Have you always enjoyed working with or being around children, and also had an interested in the medical field? If so, the job of a pediatrician may be the perfect career for you! This career involves providing medical care only to children typically 18 years of age and under. General pediatricians provide basic preventative care to children as well as care when they become ill. Job security for pediatricians is expected to be very good in the years to come. Pediatricians often work full time, and they are paid very well. Sometimes they may need to work odd hours or may need to be on call and accessible to patients. If you think you would like to become a pediatrician, read on to learn more about this rewarding profession. In the following article, you can learn all about the pediatrician salary, the general pediatrician job description, and so much more!
Overview of a Pediatrician Salary
According to the BLS, the median annual salary for general pediatricians is $154,650 per year as of May 2012 or $74.35 an hour. The top 10% of general pediatricians earned greater than or equal to $187,200 per year or $90.00 per hour. The lowest earning general pediatricians earned less than $90,950 or $43.73 per hour. The median annual salary for pediatricians is higher than the average median salary for all occupations combined. The median annual salary for all occupations as of May 2012 was $34,750.
Earning Factors of a Pediatrician Salary
A pediatrician’s salary tends to be dependent upon the number of years of experience they have working in the field. Pediatricians who have been working for many years tend to earn higher annual salaries than pediatricians just starting out. Salary is also influenced by the location in which a pediatrician is employed. Based on BLS data from May 2012, pediatricians who worked in specialty hospitals earned a median annual salary of $228,440 or $109.83 per hour. The annual pediatrician salary of pediatricians employed in physicians’ offices was $188,420 or $90.59 per hour. Pediatricians who worked in offices of other health practitioners earned the lowest median annual salaries of $147,990 or $71.15 per hour. The best paid pediatricians are employed in the following states: Mississippi, Utah, Montana, South Dakota, and Massachusetts.
Pediatrician Job Description
The job of a pediatrician is challenging, rewarding, and hectic at times. In most instances, pediatricians work 40 hours each week or more. At times, pediatricians may need to work evenings, weekends, and on holidays. They may need to be on call on occasion, which may mean being awoken late at night or early in the mornings if an emergency arises. Pediatricians generally work with children who are 18 years of age or younger. General pediatricians deal with common health issues and preventative care. They must also look out for more complex health issues that are beyond the scope of general pediatric medicine.
A typical pediatrician job description contains the following items:
- Provide preventative care to healthy children (through vaccinations, examinations, screenings, and so forth)
- Provide healthcare to children who are ill by assessing, diagnosing, and treating a variety of illnesses
- Educating parents/caregivers as well as patients about their health and healthy lifestyle choices
- Assessing for more complex disorders/diseases as the typical first line of healthcare for children
- Assess general development and behavior and determine if children are meeting milestones at the appropriate time
General pediatricians have essentially the same job responsibilities. However, if a pediatrician chooses to specialize in a specific body system (such as pediatric cardiology, pediatric gastroenterology, or pediatric neurology) their job responsibilities will be different than those of a general pediatrician. Rather than focusing on general health assessment and treating minor illnesses, specialized pediatricians typically focus on diagnosing and treating more complex diseases of a specific body system.
A pediatrician must have these important qualities:
- Good interpersonal skills
- Communication skills
- Patience and empathy skills
- Excellent problem solving skills
- Leadership skills
- Strong analytical skills
- Technical skills
- Orientation to small details
- A good memory
- The ability to adapt and be flexible
Pediatrician Job Outlook
According to the BLS, the pediatrician job outlook is quite good. The field of pediatric medicine is expected to grow by 18% between 2012 and 2022. This is faster than the average rate of growth for all other occupations combined. Part of the demand for pediatricians comes from the fact that children will continue to be born and will need preventative medical care and treatment during times of illness. As medical insurance becomes more accessible to families, more parents and guardians will seek medical care for their children. Also, children’s insurance programs will ensure that children have access to medical care.
Let’s check out the pediatrician education requirements that will be needed in order to compete highly competitive positions.
Pediatrician Education Requirements
The pediatrician education is an extremely important component to becoming a pediatrician. In order to become a pediatric physician, an individual must have a bachelor’s degree and a medical degree from an accredited medical program. The focus of the bachelor’s degree is not necessarily that important, however it can be advantageous to pursue a bachelor’s degree in a field related to medicine. This could be biology, chemistry, or pre-medicine. Taking relevant classes as early as high school can be very helpful as it lays a strong foundation for future medical studies.
