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Careers in Medicine: Specialty Information


Nature of the work

General pediatricians care for the health of infants, children, teenagers, and young adults. They specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of a variety of ailments specific to young people and track patients growth to adulthood. Like most physicians, pediatricians work with different health care workers, such as nurses and other physicians, to assess and treat children with various ailments. Most of the work of pediatricians involves treating day-to-day illnessesŁminor injuries, infectious diseases, and immunizationsŁthat are common to children, much as a general practitioner treats adults. Some pediatricians specialize in pediatric surgery or serious medical conditions, such as autoimmune disorders or serious chronic ailments.

A pediatrician is concerned with the physical, emotional, and social health of children from birth to young adulthood. Care encompasses a broad spectrum of health services ranging from preventive health care to the diagnosis and treatment of acute and chronic diseases.The pediatrician deals with biological, social, and environmental influences on the developing child, and with the impact of disease and dysfunction on development.1

Pediatricians can receive training in the following subspecialties:

  • Adolescent Medicine
  • Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics
  • Hospice and Palliative Medicine
  • Medical Toxicology
  • Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine
  • Neurodevelopmental Disabilities
  • Pediatric Cardiology
  • Pediatric Critical Care Medicine
  • Pediatric Emergency Medicine
  • Pediatric Endocrinology

Training/residency information

Following graduation from medical school, pediatricians complete 3 years of education in a pediatric residency program. The 3-year residency includes mandated rotations in general pediatrics, normal newborn care, and time in selected subspecialty areas. Up to 3 additional years of training are required to be certified in a subspecialty.

Salary information

The annual salary for pediatricians ranges from $140,000 to $202,547.2

For more information

1 The American Board of Medical Specialties. Guide to Physician Specialties. Evanston, IL: American Board of Medical Specialties; February 2011.
2 2011 Physician Compensation Survey [special feature]. Modern Healthcare. July 14, 2011: 28-32.

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