Pediatricians get to spend their time treating children -- a gratifying career that allows you to be of service as well as work with cute kids and babies. If you do your job well enough, you might also have chances to advance in your career. For pediatricians, advancement can take many forms, based on your own personal ambitions.
Success is Personal
Start with your personal definition of what success means. You might want to make more money, or you might feel the need for a creative challenge. Maybe you love to teach, and would like to move into that role full-time. Before you can move ahead, you need a specific goal and some plans. In some cases, you might need additional education. In others, you might need to build up a network of fellow professionals who can tip you off to cool jobs. Consider relocating if you can't find what you want in your current locale. Some kinds of pediatrician jobs are only available at major medical centers, for example.
Advancing Through Employment
Pediatricians have three main choices in terms of employment. The first is private practice. While it means you have the most freedom and independence, it also means you have a lot of responsibility. You're a small business owner as well as doctor. You must manage payroll and other administrative and small business tasks, and your income is dependent on how hard you work. Another option is to join a larger practice to spread the management responsibilities, or even delegate them to an office manager. The final choice is to work for a hospital or health care organization. You have less freedom as an employee, but you might make more money and have few or no management responsibilities.
Advancing Through Specialization
Your idea of career advancement might involve the challenge of specialization. A pediatrician who wants to specialize must go on for further training in a program called a fellowship. Although pediatricians who know they want to work in a specialty usually complete a fellowship immediately after their residency, there's nothing to stop you from going back for a fellowship after you've practiced for a few years. Possible pediatric specialties include allergies and immunology, neurology, anesthesiology, dermatology, endocrinology and several surgical specialties. Pediatric specialists are in great demand, according to a November 2012 article on the MyFoxDC.com website.
Moving Up the Ladder
If you want to move into a leadership role, you can find one within a medical group, at a hospital or in a related organization as a medical director. Many medical directors still provide clinical care, but they have administrative duties as well. You might be responsible for supervising other physicians or ensuring quality improvement, according to a September 2012 article in "Managed Care." Or, you might be in charge of fiscal management, accreditation or policy development. It's a lot of responsibility and a stressful role, but it is a way to advance and take on new challenges. Medical director options might be more limited than some of the other possibilities, as there's only one in a given group.
Beth Greenwood is an RN and has been a writer since 2010. She specializes in medical and health topics, as well as career articles about health care professions. Greenwood holds an Associate of Science in nursing from Shasta College.