Being a pediatrician or a pediatric nurse are the traditional opportunities. Physician assistants, or PAs, and nurse practitioners, or NPs, are options as well. For someone in the last year of high school, it can take anywhere between 2-4 more years of studying and training to be a nurse. PA or NP takes 4-5 years, and to be a pediatrician takes a minimum of 11 years (4 years of college, 4 years of med sch and 3 years of residency).
Which is the "best"? It depends on how long you want to stay in school and how you want to help children. If you want to be an expert in diagnosing and treating children, then you need to take the time to be a pediatrician. If you just to work and help kids, being a nurse allows you to do that in the shortest amount of time. You can consider being a PA or NP as a hybrid between the two. If working with children is important to you, you can find any one of the three opportunities rewarding.
As for me personally, I'm not a pediatrician. However, being an expert and a leader of the care team is important to me. So, I went through 15 years of studying and training after high school to become a cardiologist. It was worth it to me because that's what I wanted to do.
This professional recommends the following next steps:
- As far as the next step is concerned, you should go to college and get the best grades possible. While in college, you'll learn more not just about the medical profession but also about yourself that will guide you in making the right decision.