Pediatrician Career Guide

Do you love working with children? Are you looking for a career that saves lives, and is highly respected and well-regarded?

If the answer is yes to the above questions, then take a deeper look at our pediatrician career guide!

Pediatricians are physicians who provide medial care to babies, children and teenagers. To become one, you must complete an undergraduate degree that has a focus on biology, chemistry, physics, math and English. Afterwards, you will  general attend medical school and then complete a residency program that focuses on pediatrics.

The most rewarding part of pediatrics comes not only from the healing but also from the moments when we see a child empowered to take care of his or her own health. Every time a child tells me about their dreams to work in medicine or public health, I get reminded of why I love pediatrics.

Pediatrician Career Ratings



Personal Growth




What a Pediatricians does

Pediatricians are physicians that provide medical care to babies, children and teenagers. Pediatricians may have a general hospital role, where they treat all children, regardless or age or illness. Or, they may have specialized even further to treat a certain age group (e.g., neonatal) or certain illnesses (e.g., paediatric cardiologists look specifically at the hearts you children!). Regardless of whether a pediatrician decides to specialize, their typical duties and responsibilities include:

  • Examining babies, children and teenagers to evaluate their growth and development
  • Evaluating young patients to diagnose injuries, illnesses, and developmental problems
  • Ordering, performing and interpreting diagnostic tests and explaining the results to the patient and their family
  • Prescribing or administering treatments, such as medications, vaccinations, and other therapies
  • Gathering and documenting a patients’ medical history
  • Advising patients and their families on proper diet, exercise, and disease prevention and treatment
  • Tracking a patients’ conditions over time and adjusting treatments as needed
  • Managing nursing staff and delegating tasks appropriately

Why they are needed

The early years of our lives are the most critical. This is when we do the most learning, growing and developing. Health during childhood makes for a sustainable life in the later years. However, during this period, exposure to germs, viruses, and bacteria may lead to sickness and this may impact a child’s health and impact development. No other professional can understand a child’s health like a pediatrician can and, therefore, they are needed to insure the healthy and safe development of children.

The pros and cons of a career as a physician


  • Pediatricians get to help children and encourage them to develop good healthcare habits.
  • Pediatricians have high job security and an excellent career outlook
  • Most parents prefer one pediatrician for their children throughout their childhood and therefore, pediatricians are able to create relationships not only with the children but with their families as well
  • There is a lot of variety and professional development opportunities
  • Pediatricians are offered an excellent salary
  • Pediatricians are highly respected and well-regarded members of society


  • The educational commitment is lengthy and costly
  • It can be very stressful and high-pressured job, especially when there is an emergency
  • Pediatricians may have to work long hours, which includes weekends and evenings
  • Pediatricians will have to witness children who are very unwell, which can be very emotionally taxing
  • Physicians often face lawsuits


Job Market

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the overall employment of pediatricians is projected to grow 4 percent from 2019 to 2029, which is about as fast as the average for all occupations. This employment growth is expected because the growing population will create a demand for pediatricians to help diagnose and treat a huge range of illnesses in children.

However, new technologies may slightly hinder the growth of all physicians, including pediatricians. These new technologies are expected to allow physicians to treat more patients in the same amount of time and therefore less physicians will be needed. Similarly, as nurses and physician assistants become more and more qualified, they will be expected to do many of the routine tasks of pediatricians, which will further slow the demand of them.

Career paths

The career path to becoming a pediatrician is lengthy, with most spending eight years or more in school! Typically, it looks like this:

  1. Achieve an undergraduate degree that has work in biology, chemistry, physics, math and English. Whilst doing this, it is advisable to volunteer in a local hospital to gather some relevant work experience!
  2. Apply to medical school. To apply, aspiring pediatricians must submit their transcript, a letter of recommendation and must pass the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)
  3. Complete medical school. During this time, aspiring pediatricians will spend the first 2 years in laboratories and classrooms where they will learn about anatomy, biochemistry, pharmacology, psychology, medical ethics and the laws the govern medicine. In the last two years, the fun really begins as you will work with patients under the supervision of experienced physicians
  4. Complete a residency program that focuses on pediatric care. This can last anywhere from 3 to 7 years.