Medical school is highly competitive and difficult to get into. Students must have excellent grades from their undergraduate studies. Following graduation from medical school, new doctors must pass licensing exams pertinent to pediatric medicine. They must also complete a residency in pediatric medicine. They must then pass board certification exams by the American Board of Pediatrics. Pediatricians who have been board certified and licensed can begin practicing general pediatric medicine. If they prefer, they can continue their education and specialize in a particular area of pediatric medicine. These areas include pediatric neurology, pediatric oncology, pediatric cardiology, and so forth.
Physicians tend to become better respected as they gain knowledge and experience over time. After years of experience practicing as a pediatrician, they may have the opportunity to become the head of their medical practice.
Tips for Working with Kids for Pediatricians
If you are in this field, chances are you love kids, and working with them brings you joy. You want to truly make a difference in this world by caring for those who are the most vulnerable. Children are a joy to work with in every way, but they are also much different than adults, especially when it comes to doctors and sickness. They are easily frightened and uncomfortable in doctor-patient situations because they don’t know what to expect and pain is scary to them. As their pediatrician, you will want to make them as comfortable as possible.
Maybe the only reason you are looking into a Pediatrician salary is simply to see if this is a field you would enjoy being in. We want to also give you information that allows you to see what it is like to work with kids and how to do it well.
Make It a Space That Welcomes Kids
Whenever you go into anywhere that is a child type place, what do you see? Most likely, there are toys, activities, colorful walls, etc. These types of environments help them to feel welcome and comfortable and like they are meant to be there. There is a familiarity in setting up a kid-friendly office because it will remind them of their daycare, playroom, or church class. Go for the whole office becoming a kid center. Paint your walls neon, get small chairs that fit kids, get fish tanks, puzzles, and other toys for them to play with, coloring books, play dough, books for kids, and anything else that you can think of to incorporate. Turn on cartoons and animated movies in the waiting room. This really preps them for the doctor instead of a sterile area that looks scary and menacing, with its many walls, cold climate, and magazines.
Create a space that kids will love. You can break things up into areas in the waiting room. Various corners like you would a classroom. When people go into the actual office, carry on the same mood and energy as the waiting room. The more you can make every aspect nice for kids, the more they will enjoy their visits. On the way out, have stickers and lollipops at the front with the receptionist. This is the time to get really creative and make a space that encompasses all you want the kids in your care to experience, from the waiting room to the back of the office.
Get on Their Level
Kids are very in tune with their culture. They know all the songs, movies, shows, social media, and all other pop culture ins. It is vital that you don’t become like them, but let them know that you care for their generation. Get familiar with the young culture. Stay open to learning and not judging. Really no matter where in the child health industry you work, it is so important to take an interest in their world. This shows respect and not the common adult notion of dismay or disapproval.
Become Their Friend
Most people who relate to kids cannot become their friend, because they need to be able to set boundaries and rules for the safety and learning of the child. Parents, teachers, caretakers, etc, have to have a level of respect that is maintained. They are not usually looking to become friends and if they are, they are not doing a great job. But for you, being friends with the child is actually one of the best things you can do. Take full advantage of this! Become their friend in every way possible. You can relate to them, as mentioned in the step above. You can ask them questions, take a genuine interest in what they are interested in.
Sports, clubs, school, jobs, and all the other things they do on the daily. When you are a pediatrician, you could be with a child from birth until they are 18, meaning you have more than enough time to build a genuine relationship with them. Knowing them and sharing a connection makes it easier when you are doing exams or administering shots. Being their friend builds trust, it shows them you have their best interest in mind. It is also the reason you wanted to get into this business in the first place, right? To love and care for children and help them get and stay healthy.
Ask and Explain before Touching
This is a basic principle for anyone. No matter the age of the patient, the partner, no matter what, asking and explaining, getting consent before you touch, is so important. More than just getting the okay, make sure you are explaining exactly why you are touching them. Is this a gentle touch to check something out? Could this sting a little and you need them to be braced and prepared beforehand? Explain. This will really cut down on the instances where you have a child that freaks out because you touched them. Learn how to get on their level. That means using age-appropriate language, don’t talk to teenagers like young children, because this demines them. Just be kind and speak in a way that allows them to know exactly what to expect, exactly why, and make sure it’s okay with them first.
