Pediatricians are responsible for the health care needs of young people, generally from birth to early adulthood. More specifically they deal with health issues that arise for infants, children, and teenagers and help chart their growth towards adulthood. In addition to general health needs, such as administering basic care like injections or giving check-ups, pediatricians also are able to make more specific assessments when a child is ailing.
Pediatrician Job Responsibilities
For pediatricians who specialize in general care, the list of duties is exhaustive. Duties include counseling parents and patients about things like diet and exercise when it concerns personal development or the treatment of the patient. They also analyze the patient’s health status as they mature so that physical and developmental growth can be tracked. These physicians treat minor maladies, in addition to more serious injuries such as wounds or psychological issues. The work of a general care pediatrician is complicated, but this is not to say that alternative concentrations are less demanding.
Pediatrics itself is a very broad field that hosts specialists in children’s care, just as there are specific fields of study for physicians who treat adults. While some pediatricians specialize in general care, there are many others that work in more specific fields like pediatric neurology or pediatric surgery. The special needs of developing bodies must be considered when a child is in need of care, necessitating specialists who can compensate for the young person’s needs.
This specific type of physician works within a health care facility along side of other medical professionals such as nurses and general physicians. Some pediatricians work in small clinics, private or public, while others work in large health care organizations. The difference between the work of a pediatrician and other health care workers is that they are more able to diagnose health issues specific to children or decides upon the best course of treatment for the developing body of a young person.
Pediatrician Training and Education Requirements
In order to serve as a pediatrician, one must have a degree and hold a state license where they want to practice. Certification is necessary.
To be a pediatrician, like any other position within the medical community of physicians, one must be willing to go through an exceptional amount of schooling before they can begin to practice. Someone who is interested in exploring this field can expect to attend four years in an undergraduate institution, at least four years at medical school, and dedicate another three to eight years exploring a combined internship and residency. The total amount of time a person can expect to be in study for this position ranges from eleven to sixteen years.
When deciding upon which graduate programs to attend, a more renowned school can help the aspiring pediatrician find greater success. However, if one is more interested in doing research versus pursuing their own practice, a review of the best schools for each concentration is necessary.
In sum, to acquire one’s license to practice within any given state, a candidate must complete four general steps:
- Complete the minimum amount of training in order to obtain a degree.
- Complete an internship/residency stint in a pediatric ward.
- Pass the national exam.
- Apply for a license within the state of practice.
Pediatrician Salary and Wages
Just as any position within the medical field, a pediatrician working in the right industry can find themselves in a lucrative position. While the physician who works in a largely populated area can expect greater income, the medical profession is not one that varies greatly unless the medical person is renowned.
The United States Bureau of Labor and Statistics reports that pediatricians earn income at the top of the medical occupation. The median annual income for pediatricians as of May 2009 is $161,410, with an hourly median wage of $77.60. Of similar medial professions, pediatricians are among the top earners. The annual income varies by state, with the highest paid pediatricians earning more in states like Minnesota ($199,440 median annual wage) than they do in Vermont($115,980 median annual wage).*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
People who hold a position as pediatrician are also likely to have additional employment benefits like paid vacation, sick leave, health plans, and others.
Becoming a pediatrician requires a great deal of training to obtain certifications, but there is little in the way of certification outside of the initial licensing. Like all physicians, pediatricians are required to keep their certifications and licenses up to date. All of this information is found and maintained by the American Board of Pediatrics (http://www.abp.org).
Pediatrician Professional Associations
There are numerous associations for individuals practicing pediatrics. Some associations are based on the location of the Pediatrician, while others are defined by the specialty of the practicing physician. Associations for pediatricians include:
- The Mesa Pediatrics Association
- American Academy of Pediatrics
- AAP State Chapters
- Society for Adolescent Medicine
- Society for Pediatric Urology
- Society for Pediatric Nurses