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The Life of a Pediatrician: What it Entails and How to Become One

written by: Harry Sylvester•edited by: DaniellaNicole•updated: 5/11/2010

Pediatricians provide medical care for patients under the age of 18. This career can be rewarding, but it has rigorous education and training requirements. Learn how to become a pediatrician to decide if it's a good career for you.

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    A pediatrician is a professional physician who is concerned with the health and treatment of children and teenagers. A pediatrician also focuses on diagnosing and treating various ailments and diseases of children from their births to early adulthood.

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    What Does a Pediatrician Do?

    Some of the things a pediatrician does include:

    • Advising parents on taking care of their babies

    • Giving vaccinations or immunizations to babies

    • Ordering laboratory tests to evaluate a child’s health

    • Recognizing and diagnosing pediatric cancers

    • Advising overweight children about diet and physical activity

    • Communicating regularly with children to help find the cause of their ailments or discomfort and to provide treatment

    • Advising teenagers about birth control and the danger of sexual transmitted diseases (STD)

    • Working closely with other healthcare workers like general practitioners and nurses

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    What Education and Training are Important to Become a Pediatrician?

    The explanation below will explain how to become a pediatrician. Becoming a pediatrician as a health profession can be challenging and rewarding in the United States. A pediatrician needs to have a strong background in the Basic Sciences such as biology, physics, chemistry, algebra, and geometry in High School. After High School, a pediatrician has to earn a bachelor’s degree preferably in a scientific discipline at a college or university.

    A pediatrician must pass the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) and head to a medical school to obtain a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree or a Doctor of Osteopathy (D.O.) degree. During medical school, a pediatrician takes medical courses like anatomy, psychology, pharmacology, medical ethics, biochemistry and pathology. It will take fours years to complete medical school. The first two years are spent in classrooms and laboratories, while the last two years are focused on working with patients so that a pediatrician can learn more about pediatrics.

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    Where Does a Pediatrician Have to Apply the Knowledge after Medical School?

    Having graduated from medical school a pediatrician must take a residency program in hospitals, which takes three additional years to attend. The residency program will make a pediatrician comprehend many severe types of pediatric illness. A pediatrician is expected to treat sick children compassionately and professionally.

    An experienced pediatrician will supervise a pediatrician in practicing skills on patients. Furthermore, a pediatrician will spend about 80 to 100 hours per week in hospitals. In a residency program a pediatrician will earn minimum wage salaries instead of paying tuition.

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    What are the Certification and Licensing Requirements for a Pediatrician?

    All States in the United States require that a pediatrician be licensed. According to the American Board of Pediatrics, licensing requirements are:

    • A diploma from an accredited medical school

    • Completing three years of training in pediatrics in a residency program

    • Possessing a valid state license to practice medicine

    • Passing a comprehensive written examination pertaining to all aspects of health care for infants, children and adolescents

    If a pediatrician meets all those licensing requirements there will be a good chance to begin a promising career.

    The American Board of Pediatrics also provides some information on how to become a pediatrician.

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    What are the Potential Earnings for a Pediatrician?

    According to, the median annual salary a pediatrician might earn is $177,000 in 2008.

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    Degree Pediatrician: Career Summary, Job Outlook, and Educational Requirements -

    Degree What Education is Required to Be a Pediatrician -

    College Career: Pediatricians -

    Your Becoming a Pediatrician: The Bottom Line -

    Health Care – Training Pediatric Training Schools, Continuing Education, and Jobs -

    The American Board of Pediatrics -

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