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What education and training do I need to become a pediatrician?

And can you go to Harvard to become a pediatrician? And how will going to Harvard help you and get you more credit??

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Samara’s Answer

To enter any medical school, you will need a bachelor's degree (also known as an undergraduate degree). Though some people think that a biology degree or anatomy degree is the "best" for medicine, you really can pursue any degree that interests you. I had classmates that were musicians, one was a ballerina, a few had business degrees, etc. You will need to complete a set of prerequisites, including one year of biology, one year of chemistry, one year of organic chemistry, one year of English, and one year of math (which must include calculus). Some medical schools may have other requirements.

As for Harvard, you can absolutely go to Harvard Medical School to become a pediatrician, if you chose to apply there and get accepted. I would also like to remind you that there are many excellent medical schools which will also give you a wonderful medical education. Teaching methods vary at different medical schools and you may find yourself interested in a different education experience. Medical schools also give you a general education, not a specific pediatric education.

So, you could choose to go to a different medical school, then return to the Harvard system for your residency, which would be at Boston Children's. That is where the specific pediatric education would happen.

Harvard certainly has some benefits, but it doesn't give you extra credit on your general education. As an extreme example, even if you went to Harvard for medical school, if you failed your USMLE exam(the final medical school exams) , you still wouldn't be accepted into residency programs. Harvard would give you some connections, and you would have the opportunity to be at Boston Children's Hosptial as a student, which would be a whirlwind of an experience. On the other hand, being a part of large programs like this tend to mean you are part of a gaggle of students and get less one-on-one time with mentors and attendings. It's all about balance and the experience you want.

Samara recommends the following next steps:

I would encourage you to really think about what you want to study in undergrad--you don't have to feel cornered into a biology degree if that really doesn't fill your cup.
I would encourage you to really think about what you want out of this experience and research the different education programs at different medical schools.
Thank you comment icon Thank you, this is really helpful. Emmily
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Tiarra’s Answer

You have to get an undergraduate degree, which typically takes 4 years and you have to complete medical school or six years at a combined university then three years at a pediatric residency. For your pre-med or undergraduate years, you could look into being a human anatomy or biology major to gain introductory knowledge into what you will encounter in medical school. After medical school, you will be required to complete a residency, which will put you in a physical space to learn and showcase what you have learned, allowing you to start working in the field. To become a certified pediatrician, you will also have to pass a written exam.
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