Pediatricians treat and diagnose ailments in babies, toddlers, children, teens and young adults. They provide routine check-ups, immunizations and yearly physicals, as well as treat more serious chronic conditions, infectious diseases, injuries, ailments and autoimmune disorders. Pediatricians can also choose to specialize in areas like pediatric surgery. There are several requirements to become a pediatrician, including a bachelor's degree, completion of medical school and three years of hospital residency.
High School Diploma
Becoming a pediatrician requires years of education beyond the secondary level. Schools will require a high school diploma or GED equivalent for admission. Maintain a high GPA; this will enable you to go to reputable college, which will enhance your chances of getting into medical school.
Earning your bachelor's degree will prepare you for medical school and a future career in pediatrics. You will need to take science and math courses, including biology, genetics, microbiology, molecular biology, basic chemistry, organic chemistry, physics and calculus. During your college career, volunteer your time for worthy causes; this will look good on your medical school application. You should also get some type of job in the medical field, as a CNA (certified nurse's assistant) or EMT (emergency medical technician).
MCAT (Medical College Admission Test)
During your junior or senior year of college, you will need to take the MCAT. Medical schools look at MCAT scores, GPA, medical field work experience, written essay and volunteer work when determining admission.
Future pediatricians will need to complete four years of medical school to train in the field of general medicine and pediatrics. During the first two years of medical school you will take basic science classes, including anatomy, pathology, physiology, pharmacology, microbiology, immunology, neuroanatomy, chemistry and others. During the latter half of medical school, you will gain clinical experience by practicing patient care through internal medicine, cardiology, radiology, obstetrics and gynecology, surgery, internal medicine, family practice, emergency medicine and pediatrics. It is during this time that future doctors choose their specialty.
After graduating from medical school as a medical doctor (MD), pediatricians must begin a residency that will last approximately three years. Residents earn a small salary and work between 80 and 100 hours per week. As a pediatric resident, you will treat chronically ill children, deal with worried parents, marvel at the miracle of medicine and witness the mysteries of life and death.
Licensing and Certification
In order to become a licensed pediatrician you must pass the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE). After completing residency, you must pass another examination in order to become board certified by the American Board of Medical Specialists (ABMS).
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