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If I want to become a pediatrician, what should I be prepared for?

My name is Chastity V. and my goal in life is to become a pediatrician. I am doing research about pediatricians and have a lot of unanswered questions. I hope this website will help me--I hope you will be able to help me.

#pediatrician #pediatrics #doctor #medicine #pediatric-nursing

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Christina Gail’s Answer

Hi Chastity! I have worked in healthcare my entire career in different settings - however, my favorite setting in pediatric hospitals which I have spent a little under 10 years working in. I would highly recommend reaching out to different pediatricians in your hometown and ask if you could spend a day or a few hours observing them. Lurie Children's Hospital in Chicago is a great hospital - I would recommend looking on their website and reaching out to those specialties you are interested in.

Christina Gail recommends the following next steps:

Research local pediatrians
Reach out to them to ask to shadow
Begin researching medical schools

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Richard’s Answer

In the US, to apply to medical school, you need a bachelor's degree. Any 4-year university should suffice.

Pick a major that interests you so you don't mind devoting a majority of your hours to studying. You will need to get good grades in college in order to apply for medical school. At the medical school I attended, the average GPA is reported to be 3.85, so even one or two B's can hurt your chances of acceptance.

Aside from this, any major is acceptable as long as you complete the prerequisite courses.

Typical medical school prerequisites include:
Biology: Lecture – 4 semesters; Lab – 1 semester
General Chemistry: Lecture – 2 semesters; Lab – 1 semester
Organic Chemistry: Lecture – 2 semesters; Lab – 1 semester
Biochemistry: Lecture – 1 semester
General Physics: Lecture – 2 semesters; Lab – 1 semester
Math: Statistics – 1 semester
English: Rhetoric (Composition) and Literature – 2 semesters

Try to find opportunities to pursue research.

Volunteer at your local hospital or low-income clinic. Ask physicians, PAs or other clinical providers if you can shadow them.

During college study for and complete the MCAT. Devote an entire summer to studying for the MCAT and consider paying for a prep course if you can afford it.

My son used MCAT Complete 7-Book Subject Review 2019-2020: Online + Book + 3 Practice Tests (Kaplan Test Prep) Kaplan Test Prep
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Apply to medical schools during your last year of college.

Medical school takes 4 years to complete.

After medical school pediatricians complete a 3 year residency for additional training.

Generally, Pediatricians work in an outpatient setting. They perform physical exams, order tests including laboratory and imaging tests, make diagnoses, and prescribe treatments to children or refer to specialists. They also perform well-child exams and provide vaccinations. Some pediatricians work in a hospital setting, taking care of sick children, for example in the Intensive Care Unit.

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Rachel’s Answer

Hi Chastity,

With regard to the academic preparation for pediatrics, you should be prepared for a lot of school. This means that you will have to complete college with a bachelor’s degree as well as all of the Pre-med requirements. GPA should probably be 3.5 or better. You will also have to score well on the MCAT. Once accepted to medical school, as long as you pass your classes and perform reasonably well during your four years of medical training, you can apply for a pediatrics 3-year residency. You are looking at 11 years of school after high school, but potentially a very fulfilling life-long career.