The educational qualifications for becoming a pediatrician can be daunting. You'll start off with a four-year undergraduate degree. You'll need extensive coursework in biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, physics, mathematics, and English. Most future pediatricians choose to major in biology or chemistry. In your junior year, you will take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). This will measure your aptitude for medical school. Your performance will be a large factor in whether or not you will be accepted into a medical program. Medical school will take another four years, two years of class and lab work and two years of hospital rotations. The classroom side of medical school will include the study of anatomy and physiology, pathology, immunology, pharmacology, and ethics. After a three-year residency in pediatrics, you will finally be qualified to take a state licensing exam and the American Board of Pediatrics certification exam.
If you're going to be a pediatrician, you'd better like working with children. Not only will you need to know how to treat children, you'll need to know how to clearly communicate with them, as well as their parents or guardians and other medical personnel. As with any doctor, you should have great empathy for your patients, dedication to your practice, and general patience and understanding. Pediatricians must be able to perform effectively under the demanding physical and emotional stresses that often come along with the profession.
Part of your educational training will be gaining the practical experience you will need as a licensed pediatrician. During your final two years in medical school, you will perform one to two month rotations in clinical areas such as surgery, internal medicine, psychiatry, and family practice. Your residency will begin after completion of your medical degree. For the next three years, you will work closely with experienced pediatricians, progressively taking on more responsibilities like treating patients and managing medical staff.
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