Recognize and Call out Courage
It is not fun to go to the doctor for anyone, but it is an especially scary experience for children. When they show up and are going along with all the tests and questions like a champ, acknowledge it. if they are timid, find things to call out that are areas where courage is being shown. No matter what, there is always something you can positively comment on. If this is a basic checkup, expect some fear but not a ton (depending on the child). But if they are going in for an injury, the fear will be a heightened thing. This means you should be calling out all the courage possible to help them feel comfortable!
Care about Their Input
For kids, one of the biggest complaints about adults is that they treat them like second class citizens. They do not care what they have to say or what they think. Break this stereotype, because it is likely common in their life. Think back to when you were a kid and you had adults that did not get you. Maybe it was the coach that asserted dominance on the field, maybe it was the teacher who did not let you get an opinion or word in about what you think on a topic, maybe it was a parent that did not consider what you thought. In some cases, adults need to make the final call without considering the input of the child. but you don’t need to do this most of the time, only in extreme situations, such as having to do a procedure for the sake and well-being of the child.
So get their input! Show a genuine interest in what they have to say. Allow them to explain and describe how they feel, what hurts, their fears and worries, and anything else they think. Be the adult that listens to them, considers them, and treats them as an equal and first-class citizen. You will likely get parents in your office who want to take over and answer for the child all the time. This is where patient-doctor communication comes in. Remain professional, listen to what the parents have to say, value their input as well, but make it a point to listen to the children as well.
Value the Parents
I remember as a child when my younger sister had leukemia. She lived in the hospital for years. My mother’s biggest complaint was not being treated like a human. She was just “the mom”, she was referred to as “her mother”. Though this is about the kids, you can also value the parents and what they are going through. In the case of a health issue that requires intensive work between you and the patient, and not a general checkup, it is important to value the parent even more. They are their own person, and the pain or sickness of their child hurts them deeply. Listen to them, ask them what they think. A great pediatrician knows how to value the parent of the patient as well as the patient.
Don’t Lie about Pain
The worst thing you can do is sugarcoat the level of pain a child will experience. Every person (including children) have various levels of pain tolerance, so it is possible that one child’s pain will not be on the same level as another’s. This is why you should use a range. Be honest, but say it with kindness and provide comfort. You can have great bedside manners while also using hones language. Tell them what it is in a gentle way. The biggest way to lose the trust of a child is to promise and then fail to make good on it.
Get in the Business of Distractions
The best way to get a child to stop throwing a tantrum or being afraid of a scary situation is to distract them. The same goes for health care. Provide distractions when you are doing things that will no doubt be painful. Keep iPads in the room, keep movies and kids TV shows on TV, keep books in the room, do something simple like asking them to cough or talk to them about something unrelated when you are about to give them a shot or take blood. You will learn how to distract when you go to school to become a pediatrician, so pay close attention. It will help a ton in the long run!
Don’t Joke about Pain, Ever
Pain should not be used as an incentive. Them being “good” or “bad” in the office should not warrant anyone to tell them that they will get a shot or anything else that they do not enjoy. This creates fear and negative association. Parents may not know this, but pediatricians should! Never threatens pain, even as a joke. You are only setting yourself up for failure in the long run if you do.
Use Positive Reinforcement
AS studies show, most kids do best when they are given positive reinforcement. Keep treats close at hand! use them as incentives. Positively speak about the procedures and exams and remind them what is available waiting for them when all is complete. Get creative. A treasure chest with fun little toys, coloring books, stickers, lollipops, ice cream, you can offer anything you think will encourage a child to sit still and encourage them to be cited to get it all over with quickly. The more positivity you can infuse into your practice the better. Always go with positive reinforcement, in your speech, and in your practices.
Ask Lots of Questions
Kids are known for asking tons of questions, so turn that on its head. Ask them questions. This makes them feel comfortable and cared about. Ask them about pain levels, what is most comfortable, and their preferences. Ask as many questions as you can. Many kids are not vocal with adults, so if you give them the space to be, this will encourage them to feel safe and confident in what you are doing. Taking what they answer into consideration also makes them feel like they have control over what is going on, which is a huge aspect of helping the visit go smoothly!
