric cardiology, oncology or neurology. Pediatricians who are business minded usually work for themselves and also do very well along with the fact that they can set the hours that work best for them.