Your road to becoming a pediatrician was a long one. After graduating from college, you completed four years of rigorous study in medical school, followed by at least three more years in an accredited pediatric residency program before you qualified for board certification as a primary care pediatrician. After that, you could go into private practice, but you have plenty of other options.
You might work as a self-employed pediatrician or as a part of a partnership with other physicians in private practice. General practice pediatricians in physicians' offices perform routine physical exams, administer immunizations, do routine health screenings and special physical exams for school, sports, camps or employment. They treat minor injuries and ailments, diagnosis medical conditions and might refer serious or chronic conditions to specialists. Approximately 28.3 percent of pediatricians worked in in pediatric groups of 3 to 10 physicians, as of 2010, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
If you lean toward the academic side of your calling, you might consider working for a medical school to teach aspiring physicians the nuances of providing medical care to children, from newborn through adulthood at age 21. Medical schools provided employment for approximately 15.4 percent of the respondents to the American Academy of Pediatrics' 2010 Periodic Surveys of Fellows.
Hospitals and Clinics
Hospitals and clinics often employ staff pediatricians to care for their young patients, accounting for approximately 14.9 percent of employment opportunities in the field, states the American Academy of Pediatrics. Hospital-based pediatricians provide essentially the same services as those in private practice, although they might also be called on to handle a higher level of emergency pediatric calls.
Other Employment Considerations
Pediatricians are needed by community health clinics, health maintenance organizations, educational services, outpatient care facilities and employment services. The American Academy of Pediatrics shows approximately 39 percent of pediatrician jobs were located in suburban areas, 29 percent were in urban regions, 22 percent were in inner-city setting and only 10 percent were in rural areas as of 2010. Average wages for pediatricians is determined in part by where you work. For example, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states pediatricians who worked for colleges and universities earned mean annual wages of $105,210 while those who worked in the outpatient care centers made $175,700 per year as of May 2012. The 2011 Medical Group Compensation and Financial Survey placed the median annual income for pediatricians in general practice at $213,379.
- American Academy of Pediatrics: Division of Health Services Research, Periodic Survey of Fellows
- American Medical Group Association: 2011 Medical Group Compensation and Financial Survey
- Oklahoma State University Wexner Medical Center: The Pediatrician
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2012 29-1065 Pediatricians, General
Mike Parker is a full-time writer, publisher and independent businessman. His background includes a career as an investments broker with such NYSE member firms as Edward Jones & Company, AG Edwards & Sons and Dean Witter. He helped launch DiscoverCard as one of the company's first merchant sales reps.