The field of pediatric medicine is a challenging yet rewarding medical specialty. After completing the education and residency requirements, those interested in a career as a pediatrician should have no problem finding employment or succeeding in private practice. Pediatricians have the option of working in a hospital setting, office or clinic to provide medical care to infants, children and teens.
Pursuing a career in the medical field requires a solid foundation in the sciences and the intellectual tenacity to complete undergraduate studies with a competitive grade point average. Pre-med coursework that includes chemistry, biology and physics, as well as strong communication, analytical and reasoning skills, helps prepare undergrads for medical school.
The training requirements and formal education for a career in pediatric medicine are rigorous and demanding, with four years of medical school followed by -- depending on the specialty -- up to eight years of internship and residency. Before practicing medicine, explains HealthCareSalaryOnline.com, the resident must pass an exam and meet various state-specific guidelines to become licensed.
Pediatricians counsel parents and guardians, and provide guidance on each patient's physical growth and development. They must interpret diagnostic examinations to assess the medical condition of patients and prescribe medication or make referrals for further testing, if necessary. In some settings, a pediatric physician also conducts research or coordinates activities of medical staff. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports a median salary of $152,240 for pediatricians, as of 2009.
In busier practices or hospital units, a pediatrician works more than 60 hours per week, reports HealthCareSalaryOnline.com, including emergency patient evaluations at any time of day. They also see patients in non-emergency settings for injuries and illnesses, working to diagnose and treat medical conditions. Newborn examinations, circumcisions, wellness checks and administering immunizations rank among a pediatrician's common duties.
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