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How Long is Pediatric Residency?

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Specializing in the Wellness and Medical Care of Newborns and Adolescents

Family life, including their own, is important to pediatricians. Studies show that pediatricians who balance work and family have high rates of job satisfaction. Becoming a pediatrician requires residency training of three years beyond medical school, and there are a number of sub-specialties of pediatrics that require additional training. Is one of them right for you?

How Much Do Pediatricians Earn?

The median annual salary for a pediatrician is $192,038, meaning that half in the profession earn more and half earn less. Geographic location, board certification and area of specialization can mean wide variations in compensation. Average ranges based on experience are as follows:

  • Less than one year of experience: $173,968 to $188,350
  • 3 to 4 years of experience: $175,074 to $189,456
  • 7 to 9 years of experience: $178,025 to $192,038
  • 10 to 14 years of experience: $182,819 to $198,760
  • 20-plus years of experience: $189,456 to $208,843

A Day in the Life of a Resident

Any medical residency is demanding, and pediatrics is no exception. Residents typically arrive at the hospital by 7 a.m., meet with members of the pediatric team and see patients on rounds. They respond to emergencies, from newborns with respiratory difficulties to children and adolescents brought to the hospital with illness or injury. Pediatric residents attend lectures. They work with supervising physicians, nurses and other health-care specialists to make diagnoses and form treatment plans. The workday typically ends around 5 p.m. All residents are part of the rotation to be on call nights and weekends.

Specialty Training Beyond the Three-Year Residency

Following the three-year pediatric residency, a physician may undertake a fellowship, usually three years in length, to train in a pediatric sub-specialty. Options include the following:

  • Child abuse: Prepares physician for academic career in child abuse, neglect and advocacy
  • Developmental-behavioral pediatrics: Focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of developmental and behavioral issues
  • Neonatal-perinatal medicine: Focuses on medical care for infants, including those born prematurely
  • Pediatric critical care: Focuses on comprehensive medical care for critically ill and surgical children
  • Pediatric emergency medicine: Focuses on treatment of seriously ill or injured children in the setting of the emergency department
  • Pediatric endocrinology: Focuses on health management of patients with hormonal disorders
  • Pediatric gastroenterology: Focuses on nutritional disorders and diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the gastrointestinal system, pancreas and liver
  • Pediatric hospital medicine: A 1- to 3-year fellowship that focuses on the care of patients in a hospital setting
  • Pediatric infectious diseases: Focuses on prevention, diagnosis and treatment of infectious diseases such as meningitis and influenza
  • Pediatric nephrology: Focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of kidney and urinary tract disorders
  • Pediatric pulmonology: Focuses on respiratory diseases
  • Pediatric rheumatology: Focuses on diagnosis and treatment of rheumatic diseases, such as arthritis

A Pediatrician's Work Schedule

Depending on the type of practice, pediatricians can work full- or part-time. In a large group practice, for example, a pediatrician may see patients only two to three days per week in an office or clinical setting. Pediatricians in research and academia typically work during regular business hours. Pediatricians on staff at a hospital, particularly those with sub-specialties providing treatment in emergencies, will be on call evenings and weekends, usually in rotation with other pediatricians.


Denise Dayton is a a freelance writer who specializes in business, education and technology. She has written for, Library Journal, The Searcher, Bureau of Education and Research, and corporate clients.

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