Pediatrician 101: What You Need To Know Before You Apply To Medical School

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29 January 2024

Job & Career

how to become a pediatrician

Are you curious about the requirements, duration, and other aspects of how to become a pediatrician? To assist you in beginning your pediatric care journey, we will respond to these inquiries.

If you have a strong interest in both medicine and working with children, becoming a pediatrician might be the ideal career choice. The unique duty of providing care for children from birth to adolescence falls on pediatricians. This makes their line of work interesting and fulfilling. Let’s find out more about the obligations pediatricians have before they become one.

How To Become A Pediatrician?

How To Become A Pediatrician?

The pediatrician education requirements are a rigorous program. If you are planning to become one or are just curious about it, here is everything you need to know about how to become a pediatrician:

Get A Bachelor’s Degree

Get A Bachelor's Degree

The first step toward becoming a pediatrician (M.D.) is completing an undergraduate pre-med program and earning a bachelor’s degree.

Although the entrance requirements for medical schools vary, they all concentrate on a few common fields of study, such as:

  • Biology
  • Anatomy
  • Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Calculus
  • Physics

Before submitting an application to medical school, one must complete three years of undergraduate coursework and maintain a high GPA of 3.6 or above.

Because these programs are competitive, the most successful candidates have a diverse background that includes work, volunteer, extracurricular, and physician shadowing experience.

Medical school acceptance is possible even if you have only completed three years of college and do not hold a bachelor’s degree. Post-baccalaureate programs are available to assist students in catching up by offering the courses required for medical school applications.

You must send copies of your transcripts from any undergraduate and/or graduate school you have attended to apply. Letters of recommendation and Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) results are also required. You can retake the MCAT if you’re not happy with your results.

Sending a single application to several medical schools can be facilitated by the American Medical College Application Service. Whatever their undergraduate major, all college students hoping to go to medical school should take these specific courses.

Get A Medical Degree (4 Years)

Get A Medical Degree (4 Years)

The Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) has a list of accredited medical education programs. You can contact the Association of American Medical Colleges for additional details and guidance on how to apply to medical schools.

During the four years of medical school, students study fundamental science subjects and take part in clinical “rotations.”

These are practical clinical experiences conducted in actual healthcare facilities. Most medical schools require students to complete classroom course work for the first two years before assigning them to rotations.

On the other hand, many medical schools now expose their students to early clinical experiences that last the entire four-year program.

The majority of medical schools use a system-based curriculum, which concentrates on one physiological system at a time, like the neurological or respiratory systems.

Others might employ a case-based curriculum, in which students follow specific patient cases from beginning to end in order to learn about the normal functioning of the human body and the processes involved in disease. Some medical schools instruct their students by combining these methods in different ways.  

The following subjects makeup the most typical curricula at medical schools:

  • Anatomy
  • Physiology
  • Biochemistry
  • Psychology
  • Pharmacology
  • Ethics

Students must gain practical experience in hospitals and clinics during their final two years of education. Under the guidance of licensed physicians, they will learn how to diagnose and treat patients.

Internal medicine, obstetrics, psychiatry, and pediatrics are among the specialties that fall under clinical rotations. An individual who successfully completes four years of medical school gets a medical degree or M.D.

Offering combination degree programs, such as MD/MPH, MD/Ph.D., or MD/JD, is another popular trend in education. Further details about this option can be found on the Medical School Admission Requirements page of the AAMC website.

Licensure And Certification

Licensure And Certification

Physicians must pass a national standardized exam in order to practice in any state. State-by-state variations exist in licensing requirements. For more information, get in touch with your state’s medical board.

To become a pediatrician (M.D.), one must pass the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE). The Federation of State Medical Boards of the United States (FSMB) and the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) are the sponsors of the USMLE.

On the USMLE website, prospective doctors can find practice questions, tutorials, and additional study resources. There is a six-try limit for this exam, and you cannot retake it to get a better score.

Bypassing an additional sub-specialty certification exam, pediatricians can also obtain certification in a sub-specialty.

Residency Program (3-4 Years)

Residency Program (3-4 Years)

You’re not done when you graduate from medical school. It’s time to finish your residency and select your specialty. Alongside these residency programs, there are intensive clinical training experiences available.

Future pediatricians can choose to pursue specialized training in pediatric medicine. During clinical rotations, residents interact directly with patients and have the opportunity to evaluate their own work and case studies.

Three years is the average duration of a pediatric residency, according to the American Association of Medical Colleges. Residents gain knowledge of newborn care and general pediatrics during that time.

Over 9,400 graduate medical education programs are available in an interactive database through the American Medical Association’s online FREIDA service.

The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education grants accreditation to each of these programs. Information on more than 200 combined specialty programs is also available.

Staying Licenced And Certified

Staying Licenced And Certified

Pediatricians must pursue ongoing education in order to maintain their certification. To assist physicians in staying current with pediatric advancements, the American Board of Pediatrics and the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) have created a four-part program.

Every ten years, they take an exam to gauge their level of professionalism, medical knowledge, practice methods, and communication abilities. Moreover, it is mandatory for pediatricians to obtain credits for continuing education.

How Long Does It Take To Become A Pediatrician?

How Long Does It Take To Become A Pediatrician?

Depending on your timeline, it takes between 11 and 15 years to become a pediatrician:

  • Four years to earn a bachelor’s degree
  • Four years of medical school attendance
  • Completing a three- to four-year pediatric residency
  • Pursuing a two- to four-year optional fellowship

If you take years off before attending college or medical school, it might take longer. Attending a three-year MD program or using AP credits to satisfy prerequisites for introductory courses may allow you to reduce the length of time you need to complete your education. The answer to how long does it take to be a pediatrician depends entirely on you.

Wrapping Up

You can now look forward to the fulfilling duty of helping children and their families on a daily basis, having learned how to become a pediatrician. The benefits of receiving pediatric care often last a lifetime and continue long after a person reaches adulthood.

Even though becoming a pediatrician is not an easy path, you can realize your dream with perseverance, commitment, and a clear understanding of what you have to do.

If you have thoughts to share or questions to ask, please leave a comment below. We would love to hear from you!

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Sarmind is a Writer and an aspiring Editor who has experience in various short and long-form niches. Her academic pursuits intensely mold her industry background in content creation. She holds a Master's degree in Literature, and when not writing for professional purposes, she can be found re-reading old classics of Jane Austen and the Brontë sisters. She is super fond of cats and enjoys hours of doom-scrolling through memes on social media while cuddled up with a cup of desi chai. She likes to think she is an intellectual badass (colloquial: nerdy bore), and now all she needs is a sewing kit to complete the look!

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