Pediatrician Education Requirements
Pediatricians are medical doctors who typically treat minors, including newborns, children, adolescents, and in some case, patients all the way up to the age of twenty-one, particularly when those patients have been in their continual care since childhood.
If you are interested in providing the healthcare services that children and infants need, then becoming a pediatrician is the educational path for you. It is a path which will require numerous years of schooling to meet all of the Pediatrician education requirements, as well as specialized practical training in the field.
Pediatrician education requirements include classroom study, internships, residency, and finally board certification. You must pass your boards following completion of formal pediatrician schooling before you will be licensed to practice medicine. There is additionally the option of completing a voluntary certification process which will result in a credential which documents your proficiency within the pediatric specialty.
Pediatrician education requirements focus on the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of illness. A big portion of the education of future pediatricians will also focus on the growth and development of children. Students learn the healthy processes for infants, children, adolescents and young adults, as well as the illnesses, diseases, conditions and ailments that can affect patients from infancy through early adulthood. If you want to become a pediatrician, you will need to complete an undergraduate education which focuses on general medicine or pre-med courses.
While the typical degree achieved by a pre-med undergrad student is not actually called “pre-med,” the purpose of the course or focus of Bachelor’s Degree studies is to prepare the student for entering medical school. In other words, you may graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree in almost any subject and still go on to medical school, that is, provided you have completed the appropriate prerequisites for entering a grad school program in medicine.
Pre-med studies often take five years to complete and can be quite intense. Those students who know from the start that they intend to go on to medical school typically major in a related field, like biology or chemistry. If you don’t realize straight off that you want to become a doctor, pre-med can be chosen later on down the line, though it may take a little longer to finish your undergrad program as a result. Those who would like to enter the pediatric medical field with a less intensive education path could consider becoming a Pediatric Nurse instead.
Pre-med undergraduate courses included in the pediatrician education requirements list typically incorporate the following.
- One or two years of biology courses, including biology labs
- At least one year of physics, including a lab
- A minimum of two years of chemistry, with at least one year of organic chemistry, as well as labs for both
- At least two English courses
- Several upper level mathematics courses, including calculus
- May be school-specific Pediatrician education requirements
Each medical school has its own entrance requirements, as does any other graduate school program. In order to know for certain what the requirements are for your preferred medical school, you will need to review the literature of the school and/or contact the admissions office.
In addition to the previously mentioned pediatrician education requirements, many pre-med students will also take courses in anatomy, physiology, genetics, microbiology, cellular physiology and biochemistry. There are many other courses which can be of use to pre-med students and a pre-med advisor will be able to walk you through registration for the best courses for preparing yourself for medical school, whether for becoming a pediatrician or other medical specialist.
The pediatrician education requirements become more intense in graduate school, of course, when you get fully into your general medical studies. While you may know very early on that you want to be a pediatrician, medical school prepares students to perform in all aspects of the medical field. It is not until you are in your residency that you will choose a specialty; however, if you already know that you wish to be a pediatrician, it is possible to take additional courses during your medical studies which will be beneficial in your residency and clinical practice.
The medical school program will take, on average, four years to complete. During that program, you will be required to complete courses in pharmacology, pathology anatomy, biochemistry, medical ethics, and psychology, among others. The goal is that medical students will receive a well rounded education in the medical field during the course of their formal studies in graduate school.
Pediatrician Requirements For Admission
The pediatrician education requirements for gaining admission to a medical school program are multi-tiered. As with any other graduate school program, you will need to review the requirements of the specific graduate program you wish to attend to know for certain what the minimum requirements entail; however, generally speaking, most medical schools have high GPA thresholds. You will need to submit your transcripts, multiple letters of recommendation, and will need to perform well on the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT).
After finishing medical school, the pediatrician education requirements move into the realm of practical application. You will need to complete a residency program, which can last from seven to ten years or longer, in a clinical setting, typically at a large hospital in which you can rotate between different specialties.
In a residency program, you’ll be given the chance to complete hands on learning in all fields, though if you show an interest and skill in pediatrics, you may be able to work in that area more often even before declaring your own specialty. Typically, residents are expected to declare a specialty in their second or third year of residency, though some do go on to change their specialty later in their practical training.
A medical license is required in order to practice and most students sit for the Medical Licensing Examination in the United States (USMLE) during the latter half of their first year of residency. After passing the licensing exam, you will apply to the state medical board for your official license. This is one of your final Pediatrician education requirements.
Pediatrician education requirements additionally include the pediatric certification process. While the certification is an optional one, it is a sign of proficiency in your medical field and one that is valued by employers. The certification is awarded by The American Board of Pediatrics (ABP) and can be earned in general pediatrics or in a pediatrics specialty.
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