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A pediatrician is a specialist who works with children from the time they are born through their youth. Being a pediatrician is a very important job that brings benefits to the patients but and the doctor as well. Children and adults are of course different, and therefore, pediatricians need to be trained precisely for those areas. Most pediatricians work long hours, usually about 50 hours a week. Dedication in becoming a pediatrician is needed due to the extra 11 years of school needed after high school. Love, patients and a passion for infants and children are attributes that will make a pediatrician successful!

Job Description

Pediatrician taking care of an infant's needs.
Pediatricians care for children from the time they are born to early adulthood. They work with and specialize in the the health of infants, children, and teenagers. They diagnose and perform treatment in a variety of diseases and disorders that are specifically related to youth. They also track and record their patients’ growth from childhood to adulthood. However, the overall job of pediatricians is to treat day-to-day illnesses that are common to children: minor injuries, and diseases.[1]. Most pediatricians work in a small private health care facility. They often work along with a staff of pediatric nurses and administrative executives. However some pediatricians may be employed in large health care facilities where they are required to work in groups.[2]. Pediatrics deal with a child's physical and emotional development.Children also grow more rapidly and are physically and psychologically different than adults. It is because of these reasons that doctors must treat children differently from adults. They have unique and special needs and attributes that need different attention than adults.[3].


Education to become a pediatrician consists of 11 years of schooling after high school. However, your preparation for becoming a pediatrician starts in high school. Classes that are either required or advised to take are biology, chemistry, physics, algebra, geometry, and calculus if possible. English is required, and they encourage taking a foreign language such as Spanish. Once you get to college, which you need to attend for the full 4 years, the difficulty level of classes increase of course. Once in college the expected classes to take are:

  • 1-2 courses(basic)Biology
  • 1 course of genetics
  • 1 course of microbiology
  • 1 course of molecular biology
  • 1-2 courses in (basic) Chemistry
  • 1-2 courses of (Organic) Chemistry.
  • Physics - 1 course in basic.
  • Math - 2 courses in calculus

After college there is medical school for four years. The first two years are focused on basic medical sciences. For example: human anatomy, physiology, chemistry, microbiology, pharmacology, neuroanatomy, etc. The first two years focus on clinical sciences. This is when you get to be "hands-on" with patients. And finally, the 3rd or 4th year, is when you choose an area of medicine you would like to specialize in. After medical school, doctors must attend a program called residency. This is like an internship which you will be in for about 3 years. It helps you get more dependent on your own and allows you to use your knowledge in the field. 80-100 hours are expected to complete the final steps in becoming a pediatrician. It takes a lot of money to put yourself through all of this schooling. Its about $100,000 for 4 years of college alone and then $160,000 for 4 years of medical school. [4]. Also one must take the qualifying board exams and be able go on to further training in pediatrics. Though, with all the money needed to pay for schooling to become a pediatrician, a good pediatrician is expected to make a good amount of money. [5].

Hours and Salaries

Hours vary between pediatricians, depending on the different facilities in which they work. However the average pediatrician works about 50 hours per week. Because of their long hours, most take a 1/2 day or even full day off during the week. A pediatrician's day usually starts out by going to the hospital to see new babies that have been born, and see any sick kids that may have been put in the hospital. Office hours usually begin around 8:30 or 9:00 am and end around 4:00 or 5:00 pm. Pediatricians usually get 1 to 1 1/2 hours for lunch.[6]. Pediatricians can earn a very good amount of money. The average salary that pediatricians can earn is around $140,000 per year. Though salaries vary from state to state, pediatricians, after they have a few years of experience in the field, can make a salary of about $160,000 or more per year, depending on how busy they are and how many patients they see. It takes a few years, just as any other job would, to climb your way up the salary ladder. Experience in the field is what determines the amount of money you will receive per year. [2].


The field of pediatrics began less than two centuries ago, making pediatrics young in the medical world. The first pediatrics hospital was founded in Philadelphia in 1855.[7]. However, before pediatrics even started, the medical needs of infants and children were taken care of by their families, friends, and midwives. It wasn't until the beginning of the 19th century where there was a development of physicians who related specifically to the needs and sicknesses of children. That is when pediatrics first started. [8]. It wasn't until 1909 when the first Children's Hospital was created. In the first few years of the 20th Century there was a small group of men and women who were encouraged by a few interested physicians, who came up with an idea in establishing a Children's hospital in Halifax, Canada. The group collected money and by 1907 was given a check of $10,000 by Mr. F.D. Corbett. That check funded the construction of the Children's Hospital and its doors opened in 1909. By 1955 the building had been expanded and was able to hold 217 beds within. [7]. Though most other physicians were writing about children's diseases, the best was claimed to be Dr. Abraham Jacobi (1830–1919) He was a German pediatrician who arrived in New York in 1853 and was a magnificent writer. He taught about the good will and nature of children.


  1. Pediatrician Job Description.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Pediatrician Job Description By Stephen Rampur 10/5/09.
  3. Job Report
  4. Becoming a Pediatrician: THE BOTTOM LINE! by, Inc.
  5. Pediatrician Salary - No Child's Play2004-2009
  6. Interview with a Pediatrician: Being a Pediatrician by Vincent Iannelli, M.D. February 12, 2008.
  7. 7.0 7.1 The history of pediatrics at Baylor University Medical Center Baylor University Medical Center 2004.
  8. The Growth and Development of a Specialty: The History of Pediatrics C. Becket Mahnke, MD, Department of Pediatrics, Madigan Army Medical Center, Tacoma, Washington, 2000.

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