Example Job Titles for Pediatrician

Below is a list of common job titles in the Pediatrician field. Click the links below for more information about these job titles, or view the next section for actual real-life job profiles.

Benefits & Conditions

Income and benefits

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for pediatricians in the United States was $183,240 in 2019. The lowest 10% earned less than $68,860 per year, whereas the highest 10% earned more than $208,000 per year.

The top paying industry was speciality hospitals (except Psychiatric and Substance Abuse), where the median annual salary was $205,370. This was followed by the local government ($203,130), outpatient care centers ($198,680), offices of physicians ($188,980) and finally general medical and surgical hospitals ($167,640).

Autonomy and flexibility

Like any medical career, pediatricians will not have a great deal of flexibility or autonomy at the beginning of their career, as they are supervised by more experienced physicians in order to gain experience.

However, once fully qualified, most pediatricians work is self-directed and they will have a huge amount of autonomy and responsibility. Pediatricians have control over hundreds of decisions each day, whether it’s about diagnosis, medications or treatment.

However, flexibility is perhaps lower, as pediatrician often have little control over the hours they work. Even pediatricians who own their own practice will find the hours choosing them.

Locations and commute

According to Zippia, the best states to be a pediatrician, based on average annual salary and number of job opportunities available, are:

  1. Nevada, where the average annual salary is $203,864
  2. New Mexico where the average annual salary is $190,119
  3. South Dakota, where the average annual salary is $184,984
  4. Arkansas, where the average annual salary is $181,996
  5. Oregon where the average annual salary is $188,910

The worst states, according to Zippia, are Kansas, Louisiana, District of Columbia, South Carolina and Hawaii.

Work environment

Most pediatricians will work in physicians’ offices, but they may also work in hospitals, in academia or for the government. Pediatricians tend to work in group practices, where they share a large number of patience with other doctors – this is becoming increasingly popular, as it allows general physicians to share the caseload and coordinate better care for their patient. Like all physicians, pediatricians tend to work in clean and sanitary environments.

Career Satisfaction

Common Matching Personality Types

Which personalities tend to succeed and thrive in Pediatrician careers? Based on our research, there is a relatively strong positive correlation between the following personality types and Pediatrician career satisfaction. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t many exceptions, of course, but if you fit into one of the following personality types then we suggest you give strong consideration to a career in Pediatrician.

16 Types (Myers-Briggs)

Big Five (OCEAN)

  • None


  • None


  • None

Holland Codes (RIASEC)

Personality types

There is little empirical exploration as to the personality types of successful pediatricians. However, one study found that the ISTJ was most common personality type of physicians. ISTJs are responsible, which is absolutely essential for pediatricians. They typically have a strong focus on detail and doing things correctly, meaning they can spot, diagnose and treat medical conditions with the utmost accuracy. Finally, ISTJs like to follow regulations and stick to schedules, this makes them reliable, predictable and dutiful.

Accomplishment and mastery

Like all other physicians, pediatricians train for a long in order to become qualified and licensed. Therefore, when they do qualify, the sense of accomplishment is often VERY high. What is more, is that throughout their career, pediatricians will continue to feel accomplished when they help children and adults to feel better and have an improved quality of life.

Meaning and contribution

It goes without saying that the work of a pediatrician has high meaning and contribution. Their work saves the lives of many children and makes a huge contribution to society. To further increase the sense of meaning and contribution, pediatricians may decide to conduct voluntary work in deprived parts of the world and help those who are truly in need! In these areas, they could work to treat malaria, conduct mass imunization programs and help treat other diseases.

