How to Become a


The complete career guide to be a Pediatrician: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $183,180
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • 10.3%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Growing Demand
    Job Outlook
  • High Income Potential
    Career Attribute

Pediatricians are physicians who specialize in providing medical care for children from birth to age 18. They monitor the development of their patients, treat injuries and illnesses, and provide health education to both patients and their parents to ensure healthy growth and development.

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What is a Pediatrician?

The following job responsibilities are common for individuals in pediatrician roles:

  • Monitor the growth and development of patients and notify parents of concerns
  • Educate parents and patients on the differing needs of children as they grow and age
  • Schedule and administer immunizations, and perform regular physical examinations
  • Treat patient illnesses and injuries
  • Education teenage patients on safe-sex practices to ensure long-term health

A Day in the Life

Pediatricians are physicians who specialize in providing medical care for newborns, toddlers, children, and teenagers. They treat diseases, injuries, systemic disorders, and infections which affect children from birth to age 18. When patients arrive at the pediatrician’s office, the pediatrician reviews the patient’s case history, conduct interviews of both the patient and parents, performs physicals and diagnostic tests, and analyzes all findings to issue either a bill of good health or a prognosis and treatment recommendation.

A major responsibility of pediatricians is observing the growth and development of patients. The pediatrician monitors both physical and mental development to ensure that patients are developing naturally. When a pediatrician notices that a patient is not developing as expected, he/she must perform tests to eliminate suspicions of developmental disorders. The pediatrician may diagnose issues like ADHD or autism, and may refer the parent to other healthcare professionals for treatment.

As children get older and move into their pre-teen and teenage years, pediatricians commonly see the patients without parents present. This allows the pediatrician to discuss any concerns with the patient privately. The pediatrician is tasked with educating older patients about sexually-transmitted diseases and safe-sex practices. While parents can be bothered by not being able to enter the exam room with their teenage children, it is important for the pediatrician to get honest information about the child’s behaviors to ensure lifelong health.

Typical Work Schedule

Pediatricians can have variable working schedule, although most of them have to work full-time following the regular working schedule of 40-50 hours. They are most commonly working between 9 am – 5 pm and unlike other doctors, they rarely need to work in the evenings or the weekends. You may still have to answer some phones calls outside your working schedule from concerned families. Most pediatricians get 4-week vacation yearly which makes this job a good choice to maintain life/work balance among the medical careers. You may also consider spending few hours each week helping the community by education, professional group activities as well as providing medical care to the needy who cannot afford it.

Projected job growth

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of different physicians in general is expected to increase by 4% from 2019 to 2029, yet for pediatricians the demand for the job is expected to decline by 2%. This rate will often vary by location and the community. Recent technologies have helped in better education of the families reducing the number of the visits to the physicians. Additionally, nurses and assistants have recently been allowed to perform many of the physician’s routine tasks. Other factors that affects the employment of pediatricians include the changes in healthcare reimbursement policies which could cause customers to seek fewer visits to pediatricians.

Employers will require you to receive a board certification through the American Board of Pediatrics (ABP). You can improve your opportunities to advance in this career if you choose to further specialize in pediatric surgery or specific medical conditions which can help distinguish you among the competition.

Typical Employers

Pediatricians can work in different healthcare settings including working for hospitals of different status and sizes whether state, local or private. In addition, you can work for private practice offices as well as different outpatient care centers. Pediatricians can also work for different health maintenance organizations as well as various community health centers and public health clinics. Some pediatricians may prefer to work for schools while few may be employed by the military and government to help with various tasks related to community serving tasks.

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How To Become a Pediatrician

The path to becoming a pediatrician may require ten or more years of study in college. The first step in becoming a pediatrician is to earn a bachelor’s degree. The major you study as an undergraduate is somewhat flexible, but science or medical majors are common. Students may study biology, physiology, psychology, chemistry, or nursing. Any of these degrees should be sufficient for qualifying students to enroll in a medical school.

Students will need to take and pass the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) to enroll in a graduate medical school. In med school, you’ll spend two years studying to become a doctor in a classroom environment, and two years training under experienced physicians. After graduating from medical school, you’ll be able to take the tests required to become a licensed physician, but you’ll need additional study to become a qualified pediatrician.

After graduating from medical school, you’ll need to complete a 3-year residency program in pediatrics. During this residency, you’ll focus your studies on learning how to provide quality health services to pediatric patients. You’ll likely work under and alongside experienced pediatricians to learn exactly how to care for young patients. At the conclusion or your residency, you’ll need to take an exam that’s administered by the American Board of Pediatrics. If you pass this exam, you’ll become licensed to practice as a pediatrician.

Pediatrician Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

Low Range




High Range


National Hourly Wage

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High Range


How do Pediatrician salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Pediatrician's can make an average annual salary of $183,180, or $88 per hour. On the lower end, they can make $133,250 or $64 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #11 Nationally for All Careers

  • Above Average Salary Nationally

Programs and Degrees

Here are the most common degrees for becoming a Pediatrician. a is usually recommended and specifically a degree or coursework that prepares you for the particular field, see below.

Highest Education Among Pediatricians

  • 93.7%   Doctorate
  • 3.3%   Masters
  • 2.3%   Bachelors
  • 0.3%   Associates
  • 0.1%   College
  • 0.2%   High School
  • 0.2%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs


2024 Est. Jobs


Job Growth Rate


Est. New Jobs


How does Pediatrician job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of 3,600 jobs for a total of 38,400 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a 10.3% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Above Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #179 Nationally for All Careers

  • Above Avg. Growth Nationally

What Companies Employ The Most Pediatricians

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Offices of physicians 23,700 2,500 2%
General medical and surgical hospitals; private 4,300 -200 0%
Self-employed workers 3,400 600 1%

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