Prerequisites for a Pediatrician Career
Most professional careers will have some specific prerequisites prior to either qualifying for or getting a job. However, there is nothing more stringent than the prerequisites for a pediatrician career. There are a number of steps a doctor must go through prior to being licensed in any state whatsoever, and those requirements deal with personal qualifications, education, passing a series of exams and then, of course, clinical work known as residency.
While all other prerequisites can be 'learned,' you are either cut out to work with children, or you're not. There are no two ways about it. Do you like working with children? A pediatrician will need to be extremely patient and will need to be empathetic with the concerns of parents. He or she will need to be of good moral character and be able to pass a number of background checks including criminal history. Anyone ever having been convicted of crimes against a minor or having to do with dealing or distributing illegal substances will not meet the most fundamental prerequisites for a pediatrician career.
For many aspiring doctors, one of the hardest prerequisites for a pediatrician career to face is the years of study they will need to undergo. Starting with college there is a minimum of another 11 years of education counting 4 years pre-med (college) 4 years of medical school and then a minimum of 3 years practical experience. For many years this was one year of internship and 2 years of residency, but now it is grouped together into 3 years of residency.
Those three years of residency are actually paid a small amount often known as a 'stipend.' Under the tutelage of experienced pediatricians, the resident will gain practical experience in the field. They will work long hours, often 80 to 100 hours per week in a hospital, medical center or clinic. They will make rotations through various specialties within the field of pediatrics as well as a length of time in general pediatrics.
The examinations that are among the prerequisites for a pediatrician career are the United States Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE) and the American Board of Medical Specialists (ABMS) exam. The USMLE is actually administered in three parts or stages:
- After the 2nd year of med school first stage of USMLE
- After med school second stage of USMLE
- After residency ABMS
Actually, the second stage of the USMLE is in two steps. The first is step is a nine hour series of multiple choice questions covering every aspect of pediatrics as well as specializations and the second step is a simulated patient-doctor interaction.
The final prerequisites for a pediatrician career is that the doctor must be duly licensed and obtain certification from the American Board of Pediatrics (ABS). It is a long and winding road, but will result in an amazingly rewarding career. There is great outlook for the future and the salaries that pediatricians make are more than comfortable. If you love children, are ready to work hard for a degree, and are looking for a career with a future, pediatrics is a great field.