How Long Does It Take To Become A Pediatrician

Last Updated on August 12, 2023 by Oluwajuwon Alvina

A Pediatrician is a specially trained medical doctor who assists babies in managing physical, social and emotional challenges as early as the time they were born, until when they become teenagers. In other words, a Pediatrician helps kids to tackle emotional, physical and social differences.

This means that Pediatricians have a unique interest in children, so, if you desire to become one, you should start learning how to sing lullabies. Singing may be one of the things you would do as part of your routine with patients.

A renown Pediatrician at the University of Texas, Steven Abrams once explained that he enjoys his profession because “it is one of the few jobs where a doctor gets to hug his patients.”

You will likely get attached to these kids, mostly because you would have been in charge of their treatments even before they become aware of their environment or learn proper communication skills.

Equally, there is a good chance that you develop a good relationship with the parents of your patients since you would be giving regular updates on their child’s health. This would help them learn how to respond appropriately to the changes they notice in their children.

What exactly is a pediatrician?

A pediatrician is a physician that has graduated from an Allopathic (MD degree) or Osteopathic (DO degree) Medical school. They are responsible for the physical, emotional, and behavioral health of children from birth to the age of eighteen. A pediatrician is educated to identify and treat a wide range of health disorders in children, from mild ailments to life-threatening diseases.

Why should you become a pediatrician?

There are a number of reasons why you may want to consider pursuing a career as a pediatrician, including:

  • Helping children: Pediatricians generally choose to work with children because they find that treating children impacted by accident, illness or other diagnoses is fulfilling.
  • Positively impacting youth: Many pediatricians have the opportunity to help foster healthy habits in children at a young age, encouraging them to eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly and receive immunizations. Because pediatricians start working with their patients at a young age, they can help them make better choices about their health at a young age, which can make a big difference over the course of their lifetime.
  • High earning potential: In addition to personal fulfillment, another reason you may want to consider pursuing a career as a pediatrician is because of the high earning potential. Pediatricians who work in outpatient care centers and doctor’s offices enjoy the highest salaries.
  • Long-term relationships with patients: Many pediatricians enjoy the fact that they get to treat patients for years and watch them grow up. Pediatricians get the opportunity to foster a long-term, fulfilling relationship with their patients. Those connections are rewarding for both the pediatrician and the patient.
  • Young patients usually get better: Young children have amazing healing abilities and improve more rapidly than adults, which is professionally rewarding for pediatricians.

Where do Pediatricians work?

Being a caregiver who specializes in children’s health, A Pediatrician is mostly in demand in health facilities.

Nonetheless, organizations and institutions that constantly interact with infants, toddlers, adolescents, and teenagers are a big-time employer of Pediatricians too.

Some typical workplaces are:

  • Hospitals
  • Health Clinics
  • Government-owned Health Facilities.
  • Schools.
  • Health Consultancy firms.
  • Military Cantonments, among others.

Most Popular Pediatricians

Pediatricians may not be as popular as surgeons, yet, there is a countless number of successful Paediatricians. These set of experts have contributed towards making the field distinctive, relevant and crucial to medical science in general.

Here are some renowned Paediatricians –

  • Jim Sears: Jim Sears is a United States-trained Paediatrician. He has once been an Emmy award nominee and has been a co-host on the popular TV show, The Doctors.
  • Pedro Rossello: Born, raised, and trained in Puerto Rico, Pedro is a renowned Paediatrician and politician. He ruled the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico between 1993 and 2001 as its seventh Governor.
  • Thomas Berry Brazelton: Berry Brazelton is a United States based pediatric scientist and famous author. His theory, The Brazelton Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale is still being adopted in many pediatric hospitals around the world. Berry has over two hundred scholarly articles to his name and has authored a total of twenty-four books. Some refer to Berry as being the most influential Pediatrician in America after Benjamin Spock. Berry equally hosts the TV program, What Every Baby Knows.

How long does it take to become a pediatrician?

