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.
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