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Pediatrics Career

Career Description

A pediatrician diagnoses, treats, and helps prevent children’s diseases and injuries.

Common Work Tasks

  • Care for the health of infants, children,  teenagers, and young adults
  • Treat day-to-day illnesses—minor injuries, infectious diseases, and immunizations—that are common to children
  • Explain procedures and discuss test results or prescribed treatments with patients
  • Examine patients or order, perform, and interpret diagnostic tests to obtain information on medical condition and determine diagnosis
  • Examine children regularly to assess their growth and development
  • Prescribe or administer treatment, therapy,  medication, vaccination, and other specialized medical care to treat or prevent illness, disease, or injury in infants and children
  • Collect, record, and maintain patient information, such as medical history, reports, and examination results
  • Advise patients, parents or guardians, and community members concerning diet, activity, hygiene, and disease prevention
  • Treat children who have minor illnesses, acute and chronic health problems, and growth and development concerns
  • Plan and execute medical care programs to aid in the mental and physical growth and development of children and adolescents

Other Job Titles

Pediatricians are also known by other titles, including:

  • Pediatric Surgeons
  • Surgeons
  • Physicians
  • Internists

Education,  Training, and Experience

Education and Training
Formal education and training requirements for pediatricians include 4 years of undergraduate school, 4 years of medical school, and 3 to 8 years of internship and residency, depending on the specialty selected. A few medical schools offer combined undergraduate and medical school programs that last 6 years rather than the customary 8 years.

Certification and Licensure
All States,  the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories license physicians. To be licensed, physicians must graduate from an accredited medical school, pass a licensing examination, and complete 1 to 7 years of graduate medical education.  Although physicians licensed in one State usually can get a license to practice in another without further examination, some States limit reciprocity.  Graduates of foreign medical schools generally can qualify for licensure after passing an examination and completing a U.S. residency.

  People who wish to become physicians must have a desire to serve patients, be self-motivated, and be able to survive the pressures and long hours of medical education and practice. Physicians also must have a good bedside manner,  emotional stability, and the ability to make decisions in emergencies.  Prospective physicians must be willing to study throughout their career to keep up with medical advances.


The median annual salary for a Pediatrician is $140,000. The top 10 percent earn more than $145,000, and the lowest 10 percent earn less than $67,000.  Median earnings in the industries employing the largest number of pediatricians are:

  • Offices of Physicians - $148,140
  • General Medical and Surgical Hospitals- $140,380
  • Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools - $99,460
  • Outpatient Care Centers - $153,270
  • Elementary and Secondary Schools - $154,050

Job Outlook

  • 2006-2016 Employment growth:  N/A
  • Number of new jobs created 2006-2016: N/A
  • Employment 2006 : N/A
  • Employment 2016:  N/A
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