Becoming a pediatrician is a long process that can take over a decade to complete. Unlike other careers, there is a specific route that aspiring pediatricians need to follow in order to become licensed to work in their field. While there can be some variations, pediatricians have to go through each of these steps in order to get to their goal.
To start, an aspiring pediatrican must obtain a four-year degree with a pre-med set of classes. These are usually eight different classes that cover basic subjects such as Organic Chemistry and Anatomy. These classes must be taken in addition to or as part of a Bachelor’s degree, but the Bachelor’s degree can be in any field. Because each pre-med student will have to apply for medical school, however, it is generally recommended that the Bachelor’s degree is somehow related to their future studies. In the case of pediatricians, a degree in Child Development, Child Psychology, or any type of medical related science such as Chemistry or Biology are good choices. Liberal Arts degrees such as English used to be very common, but as more people have competed for dwindling medical school spots, students have tended not to choose these types of degrees.
Another option that is starting to become more popular is to pic a degree in a field that makes the student immediately employable in the medical field. For example, a four-year degree in Nursing or Medical Administration allows the student to get a job with a hospital or clinic. This can allow the student to work and earn money while attending medical school. For students facing the prospect of years of student loans, this gives them the opportunity to cut down on costs and future loan payments. It also allows students to get a foot in the door with a hospital or clinic where they would want to eventually work as a doctor. These degrees also give medical school candidates something to distinguish themselves from other applicants and gives them the ability to try out the field before making a huge commitment of time and money at medical school.
After graduating, students will need to apply to medical school. This graduate program can take between four to five years for a pediatrician depending on the schedule of classes. The final year or two of school is spent as an intern. After graduating from medical scchool, aspiring pediatricians will spend about three years as a resident at a teaching hospital or large clinic. After this, they will be ready to apply for jobs as a pediatrician.