What is a pediatrician?
This is a medical professional who specializes in the care of children from birth to 18 years of age. It is a broad specialty that covers everything from general practice to the specialty of children’s oncology. Caring for a child is very different from caring for an adult and the reason is that children have unique medical issues and condition that adults do not. Also their different body size can pose some unique treatment challenges. A pediatrician should have a lot of patience because sometimes a child can be difficult to exam, give shots to, do blood work on, etc.
Job description of a pediatrician
A pediatrician will do general health exams, exams so a child can play sports like football, soccer, etc, in school, gives vaccinations and shots that a child needs throughout their childhood and are required by schools to have before attending and while attending school, giving flu shots, and treating an assortment of diseases and illnesses like pneumonia, colds, sore throats, etc. If there is a more serious problem they will generally refer them to a specialist that works in the field where there is a problem. The specialist would be considered a pediatrician specialist in such fields as ophthalmology, surgery, psychology, neurology, etc.
In addition to working with children that come into your practice sick you will also have to deal with other family members. A pediatrician is also bound by certain ethical responsibilities like a mandate to report suspected child abuse. Because pediatricians deal with children they encounter these problems more frequently. A pediatrician may also have to counsel and guide the parents and the patients in things such as diet to help an overweight child to lose weight, what type of exercise the child should do and how much, how to do breathing treatments on a child who has asthma, pneumonia, or bronchitis and need breathing treatments to help them breathe, how to give the medicine prescribed if they are sick, etc.
If they have their own private practice they should also have knowledge of how to run the office, managerial skills, financial skills, the ability to hire the right people to work in their office, etc. Many pediatricians also take continuing educational classes to keep up with new technology and medical skills. They may also take part in a research project.
How to become a pediatrician?
Before deciding to become a pediatrician a very important thing that you need to make sure of and that is “do you like children and can you work around them 8 or more hours a day?” If the answer is no, then you should choose another medical field because being a pediatrician means putting up with children who may be angry, does not like doctors, sick, who could throw up on you, hit at you, but there are children who are good and do not act up at a doctor’s office. You also need to realize that just because they are children you should treat them with respect. If you can do all this, then pediatrics is the medical field you should major in but be prepared to spend at least 11 years going to school and through residency training to become a pediatrician.
In high school take all the science and math classes that you can. When going to college to get your bachelor’s degree it can be in any subject but it is more helpful if you have a degree in the science field and complete basic science classes of chemistry, physics, and biology. You should also include math classes. Some even take a pre-med curriculum when getting their bachelor’s degree. All of this will help you to pass the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). You need to pass this exam in order to get into medical school. Because this is such a competitive exam may students start to prepare for it in their junior year of college.
Because there are so few openings in medical school you will need to provide recommendations from any employers or professors and have an interview with the admissions office at the medical school you want to attend. This is a very crucial point in getting into that particular medical school. You need to make sure that you apply at a medical college where they will teach you about medicines and healthcare practices in detail. Some of the medical classes you take are biochemistry, medical ethics, anatomy, psychology, and pathology. During the first 2 years of medical school you will do a lot of classroom and laboratory work and the last 2 years involve clinical rotations in various medical fields like emergency medicine, surgical, etc.
Some of the best colleges for studying to become a pediatrician include:
- University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- Harvard University, Boston, Massachusetts
- Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas
- University of California, San Francisco, California
- Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, New York
- University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida
Before you graduate from medical school you will have to take the United States Medical Licensing Exam. When you graduate from medical school you will have a license in either Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) or Doctor of Osteopathy (D.O.). Now it is time to complete your residency, which is 3 years, training in a hospital. In order to get into a residency program you must have a unique National Resident Matching Program number. Many residency programs will just accept applications through the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS) and will use the number to secure the individual applications. To apply through ERAS you have to submit 3 letters of recommendation, a personal statement, a resume, and a dean’s letter. You will also have to include the United States Medical Licensing Exam and transcripts from medical school. If they are interested in you they will arrange an interview.
During these 3 years of residency you will practice the skills that you leaned in medical college by learning from experienced pediatricians. After finishing your residency you will need to apply for a certification from the American Board of Pediatrics. Once you have this license you will be eligible to practice and prescribe medications to your patients. If you want to specialize in a particular field you would have to have additional training which could take another 3 years to complete. After a residency program you can pursue voluntary certification through the American Board of Pediatrics but every 5 years you who have to pass a renewal exam, have taken continuing educational courses, and have a self-assessment patient survey to keep the certification.