Remind Them Why They Are There
The last thing on the list and possibly the most important is to remind the child why they need to go to the doctor. tell them what you are doing with them and the benefits of it. share all the good reasons that going to the doctor will help them. Tell them about your other patients as well as what you do every day in your profession. the more understanding they have, the more they will see why, the more they will want to get checked.
Why is Children’s Healthcare Important?
Children’s healthcare is a field for champs. Getting into this field has so many amazing things that come along with it. We hear about it all the time, but the health of our kids is a huge talking point in this world and in this country in both politics and day to day life. What are the reasons for that? Rather than just loving kids and wanting to work with them, being in this field can really change so many lives for the better. As someone who had a very young sister go through cancer treatments at one of the greatest children’s hospitals in the country, I can see the importance of having good people in children’s healthcare so clearly. I want to help you see it as well. You may already know many all of the best reasons for getting into this field, but some of these things may be new to you. Read on to learn more!
Children Have a Much Higher Health Risk
Children are much more prone to getting sick than adults are. The same is true of them getting injured. Children do tend to bounce back quickly, but when it is serious, if there is no proper treatment it can really affect a child for the rest of their life. Their immune systems are in the process of developing and that means that any threat that comes to a child has much more serious implications than for an adult. Simple things such as babies having infections can seriously mess up everything in a child’s body as well as their chances of future health. This is why kids need to get medical treatment that is done quickly and done with excellence.
You Create Peace of Mind and a Healthy Future
Since their immune systems are building as well as their bodies growing, constant check-ups to make sure that everything is going well are of the utmost importance. Many times, the issues that adults have stemmed from their childhood and lack of proper medical care. That means an entire life and personhood are at risk if medical treatment for children is not done correctly. Proper healthcare allows for peace of mind for all parties involved including the parents, professional, and the child.
You Are Needed Everywhere in the World
Making sure that the health of a child will be secured and any issues that come will be addressed before the issues grow is the task of a person who works in childhood healthcare, and it is one that is needed in every place. In developing countries, it is the lack of good health care that harms children so often. And when we see the stats, we see that children die at a much higher rate in developing countries than adults, because their bodies are at much more of a risk. Childhood healthcare is no joke, and you will truly be changing lives if you’re involved in this industry. What pediatricians do is so needed!
You Care for Overall Health
Being in childhood healthcare for the pediatrician is about so much more than just caring for children’s physical bodies. It also has to do with their overall health. And, if you ask the right questions and do the proper testing, you will be able to detect the issues that could be developing in them and refer them to the proper child professional before they become severe. This is a huge job and responsibility because you are the point person since you are the frequent check-up doctor! You, as a pediatrician, are responsible for the development of the child in all areas. Physically, emotionally, mentally, educationally, and so on. This is no small task! It leaves a huge impact, one young life at a time.
You Detect Abuse
This one pulls right at the heartstrings. Pediatricians are usually one of the first people who detect abuse in young and old children. They can take it a step further in detection because they are able to examine the physical body, unlike a teacher who can only hear the stories and see obvious bruising and cuts. There are so many instances where those in childhood healthcare report abuse in a child’s home. You can see the pain done to their bodies, but also get to know them and see what’s in their minds.
This way you can get them out of a bad situation and to the professional who can help with the internal scars and trauma. No matter what profession you are in, if you work with kids, it is your responsibility to look out for any signs of abuse. As the pediatrician, it is your job to get to know them personally as well as their parents and to detect the signs. This is such a great and powerful responsibility that you can be proud of! In your training, you will learn the ins and outs of what to look for. This is the stuff of importance!
Final Thoughts on a Pediatrician Salary
At the end of the day, being a pediatrician is about is so much more than the salary. This is a chance to make an impact on the world and on children of all ages. You can do so much good in the world when you take on this profession. It is all about getting to know children and all that goes into caring for them. You are so much more than the one who looks after their bodies- you are given the opportunity to look after their overall well-being. This field is not for the weak of heart and you will see hard things. These are our most vulnerable citizens, after all, and many of them are very sick. But you can go home each day knowing you did all you could to change young lives for the better, and that is a feeling worth more than even your pediatrician salary!
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