Pediatricians are physicians who specialize in the care and treatment of infants, children, adolescents and young adults, birth to age 21. They are expert in all areas of a
child’s physical and emotional growth and development.
• teach parents about the health and wellness needs of their children, including regular examinations, immunizations, nutrition and physical, mental and emotional
• track each child’s growth and development and take action if problems arise.
• treat common childhood illnesses and injuries, such as ear infections and minor
• examine and diagnose patients, sometimes using medical equipment, instruments
• prescribe and administer drugs and treatments.
• provide ongoing treatment and monitoring for those with chronic illnesses such
as diabetes, kidney disease or cardiac conditions.
• immunize children to protect them from preventable, communicable diseases,
such as chicken pox, polio, measles and hepatitis.
• care for children with complex medical problems, alone or in consultation with
pediatric medical subspecialists or surgical specialists.
Most pediatricians work in private offices, hospitals and clinics. They may work alone
or with other physicians and are usually aided by nurses, technicians and clerks. They
also are involved in teaching and research in academic centers, as well as in the guidance of community health care in national, state and local governments and agencies
and in advocacy for children and families.
Average Salary Range
$90,000 – $145,000
Students interested in becoming a pediatrician should take the most challenging high school courses available in science, math and English, including advanced placement courses. To enter medical school, students must
have received a bachelor’s degree, with a high grade point average in a pre-medical program or other related major. They must pass a national examination (MCAT) and undergo extended interviews. Upon completion of medical school, physicians interested in pediatrics enter postgraduate education (internship and residency) during which they receive at least three years of specialized education and practice in the field of pediatrics. Those who wish
to further specialize may undertake up to three more years of education in fields such as pediatric emergency medicine.