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I'm a senior in high school and I want to know what is the best major or undergraduate degree for being a pediatrician.

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RAVI’s Answer

To become a Pediatrician, you need to become a doctor first and then do residency towards Pediatric specialization. Residency program decides the kind of doctor you will become. Undergrad major does not provide any direct bearing for becoming a pediatrician.

To become a doctor, you do need to get an undergrad degree. Although most medical schools do not demand a specific major to get admitted, they all require certain amount of Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Math courses to qualify. You do need to also take MCAT exam during your final years of college to be eligible to apply for Medical school.

Considering this, although any major is good enough, you want to probably stay in the Stem fields. Most do take Bio or Chem major typically.

Once you are in Medical college and studying you can probably sped additional time focusing on Pediatrics or research on Pediatrics to become better eligible and land a residency program in pediatrics. It is not automatic. You have to work towards it and hope the complex residency program assignment algorithms work in your favor and you become lucky!

I know all this because my daughter is a medical student and she is actually working towards a Pediatrics Neurology Residency. She did Bio major in undergrad. Hope and wish she gets it. And best wishes to you as well.

This finally made me understand, thank you so much, and congratulations to your daughter! Albree P.

For getting selected to Pediatric Residency program you have to opt in Pediatrics as your preferred choice in addition to 2nd, 3rd and other choices on other fields. You have to opt in for various university hospitals in preferential order. Then they will invite you for an interview and scope you on a variety of aspects. And then they announce what specialization you are offered and where. It is a big event! I am told 98 to 99% of the doctors get what they ask for. I do not know for sure. My daughter is in first year. Will know in about 3+ years! RAVI REDDY

That's so exciting!, can't wait to be making those types of decisions. Thank you! Albree P.

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Gerald’s Answer

As the previous answer states, the first step to becoming a pediatrician is first getting accepted into medical school. For everyone considering medical school, there is the option of a "science" degree such as Biology, Biochemistry, Physiology, etc. There is also the option of majoring in a different non-scientific field, such as the liberal arts. If you do choose the second route, you just have to make sure you take the required pre-med courses in addition to your required courses for your major. I would recommend choosing what you are interested in and curious about, as your major, whether that be a science major or another major. You have a better chance of maintaining high grades in fields that you're interested in, as opposed to only taking the "required" courses that don't pique your interest. Also, it shows you're unique and well-rounded. If the pre-med courses (Calculus, Biology, Biochemistry, Chemistry, Physics, etc) are not fields you're excited about, then I would think about the fields you get excited about. University is a unique experience where you have the opportunity to learn as much as possible about any given topic, so I would recommend taking advantage of that opportunity as well.

Thank you so much for helping! So if I want to get into med school I have to take pre-med classes while doing my general ed? Albree P.

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Judith’s Answer

Yes Albee’s, you definitely have to be sure to take the premed courses required by the medical schools you are interested in. And you have to take the MCAT test. You might also consider volunteering at a clinic or getting a part time or summer job in a medical situation to gain some experience. Another helpful experience might be to shadow a practicing Pediatrician to see what the day to day work is like.
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