It typically takes between 11 and 15 years to become a pediatrician. It takes an average of four years to complete a bachelor’s degree, another four years to complete medical school and another three to seven years to complete a residency program and possibly fellowship.

How to become a pediatrician

Here are the basic steps you need to take to pursue a career as a pediatrician:

1. Pursue a bachelor’s degree

The first step you need to take to become a pediatrician is to earn a bachelor’s degree. Some colleges and universities have pre-med tracks that help prepare you for the types of coursework you will have in medical school. You may want to consider a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology, Chemistry, Specialized Health Sciences or Social Sciences.

To be prepared for medical school, regardless of your degree, you should complete coursework in organic and inorganic chemistry, physics and biology. You will also, during this time, begin preparing to take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), which is required for admission into medical school.

2. Complete medical school

The next step to pursue a career as a pediatrician is to complete four years of medical school. You could either pursue a degree as a medical doctor (M.D.) or doctor of osteopathic medicine (D.O.). Both of these degrees provide the training you need to succeed in a career as a pediatrician, although osteopathic programs tend to place more emphasis on preventative medicine and the musculoskeletal system.

During medical school, you will take courses on anatomy, biochemistry, microbiology, pharmacology, pathology and physiology. During the final two years of your program, you will conduct clinical rotations, gaining hands-on experience diagnosing and treating patients alongside experienced physicians. Your rotations will focus on specialties in the medical field, such as psychiatry, family practice, obstetrics and gynecology and pediatrics.

3. Obtain a medical license

After completing medical school, you will next need to obtain a license to practice medicine. To obtain a license, you need to pass a licensing exam and complete any other requirements specific to your state, such as completing a background check.

4. Complete a residency program and internship

After finishing school and obtaining your medical license, you must next complete your residency training in pediatrics. A pediatric residency program gives aspiring pediatricians the clinical experience that they need to feel confident and succeed in their careers.

During a pediatrics residency, residents improve their communication and presentation skills and further hone their clinical skills. This training also prepares aspiring pediatricians for work in a variety of different healthcare settings.

5. Consider a fellowship

A fellowship isn’t required to become a pediatrician. However, many residents choose to do so to specialize in the field of pediatrics. Some of the possible specialties include immunology, cardiology, nephrology, oncology, neonatology, rheumatology and pulmonology. A fellowship program generally lasts between two and three years, depending on the specialty that the pediatrician decides to pursue.

6. Consider a board certification

While it isn’t required, you may want to consider earning a board certification from the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) or the American Osteopathic Association (AOA). Board certifications can show patients and potential employers alike that you have the skills and knowledge to perform the duties required for your role and that you are committed to excelling within your field. Board-certified pediatricians must complete continuing education to maintain their credentials.

Best Universities to Study Pediatrics.

Like I mentioned earlier, you must have enrolled as a medical scientist before you can then decide to specialize in Paediatrics at the later stages of your education and training (Masters/Ph.D.). There are a good number of universities where Pediatrics takes a high percentage of their course work.

Below are Universities with dedicated, accredited Paediatrics departments.

1)    The University of Pennsylvania, United States of America.

  • Department: Department of Pediatrics
  • Courses: Pediatrics Residency Program, Pediatric Fellowships. Continuing Medical Education, Adolescence Medicine.
  • Duration: 1- 4 years
  • Study Option: Full-time
  • Level: Postgraduate Studies

2)    University of Alberta, Canada.

  • Faculty/Department: Medicine and Dentistry/ Pediatrics
  • Course: Master of Science in Pediatrics
  • Duration: 18 Months
  • Study Option: Full-time
  • Level: Postgraduate Studies.

3)    Stanford University, Canada.

  • Department: Pediatrics
  • Course: Pediatric Residency, Pediatric Fellowship.
  • Duration: 1- 4 years
  • Study Option: Full-time
  • Level: Postgraduate Studies

4)    University of Plymouth, United Kingdom

  • Department: School of Health Professions
  • Course: MSc Advanced Professional Practice in Paediatric Dietetics
  • Duration: 1 year
  • Study Option: Full-time (Part-time option is also available)
  • Level: Postgraduate


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