Pediatricians are medical doctors who specialize in serving children. They diagnose and treat a wide range of illnesses, diseases, disorders, and injuries.

These specialists work with patients from infancy to early adulthood. They consult with kids and their parents, and conduct examinations, to identify symptoms and complaints. Using this information, along with the results of diagnostic tests, pediatricians determine the appropriate treatment or therapy. They prescribe medication, provide immunizations, and make referrals to other medical professionals.

More than one-third of pediatricians have a subspecialty. Neonatologists are concerned with premature babies and newborns suffering from birth defects or other problems. Children with cancer and blood diseases go to pediatric hematologist-oncologists. Doctors who focus on the treatment of heart disease in kids are called pediatric cardiologists. Other pediatricians specialize in surgery, endocrinology, or helping developmentally disabled kids. Some treat children within certain age groups.

In addition to providing medical care, pediatricians have administrative, research, and teaching responsibilities. Those who operate their own private practice must possess business skills like finance and management.

These doctors often work in offices and clinics, either on their own or with other physicians. About one-third of pediatricians are employed in group practices. Nearly that many are based in hospitals or medical schools.

Pediatrician Job Description

A pediatrician provides diagnoses and treatments for a variety of ailments in infants, children, and teenagers. They perform regular checkups to monitor their patients’ health, recording and assessing growth rates and other physical-development indicators.

Pediatricians help kids who have sustained injuries and those with complaints about minor issues like acne. They also treat illnesses and infectious diseases, as well as serious ailments such as muscular dystrophy and autoimmune disorders. Some children need assistance in managing chronic conditions.

Immunizations are administered to prevent illnesses commonly experienced by children. They include chicken pox, diptheria, hepatitis B, measles, and the mumps.

Kids’ doctors serve an educational role, as well. They teach parents how to provide home care for their children, and provide tips regarding diet and exercise.

The pediatrician job description includes:
  • Consult with young patients and their parents or guardians, to learn about symptoms and medical histories
  • Provide education for dealing with minor problems and chronic conditions, and teach how to practice a health lifestyle
  • Examine the patient and conduct diagnostic tests to discern the cause and nature of the illness, disease, disorder, or injury
  • Analyze the results of examinations and tests to determine possible treatment methods, then explain the options to patients and their parents
  • Carry out medical-care programs individually created for patients, altering the drugs and other aspects of the treatment as warranted
  • Perform operations and other medical procedures, and provide minor medical services like checkups and vaccinations
  • Supervise and coordinate other medical staff, including nurses, medical assistants, and specialists
  • If operating a private practice, perform business functions and manage employees
  • Create and maintain patient charts and other records
  • Obtain continuing education and take part in research projects

Pediatrician Prerequisites

Doctors choose to specialize in pediatrics because they love children and want to help them live healthier, happier lives. The ability to calm, reassure, and effectively communicate with kids and their parents is vital. Pediatricians must be good listeners who show compassion and understanding, and are able to explain complex medical matters in a way that young patients can comprehend.

The ability to cope with high-pressure situations is crucial, as some patients may have horrific injuries or other life-threatening conditions. Kids and parents can be extremely emotional under such stress.

Pediatricians also require the physical stamina to stand for hours during medical procedures. It is common for them to work more than 40 hours per week. Some are on call to respond to emergencies.

How to become a Pediatrician

Becoming a pediatrician entails many years of education. It starts in high school, when students planning to become doctors should take science and math courses. Anatomy, biology, chemistry, physics, and algebra are among the recommended classes.

Next, a prospective doctor needs to earn a bachelor’s degree in a life science from an accredited, four-year college or university. They should take part in pre-med programs, while volunteering at clinics or hospitals.

To earn the PhD required to practice in the field, an undergraduate needs to complete four years of study in medical school. Some of these institutions offer six-year programs that combine bachelor’s degree and doctorate programs. Courses include the sciences and math, as well as immunology, English, social sciences, medical ethics, and the humanities.

After medical school, three to eight years (depending upon the pediatric speciality) of internship and residency training are necessary before a doctor is qualified to work as a pediatrician. During the residency, a doctor takes part in clinical rotations to learn about adolescent medicine, anesthesia, critical care, developmental disabilities, and newborn intensive care.

Pediatrician Certification

Every state requires that pediatricians be licensed. To be eligible, an applicant must show proof of having received the proper education and pass a national exam.

Employers generally mandate that pediatricians be certified in basic life support. Professional certification is available from the American Board of Pediatricians. Different certification exams are administered for doctors in various specialities.

Pediatrician Salary

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Pediatrician Job Description Summary

Here is a short recap of the pediatrician job description:
  • Diagnose and treat diseases in infants and children
  • Work with other physicians and nurses
  • 4 year bachelor’s degree
  • 4 year medical school program
  • 3 to 8 additional years of residency program
  • Must be licensed to practice
  • 18% employment growth by 2022