Being a pediatrician they can work in a range of settings from private practice to working in a hospital. They can also work in free clinics, group practices, doing research, etc. Many of the pediatricians who work in a hospital setting have a sub-specialty. What hours they would work depends on where they are working. If they work in a hospital the day would begin early to make rounds to check on sick children and newborns. Most pediatricians who work in a group practice or private practice work a normal 8 to 5 Monday thru Friday work schedule but there are times that a pediatrician does not get out when they lock the doors at 5 o’clock because they were running behind, an appointment took longer, or any of a number of reasons that they may have to work past 5 o’clock. Taking this into consideration some work 50 hours or more a week. Some may also make hospital rounds before they even come to the office.
If they are working in a group practice they may have a day off during the week plus the weekend off and 1 or 2 days during the week they will have late office hours to help people who work during the day. If a pediatrician has hospital privileges or work in a group practice they may take turns with other pediatricians being on call after hours, during the weekend, and holidays.
Sometimes when they see a patient they know exactly what is wrong and why they are there but there are other times that the child is displaying various symptoms and the parent is concerned but not sure what is wrong with the child. This means the pediatrician will have to maybe do some diagnostic tests to find out what the cause is. First they will do a physical exam, take their weight, and look at the symptoms. If the pediatrician thinks it could be strep throat they will have the nurse take a throat culture and run the test in the office to see if that is what the problem is. Sometimes it is just a “well baby” exam that is required by many states when the child is receiving medical help from the state like Medicaid. They will also give the children their necessary shots and vaccines according to their age and what is required.
Pros and cons of being a Pediatrician
The medical profession is full of people that play an important part in the medical healthcare system for a certain age category and Pediatrician do so. They are medically licensed specialist who work with children and who try to find the right treatment and diagnose the illnesses and diseases that already affect the bodies of their patients.
Like in any other job, there are pros and cons that come with being a pediatrician. The main rewarding from all this job is that you do what you like, and you are there as a support and a fighter for the children lives. As a pediatrician, your salary is very good. This is a good thing since your education requirements are many, and after you’ve taken your board certificate exam you’ll be left with a high amount of debt that you need to pay.
A pediatrician earns an annual earning that can reach $168,653 per year, while those, who work in the private area, will have an earning that will encompass a little the average salary. Working in private practice offices as a pediatrician your earnings will be estimated at $173,910 per year.
If you prefer to work with children and you’ve feel connected with them this, is the job for you. You’ll play this important role in their lives, and you’ll be able to offer them a clear status of their diseases and illnesses as well as to help them live longer and in a healthy manner. The most rewarding as a pediatrician is when you got that opportunity to see children recover after you’ve established the right treatment for him or her.
The misfortune, which might occur is the need to come to work on the night shift and get hard cases. In clinics and hospitals that are situated in big cities and that have a huge number of demanding the pediatrics will have to do night shifts. They will also need to stay full evenings, attend children on weekends and even they will have to do holiday shifts.
Those who live in small towns won’t get away so easy some, who have offices, might have a working schedule from 9 a.m. and up to 5 p.m. Other experts might be called to emergencies during the evenings or weekends.
A lot of stress can be added to this job since many parents will want a certain type of the treatment plan that could disagree with the pediatrician’s views. As we know, the costs for malpractice insurances have raised due to the many disagreements and to the fact that pediatricians work with children that haven’t yet fulfilled 18. From time to time, lawsuits can arise that will put the pediatrician in unusual situations.
Pediatrician job growth
The next years bring forth for pediatricians a great employment growth. According to the BLS or else known as the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, the growth rate for physicians and surgeons, in which category are also the Pediatricians, is estimated for the next five to ten years to 18% rate of increase in the outlook jobs.
This growth of employment is usually the result of the continuous expansion of the health care related industries and also because of the number of demanding for physician’s services due to the continuous growth in the latest medical technology, therapies, diagnostic tests and the high level of care that is granted.
There are plenty of work chances for these professionals both in the public and the private system. Many Pediatricians have found work in hospitals, outpatient centers, and facilities, physicians’ offices, while other work as self-employed and run their own private practices. Some of these professionals are hired by governmental organizations or community organizations.
The nature of this job allows these professionals to have plenty of job opportunities and a great employment outlook for the next years since the number in the child and adult population is always in a continuous increase.
