Working with children is a rewarding experience, especially when you get to see them grow and mature. As a pediatrician, you help children remain healthy, and you have the opportunity to educate their families on how to take care of them properly. Although the benefit of keeping children healthy as they grow is beneficial, the pediatrician salary makes this career even more appealing, and there are other less time-consuming ways to work in the medical field with children.
Pediatrician Salary: What a Pediatrician Does
A pediatrician is a person who manages the health of children. They’re knowledgeable about the physical development of children as well as their behavioral and mental health. They have a comprehensive understanding of childhood illnesses including minor health problems and serious diseases.
They diagnose and treat diseases as well as provide immunizations and routine examinations. They educate parents on proper nutrition and other valuable aspects of children’s health that affect their growth and development.
If a child shows any signs of a serious condition only treatable by a specialist, the pediatrician can provide a referral.
Pediatrician Salary: How to Become a Pediatrician
Earning an Undergraduate Degree
The first step to earning a pediatrician salary is to earn your undergraduate degree. It’s your choice what you want to major in during this time.
You will need certain credits to attend medical school, so keep that in mind when making your selection. Ultimately, you should make sure you research the medical school’s prerequisites before you choose your undergraduate degree program. Typically, you need to take courses in math and science, such as biology, inorganic and organic chemistry, and physics.
If you’re sure you would like to become a pediatrician, you may want to major in child psychology or another similar degree dealing with children’s health.
Unless you take an accelerated program or alter your schedule, you can expect this portion of your education to take four years to complete.
Medical School Entrance Exam
Before you apply to medical school, you must complete your MCAT, which is the Medical College Admission Test. This examination focuses on physical and biological sciences.
You want to take this test in either your second or third year of undergraduate school, giving you enough time to retake it if necessary. You must receive a certain score to attend medical school, and this number varies from school to school.
Completing Medical School
The first step for completing medical school is applying. You must either complete your doctorate of medicine (M.D.) or your doctor of osteopathy (D.O.). Either program takes four years to complete, meaning you attend college for a total of eight years to become a doctor.
The first two years of medical school consists of courses like the following:
During the second two years, you learn about what it takes to care for patients in a medical setting. You complete this portion of your education under the direct supervision of experienced doctors.
At this point, you gain exposure to a variety of medical specialties, ranging from gynecology to cardiology to internal medicine. You might also learn about psychiatry and family medicine.
You need more training than just what you had in medical school to practice as a physician, let alone a pediatrician. Your residency is the experience you will receive in a medical office working with physicians. A residency usually lasts about three years.
If you’ve made your final decision that you want to specialize in children’s healthcare, you want to complete a residency with pediatricians. During this time, you gain valuable knowledge about the health and wellness of children, and you have an opportunity to see how experienced doctors treat patients.
You may want to complete an additional two years of training, known as your fellowship, if you want to specialize in a specific area of pediatrics, such as neonatal care.
Gaining Your Licensure
You need to take a test, which is a two-part exam, to gain your license to practice. You might also want to get your board certification in pediatric care.
Pediatric Jobs Available with an Associate’s Degree
You can’t become a pediatrician and earn a pediatrician salary with an associate’s degree. You can, however, major in an associate’s degree program related to children.
For instance, you might want to complete an associate’s degree in child psychology. Optimally, you want to earn at least your bachelor's degree in childhood psychology though. You could also decide to earn your associate’s degree in nursing and specialize in children’s care.
Pediatrician Salary for Those with a Medical Degree
Average Pediatrician Salary
On average, a pediatrician who has a medical degree and has completed a residency in pediatric care earns around $90.16 per hour. Therefore, a pediatrician salary for a year is equivalent to $187,540.
Some individuals who practice as a pediatrician earn more than $100.00 per hour or $208,000 per year. The bottom 10 percent earn less than $85,000 per year.
Where Highest Paying Jobs Are
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Mississippi, Alaska, Wisconsin, South Dakota, and Montana rank as the states with the highest paying jobs for pediatricians. For instance, the average pay for a pediatrician in Mississippi is $274,470 per year.
The Daytona Beach area ranks as the metropolitan area with the highest paying jobs for pediatricians. Other areas with high pediatrician salaries include:
Keep in mind that if you opt to become a pediatrician to work in the areas where a pediatrician salary is highest, you’ll have plenty of competition for jobs. Not to mention, jobs don’t frequently open up in these areas.
Pediatrician Salary: Nurses in Pediatric Care
Becoming a Pediatric Nurse
If you only want to attend school for a short period of time to work with children, you may want to consider becoming a nurse. You can earn your associate’s degree in nursing and test to become a registered nurse or licensed practical nurse. On the other hand, you could attend a nursing program at a vocational school.
Choosing to earn your bachelor’s degree in nursing requires a four-year commitment in a program in nursing school. You have more possible job opportunities in pediatric care if you take this route.
What a Pediatric Nurse Does
If you’re a pediatric nurse, you monitor children’s health. You might take children’s vital signs and perform basic patient care like changing bandages. It’s often your responsibility to administer injections and give kids their medications.
You either report changes in your patients to the registered nurse, charge nurse, or the pediatrician, depending on the setup of the hospital.
As a pediatric nurse, you must document information related to children’s health.
In most cases, you’ll work alongside pediatricians in hospitals, although some doctor’s offices do hire nurses.
Pediatric nurses who work in the labor and delivery section of the hospital may help during delivery and might take care of an infant after birth.
How Much a Pediatric Licensed Practical Nurse Makes
A licensed practical nurse (LPN) or licensed vocational nurse (LVN) makes an average of $45,030 per year, which is the same as $21.65 per hour. The top-earning LPNs make $61,030 per year while the bottom earners make $32,970 or slightly less.
Keep in mind that you usually earn more if you specialize in pediatric nursing or a subspecialty like neonatal nursing.
How Much a Pediatric Registered Nurse Makes
If you decide to become a registered nurse, you’ll make more money. Although you only need to have an associate’s degree to take your registered nursing test, you may want to wait and finish your bachelor’s degree because your earning potential is higher.
A pediatric registered nurse makes an average of $70,000 per year. Typically, you make about $33.65 per hour. It’s possible to make less than this because some registered nurses make $23.41 per hour, which is the same as $48,690. The top earners in this profession make $50.05 per hour or $104,100 per year.
Pediatrician Salary: Benefits Of Becoming A Pediatrician With An Associate’s Degree
Although you can make a much higher wage by becoming a pediatrician, the commitment to your education alone is eight years, not including your residency. You may make less money by working in pediatric care with merely an associate’s degree, but you can make decent money and love what you do.
One of the biggest benefits of working after just getting an associate’s degree is that you can avoid student loans that you could find yourself paying off for the rest of your life. Not to mention, you can make a decent wage quickly.
In conclusion, you can work with children by only having an associate’s degree. However, if you want to increase your earning potential and are willing and able to commit to more than two years of school, you may want to further your education to become a nurse or a pediatrician.