Pediatricians are doctors who take care of babies, children and teenagers. Some pediatric doctors will maintain a patient until he reaches 21 years of age. If you want to become a pediatrician, plan on about 11 years of preparation.
- Skill level:
Develop a strong love for children and a lot of patience in working with them. Children respond to people who genuinely enjoy and care about them. This is a must if you want to become a pediatrician.
Start in high school by being an above-average student. You must make excellent grades in both high school and college to prepare for medical school. Focus especially on biology, chemistry and writing courses.
Study hard during your 4 years of college as you must have excellent grades to qualify for medical school.
Prepare for 4 years of difficult study in medical school. You must take microbiology, immunology, pharmacology, physiology and pathology along with anatomy. Overviews of medicine, surgery and neurology will be covered in the last two years of medical school.
Score high on the National Medical Board exams in order to qualify and get a good position in a pediatric training program. The higher your scores, the better your opportunities are.
Complete a 1-year pediatric internship. You must get hands-on training in the care of children and their unique problems. You must learn about developmental issues and how to guide a child's health to maturity.
Finish your course of preparation with a 2-year residency. You must be exposed to a wide range of cases not only in an office, but in a hospital setting as well. You will also need to be familiar with critical care issues.
Prepare for a second round of National Medical Board exams. You must become board-certified in pediatrics to become a pediatrician.
Tips and warnings
- Watching a child grow and develop and helping him become a healthy adult is highly rewarding and fulfilling work. Eleven years is a lot of training, but keep in mind that you will get paid during your internship and residency.
- Responsibility for the care of babies and young children can be overwhelming. Make sure you have the temperament, personality and dedication required.