What Does a Pediatrician Do? – Overview

Pediatrics is a branch of medicine that deals with the medical care of infants, children and adolescents. A pediatrician is a doctor that specializes in this area of medicine and is focused on the physical, emotional, and social health of infants, children, adolescents, and young adults up to age 21.

Pediatricians work in hospitals, health maintenance organizations, clinics, or medical schools. They also serve as primary care physicians, i.e. a physician who provides both the first contact for a person with an undiagnosed health concern as well as continuing care of varied medical conditions.


Pediatricians are specialist doctors who have undergone a series of education and training. The steps to become a pediatrician are as follows:

1. Obtain a Bachelor’s Degree – Prospective pediatricians need to earn a graduate degree in the sciences. This is the prerequisite to gaining admission into medical school. The duration for this stage is 4 years.

2. Medical School – After completing college, future pediatricians will need to attend medical school. Before earning the right to use the title Medical Doctor (M.D.) you will be required to complete four years in an osteopathic or allopathic medical school. Completing these programs will give you a Medical doctor degree (allopathic school) or a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.) degree. The duration for this stage is 4 years.

3. Pediatric Residency – After graduation from medical school and obtaining the needed license, you will be required to complete residency training in pediatrics. Depending on the region the training can last for up to three years.

The training is aimed at exposing you to the various clinical rotations in different pediatric subspecialties such as cardiology, endocrinology, emergency medicine and adolescent medicine. You may also be required to attend lectures during your residency.

After completing the residency, physicians are eligible to become certified in pediatrics by passing a rigorous test that deals with medical conditions related to young children. The duration of this stage is 3 years.

How long does it take to become a Pediatrician?

A quick summation of all the stages highlighted above to become a pediatrician shows a total duration of about 11 years.


What does a Pediatrician do?

Pediatricians are primarily concerned with the well-being of children. They have been specially trained to diagnose and treat medical conditions that are unique or peculiar to infants, adolescents, and teens.

They can also offer professional advice to parents on how well to take care of their sick children or the possible preventive measures against childhood diseases, treat varying degrees of injuries from mild to complicated, and administer vaccination when the need arises.

Types of Pediatricians

There are several types of pediatricians and they function based on the sub-specialty. Some subspecialties of pediatrics include:

  1. Pediatric Nephrologist – Treats children with kidney or urinary tract disease, bladder problems, kidney stones.
  2. Pediatric Pulmonologist – Treats children with breathing and lung diseases.
  3. Pediatric cardiologist – Treats children with heart disease.
  4. Pediatric Rheumatologist – Treats children with joint, muscle, and bone disorders, arthritis, etc.
  5. Pediatric Gastroenterologist – Treats children with the digestive system, liver, or nutritional problems
  6. Pediatric Hematologist/Oncologist – Treats children with blood diseases and cancer
  7. Pediatric emergency medicine – It involves the care of undifferentiated, unscheduled children with acute illnesses or injuries that require immediate medical attention.
  8. Child abuse pediatrics

How Much Does a Pediatrician Make?

The salary depends on a lot of factors ranging from employer location to the experience of the doctor. Pediatricians earn a mean income of $231,637 a year.

Being a pediatrician is a good career and the chance to care for and treat children is fulfilling.

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