On average a pediatrician just starting out can make a yearly salary of $130,000 but there are also a lot of factors that go into helping to determine the salary. Such factors as years of work experience, geographical location, board certified, if they have a sub-specialties, where they are employed, etc. In addition there is the great benefit package that employers offer such as paid sick days, vacation days, paid holidays, personal days, profit sharing, pension, social security, 401K, cell phone if they are on call, life insurance, health insurance, malpractice insurance, and more. It would depend on the employer as to what was included in the benefit package.
Here are some of average yearly pediatrician salaries of the various pediatric specialties.
- $225,000 – $250,000 in cardiology
- $210,000 – $240,000 in gastroenterology
- $200,000 – $210,000 in oncology
- $400,000 – $425,000 as a surgeon
- $160,000 – $180, 000 as a pulmonologist
- $200.000 – $220,000 in neurology
- $250,000 – $275,000 in intensive care
These are just average figures but what you would actually make in these specialties would depend on the same factors as a general pediatrician. On average the top pediatrician salary for a year would be more than $250,000 and the lowest average pediatrician yearly salary would be $89,600. Some of the states that employ the most pediatricians and offer a higher salary are New York, Texas, California, Ohio, and Massachusetts.
The annual average salary in 2014 for pediatricians is $171,000 ($82 per hour).
Pediatrician salary in Canada, Australia and UK
- UK—their average yearly pediatrician salary is based on their age. If they are in their 20’s they can earn £33,750, in their 30’s they can earn £44,100, and in their 40’s and 50’s they can earn £52,200.
- Australia—on average the pediatrician yearly salary is from AU$29,799 – AU$154,084 but they also get a bonus of AU$6.52 – AU$19,653 each year.
- Canada—on average the pediatrician yearly salary is from C$35, 00 – $163,620 and they can also get a bonus of C$12.385 each year.
Salary of a Pediatrician in 2015
A pediatrician salary in 2015 is mainly influenced by factors such as the education that one of these specialists possesses. Another factor is the specialization in which he or she is working, the experience that he has, the geographical location. There is a difference if you are working in the private area or if you are working in a public medical setting.
The starting salary in this field can be estimated at $135,010 per year, and it can increase with your years of experience gathered up at about $175,010 per year. The salary of a pediatrician is not the highest salary but it is a very good work choice, and the job is well paid.
Pediatrician Salary in 2016
The income of pediatricians in the United States, for the year 2016 is affected by various factors such as the years of experience in the field along with the level of education, to this adding the specialty and the sub-specialty board certification.
Your salary in 2016 will also be impacted by the working site in which one has found work. The income will vary according to the medical facility in which one of these professionals has found work or whether his chosen to open and run his or her private practice. The last factor that impacts the earnings of these professionals is the geographical location-state, city, as well as various urban or rural areas. Each state and the metropolitan area offers various payments and paychecks for these professionals, depending on the employer you’ll get bonuses, or profit sharing and other benefits.
When the geographical factor is taken into consideration, the incomes are mainly affected by the costs of living and the living expenses in those particular areas. The average starting income for a pediatrician that has just finished residency for a few years is set to reach at around $135,100 per year while the average income for a pediatrician in the area is estimated to reach around $175,100 per year.
The income of a Pediatrician with specialization is estimated even at a higher rate of earnings in this branch. Each earning varies by the major duties that one of these professionals has to accomplish and, of course, the specialization itself.
Those with 2-3 years of experience at the working site and with the specialization in Neurology or Oncology, Hematology can expect at an income that has in estimated to climb even up to $250,010 per year. A Pediatric Surgeon takes home even a higher income estimated to be comprised between $400,010 per year and up to $500,010 per year.
Conclusion on pediatrician salary
Although being a pediatrician can be a rewarding career it is not one of the highest paid salaries in the medical profession. It can take a lot of experience and many years to get to the place where you are earning a high salary. With the lowest average yearly pediatrician salary being around $89,000 it can make you wonder if going through all that training, college, medical school, and residency if it is worth it. If you love children and want to make sure that they stay well then being a pediatrician is for you. While in your final year of residency you should start to look for a job. Look for a job in a state that pays well and in a large city. If you cannot afford to start your own private practice look for a job in a prominent pediatric group practice. Although it is not one of the highest paying medical fields it is a job that has the highest rate of job satisfaction. The lowest average yearly salary for a pediatrician is those who work in surgical hospitals, universities, and colleges.
- First Published Date: 20 June, 2014
- Last Updated Date: 16 August, 2016