What Medical Careers are in Pediatrics?

Individuals who want to work with children will be happy to know there are several medical careers in pediatrics other than just a being a pediatrician. Pediatrics is a branch of medicine that involves the medical and health care of children from birth and up to the age of 18. In the Greek language, pediatrics means “healer of children.” Individuals who want to become healers of children can choose from various medical careers in pediatrics. Here are some options.


Pediatricians are medical doctors who treat children from birth until the age of 18. Becoming a pediatrician requires a bachelor’s degree plus four years of medical school. After graduating from medical school, the doctor completes a residency working in the pediatric department of a hospital. The residency can last from three to seven years. Pediatricians earn an average annual income of $187,540, according to a May 2017 wage report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Pediatric Nurse

A pediatric nurse is a registered nurse who works in pediatrics usually alongside of pediatricians. They may work in clinics, hospitals or in home hospice settings. To become a pediatric nurse, the candidate must complete an accredited nursing program and pass the NCLEX-RN exam. Becoming a registered nurse can be accomplished by completing a nursing associate degree or bachelor’s degree program. The end of the program includes an internship where the RN can choose pediatrics as the area of specialty. Pediatric nurses typically take the Certified Pediatric Nurse Examination. RNs earn an average annual salary of $73,550 as of 2017.

Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

Pediatric nurse practitioners are advanced practice registered nurses (APRN) who work as primary and specialty care providers in a pediatric health setting. They assess children and determine the best treatment plan. They work in hospitals and clinics and often work independently. To become a pediatric nurse practitioner, the individual must earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing, complete a master’s degree in nursing with a major in pediatric nursing, obtain work experience and earn the pediatric nurse practitioner certification. The candidate can earn the Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner-Board Certified or the Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner-Primary Care Credential. The Bureau reports that nurse practitioners earned an annual wage of $107,480 as of May 2017.

Neonatal Nurse

Also known as neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) nurses, neonatal nurses are registered nurses who work with babies born with medical conditions that require special medical care. To become a neonatal nurse, the individual must complete a nursing program and pass the NCLEX-RN exam to become an RN. Nursing programs also include clinical education, and this is especially true for the neonatal nurse. After becoming a licensed RN, the nurse must get at least two years of work experience working in a neonatal unit. The neonatal nurse can obtain the Critical Care Neonatal Nursing certification or the Neonatal Intensive Care Nursing certification.

It’s worth noting that in the case of the neonatal nurse, pediatric nurse and the pediatric nurse practitioner, the wages listed are for RNs and nurse practitioners. These medical professionals who have certifications in areas of specialization (pediatrics), typically are offered higher wages.

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Working with children in a medical setting can be rewarding and challenging but also very heart-wrenching, particularly when children are chronically or terminally ill. Because qualified workers are in such need, pediatric specialists continue to be in demand. It takes a very special individual to choose medical careers in pediatrics.