5 Top Medical Careers in Pediatrics

5 Top Pediatrics Medical Careers

  • Pediatrician
  • Child Psychologist
  • Neonatal Nurse
  • Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
  • Pediatric Registered Nurse

Individuals who want careers in healthcare and want to spend their time working with children can choose from several medical careers in pediatrics. Pediatrics is the branch of medicine that deals with children of all ages from birth until they become adults. There are various medical programs requiring various degree levels and training requirements. Here are five top medical careers in pediatrics.

1. Pediatrician

Pediatricians are medical doctors who specialize in the treatment of babies, young children and adolescents. It takes many years to become a pediatrician. The individual must complete four years of undergraduate courses as well as four years of medical school. Once this is finished, the student can obtain a medical license. The aspiring pediatrician must then complete a pediatric residency that can take from three to seven years to complete. As of an April 2018 wage report by Salary.com, pediatricians earned an average annual wage of $193,108.

2. Child Psychologist

Child psychologists are trained medical professionals who provide mental health services to children from toddler age to adulthood. They speak with the children, assess their behavior, research their emotional and behavioral patterns, make diagnoses and initiate treatment. To become a child psychologist, an individual must earn both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in psychology and complete a two-year clinical internship. If the child psychologist wants to work in private practice, the candidate must earn a doctoral degree. The individual must also be licensed to work in all states. As of a May 2018 wage report by PayScale, child psychologists earned an average annual wage of $67,526.

3. Neonatal Nurse

Neonatal nursing, another medical career in pediatrics, involves registered nurses who have been specially trained to work in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) where babies who have been with medical conditions requiring additional medical care are treated. To work as a neonatal nurse, the candidate must earn an RN license, work in a neonatal department for at least two years and obtain certification as a neonatal nurse. This can be accomplished by passing the Neonatal Intensive Care Nursing or the Critical Care Neonatal Nursing certification exams. The annual wage for neonatal nurses as of May 2018 was $60,453, according to PayScale.

4. Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

Also known as an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN), pediatric nurse practitioners work as specialty and primary care providers in a pediatric department such as a hospital, school or similar medical facility. Their workload is very similar to that of a doctor. Pediatric nurse practitioners have completed a master’s degree in nursing with a concentration in pediatric nursing. After obtaining the nursing license, the individual obtains work experience and obtains certification as a pediatric nurse practitioner. The Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner-Board Certified and the Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner-Primary Care are two credentials the pediatric nurse practitioner can earn. As of May 2018, pediatric nurse practitioners earned an annual wage of $85,753, according to PayScale.

5. Pediatric Registered Nurse

A pediatric registered nurse is an RN who works with children of all ages. This RN may work in a hospital, clinic or a private setting. They often work alongside a licensed pediatrician. Becoming a pediatric RN requires first becoming a licensed RN. To do this, the candidate must complete a nursing bachelor’s degree program and pass the NCLEX-RN. The final stages of the program have the RN working in a pediatric internship. Upon completion, the candidate can take the Certified Pediatric Nurse Examination to obtain certification as a pediatric registered nurse. PayScale states that pediatric nurses earn an average annual salary of $57,739 as of May 2018.

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Working with children can be demanding and stressful at times, especially when the patients are very ill, confused, in pain and out of sorts. In addition to requiring education and training, medical careers in pediatrics require patience, love of children and a very special individual.