A pediatrician is a health professional who specializes in the field of pediatrics. In this article, we will expose you to the number of years of college it will take you to become a Pediatrician.
Pediatricians must complete at least nine years of education. This consists of four years of undergraduate study, four years of medical school (or six years at a combined university), and three years of pediatric residency.
Some pediatricians complete an additional two to six years of training in a subspecialty.
During their training, all pediatricians must complete at least 12,000 to 14,000 hours of patient care.
How Many Years of College Do You Need to Be a Pediatrician?
It typically takes between 11 and 15 years to become a pediatrician.
It takes an average of four years to complete a bachelor’s degree, another four years to complete medical school.
There is another three to seven years to complete a residency program and possibly fellowship.
How to Become a Pediatrician
Pursue a Bachelor’s Degree
The first step you need to take to become a pediatrician is to earn a bachelor’s degree.
Some colleges and universities have pre-med tracks that help prepare you for the types of coursework you will have in medical school.
You may want to consider a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology, Chemistry, Specialized Health Sciences or Social Sciences.
To be prepared for medical school, regardless of your degree, you should complete coursework in organic and inorganic chemistry, physics and biology.
You will also, during this time, begin preparing to take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), which is required for admission into medical school.
Complete Medical School
The next step to pursue a career as a pediatrician is to complete four years of medical school.
You could either pursue a degree as a medical doctor (M.D.) or doctor of osteopathic medicine (D.O.).
Both of these degrees provide the training you need to succeed in a career as a pediatrician, although osteopathic programs tend to place more emphasis on preventative medicine and the musculoskeletal system.
During medical school, you will take courses on anatomy, biochemistry, microbiology, pharmacology, pathology and physiology.
During the final two years of your program, you will conduct clinical rotations, gaining hands-on experience diagnosing and treating patients alongside experienced physicians.
Your rotations will focus on specialties in the medical field, such as psychiatry, family practice, obstetrics and gynecology and pediatrics.
Obtain a Medical License
After completing medical school, you will next need to obtain a license to practice medicine.
To obtain a license, you need to pass a licensing exam and complete any other requirements specific to your state, such as completing a background check.
Complete a Residency Program and Internship
After finishing school and obtaining your medical license, you must next complete your residency training in pediatrics.
A pediatric residency program gives aspiring pediatricians the clinical experience that they need to feel confident and succeed in their careers.
During a pediatrics residency, residents improve their communication and presentation skills and further hone their clinical skills.
This training also prepares aspiring pediatricians for work in a variety of different healthcare settings.
Consider a Fellowship
A fellowship isn’t required to become a pediatrician. However, many residents choose to do so to specialize in the field of pediatrics.
Some of the possible specialties include immunology, cardiology, nephrology, oncology, neonatology, rheumatology and pulmonology.
A fellowship program generally lasts between two and three years, depending on the specialty that the pediatrician decides to pursue.
Consider a Board Certification
While it is not required, you may want to think about obtaining board certification from the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) or the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) (AOA).
Board certifications can demonstrate to patients and potential employers that you have the skills and knowledge to carry out the duties of your role and that you are dedicated to excelling in your field.
To keep their credentials, board-certified pediatricians must participate in continuing education.