Studying pediatrics prepares you to help patients who are among the most vulnerable. But you can also earn a comfortable living; the median salary for pediatricians in 2012 was $157,610, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Several programs are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. The best have facilities and doctors at the top of rankings lists published by U.S. News & World Report and QS World Universities.

East Region

A young pediatric doctor is holding a young baby.

The Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia has one of the most competitive three-year pediatric residency programs in the country. About 120 residents and interns enter the program each year. The school offers pediatric fellowships in 24 areas including cardiology, endocrinology, neurology and oncology. U.S. News ranks the pediatrics program at Harvard Medical School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the second best in the nation. Residents and fellows can work in Boston Children’s hospital, ranked the best pediatric hospital by U.S. News for cardiology, endocrinology, gastroenterology, neurology, orthopedics and urology.

Midwest Region

Medical school residents talking to a doctor.

The University of Cincinnati started its medicine-pediatrics residency program in 1990. Residents work at four facilities on one medical campus, which includes Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, ranked in the top three pediatric hospitals in the nation by U.S. News for cancer, gastroenterology, neonatology, nephrology and pulmonology. The Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago offers an extremely competitive pediatrics residency program. In 2012, the program received 926 applications, or about half of all the applications submitted for schools in the entire nation. The program balances service and education by sending residents to learn and help in needy communities.

South Region

Doctors are standing next to a boy in a hospital bed at a pediatric hospital.

The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, offers the Harriet Lane Pediatric Residency Program. In 2012, the program moved into the Charlotte R. Bloomberg Children’s Center, a 12-story facility with a neonatal intensive care unit, pediatric intensive care unit, and pediatric emergency department with pediatric operating rooms. Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, has the largest pediatrics department in the nation, with 700 faculty members. Residents will learn at Texas Children’s Hospital, the largest pediatric hospital in the nation. Despite the size, program administrators pride themselves on a team-oriented and collaborative approach to study and the practice of medicine.

West Region

A boy is having an exam with a pediatric doctor.

The pediatrics department at the University of Washington had a research budget of $43 million in 2014. It’s based in Seattle Children’s Hospital, the major referral hospital for Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho. During the three-year program, residents can elect to spend a two-month rotation learning about pediatric wilderness medicine. Pediatric residents at the University of Colorado in Denver have gone on to become doctors or fellows at hospitals across the world, including Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, the University of Iowa, Stanford University and the University of Colorado. Members of the three-year program can focus on rural or urban care, global health or a prefellowship area of pediatric specialization.