Life fit

Most pediatricians will work full time, but there are opportunities to work  part time. The hours a pediatricians works can vary. Some pediatricians may work long and irregular hours. Others may be on call and may have to work overnight hours. However, overall, it can be a difficult career to fit into the busy family lives that many of us are faced with!

Who will thrive?

First and foremost, in order to thrive as a pediatrician you will need to like, and understand children. As well as this, thriving pediatricians will also have qualities such as:

  • The willingness to commit to the educational process
  • The ability to empathize with children
  • Excellent listening and observation skills
  • Social perceptiveness and the ability to be non-judgemental
  • A genuine passion for helping others
  • You must also have a good memory 
  • Due to the likelihood that medical emergencies will occur, individuals who remain calm, composed and work well under pressure are likely to thrive in a medical environment

Who will struggle?

You are likely to struggle as a pediatrician if you aren’t physically fit enough to meet the requirements of patients or spending periods of time bent down/bent over. If you prefer to work alone, rather than as part of a team, you may struggle with the teamwork and communication aspect of pediatric work. Finally, those who cannot remain calm in unforeseen circumstances will struggle with the emergency situations that may arise in the medical setting.


Quick Glance

Skills and talents

  • Communication skills, as pediatricians will need to communicate effectively with patients, who are often young children, their families and with other healthcare staff
  • Organizational skills, as pediatricians must be able to keep records up to date and neat and manage their time so that they stick to their schedule
  • Empathy, as pediatricians must be able to relate to and understand their patients worries and concerns
  • Detail-orientation, as pediatricians must be able to accurately monitor and record various piece of information
  • Leadership skills, as pediatricians may decide to open their own practice and/or might be responsible for supervising junior doctors
  • The ability to work well under pressure, as pediatricians will be faced with medical emergencies and must be able to work efficiently to treat the patient, and support their family, in this time
  • Problem-solving skills, as pediatricians must evaluate a patients’ symptoms, establish what is wrong and then choose the appropriate treatment plan for them


Firstly, pediatricians will need an undergraduate degree that has a focus on  biology, chemistry, physics, math and English. After this, pediatricians will need to attend medical school. To get accepted into medical school, aspiring pediatricians must submit a transcript, a letter of recommendation and pass the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). After medical school, pediatricians will need to complete a residency program.


In every state, physicians and surgeons must be licensed. Licensing requirements may vary by state but generally speaking, to qualify for a license, candidates must graduate from an accredited medical school and complete residency training in their specialty.

All physicians and surgeons also must pass a standardized national licensure exam. M.D.s take the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE). D.O.s take the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination (COMLEX-USA).

How to Become

Pediatricians are physicians that provide medical care to babies, children and teenagers. Pediatricians may have a general hospital role, where they treat all children, regardless or age or illness. Or, they may have specialized even further to treat a certain age group (e.g., neonatal) or certain illnesses

Those who tend to have successful and fulfilling careers as pediatricians tend to have a genuine interest in helping children, work well under pressure, work well as part of a team, have excellent communication skills and are organized and detail-oriented.

Immediate action

The main thing that aspiring pediatrician can do is to obtain relevant work experience. Whilst studying  for your undergraduate degree, you should volunteer in a local hospital. Similarly, in order to have the best chances of getting into medical school it is advisable to have as many extra curricular activities as possible. So, you should aim to do as much as possible outside of school (e.g., sports, teaching, quizzes, drama etc).

Education and learning

Pediatricians will need to complete an undergraduate degree that has a focus on  biology, chemistry, physics, math and English. After, they will need to attend medical school. To get accepted into medical school, pediatricians must submit a transcript, a letter of recommendation and pass the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). After medical school, almost all graduates will enter a residency program that focuses on general care.


Ask a Question

Have a question about Pediatrician careers? If so, our mentors would love to help! Just click on a mentor’s profile below and then fill out the “Ask a Question” form on that page. Your question will then be emailed to the mentor, who can then email you a reply.

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