Helpful tips to becoming a Pediatrician
1) What kind of education do you need to become a pediatrician?
Pediatricians typically complete 11 years of training to become a pediatrician, including:
- 4 years of college
- 4 years of medical school
- 1 year of an internship in pediatrics
- 2 years of a pediatric residency
Pediatric specialists, like a pediatric cardiologist or pediatric endocrinologist, also have to complete at least 3 years of specialty fellowship training.
2) How much does all of that schooling cost?
It depends on where you go to school, with private colleges and medical schools in general being more expensive than public ones. Most medical students get financial aid, loans and grants to help pay for their education though. In 2000, the average debt of medical students was $95,000.
3) What should I choose as a major in college?
Although most students assume that they have to major in biology or some other science major, you can choose any major you like. There are certain premed course requirements that you have to complete before applying to medical school, but they can be outside your major. Premed requirements usually include:
- one year of English
- two years of Biology
- one semester of college calculus or statistics
- one year of physics
- two years of chemistry, including one year of inorganic and one year of organic chemistry
It may seem easier to just choose a major that includes these classes, but you really should pick a major that you will enjoy and will succeed at.
4) Do I have to have a 4.0 GPA to get into medical school?
Of course not. Grades are only one thing that medical schools look at when considering applicants for medical school. They will also look at your MCAT scores, recommendations from your professors and advisors, extracurricular activities, and your personal qualities.
More than your grades, medical schools want to see that you are able to be successful at something. This might mean that you have competed in piano competitions, that you play competitive sports, or that you had a leadership role in a major organization or community service project.
If you can show that you can be successful, then you may be able to convince the medical school that you will be successful as a doctor.
5) Does it matter where I go to college?
Not as much as most students think. Medical school application committees do look at how hard your courses in college were or the 'rigor of the undergraduate curriculum', but you are likely best off going to a college where you will be successful. Getting all A's at a smaller college that is close to home is probably better than getting all C's and D's at Harvard or Yale.
If you are interested in getting into a highly competitive or top medical school, like Harvard or Johns Hopkins, then going to an 'elite' college might be helpful.