The Path To Becoming a Pediatrician

The Path To Becoming a Pediatrician

The path to becoming a pediatrician requires multiple steps. The first step is completing the appropriate coursework in high school including advanced classes in math and science. After graduating from high school, students will need to gain acceptance into an accredited undergraduate institution that has a pre-medicine program although having a pre-med degree is not required to attend medical school.  Many current medical students are excepted without pre-med, chemistry or biology majors as long as they have the required classes for acceptance.

Taking The MCAT

In addition to completing the required coursework, students must take and submit their score from the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). Achieving high scores on this 6 1/2 hour test with scored sections in physical sciences (chemistry and physics), verbal reasoning (reading comprehension), Biological Sciences (with lab) and Writing Assessment can give an applicant an advantage when applying to schools

The First Two Years Of Medical School

After being accepted into medical school, a student must complete rigorous coursework. The first 2 years of medical school at dedicated to didactic courses such as anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, neuroanatomy and others. It is towards the end of the 2nd year of medical school that students start preparing for the 1st, and most say the most difficult, of three national board examinations. This first test being the USMLE step 1 for allopathic schools and COMLEX step 1 for osteopathic medical schools. This test MUST be passed.

The Third and Fourth Year Of Medical School

The next two years of medical school is reserved for clinical rotations.  This is where students learn and participate in supervised patient care in core medical areas such as pediatrics, OBGYN, internal medicine, pathology, emergency medicine and others. After completing the required rotations, students go on to attend elective rotations.  These are often termed “audition rotations” in that students are trying to get noticed by hospitals that they wish to apply for residency at as getting selected into a residency program is often competitive. It is during the clinical rotations that students need to take and pass Step 2 on the USMLE or COMLEX.  All schools accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) will require their graduates to pass Step 1, Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK). in that sequence before obtaining a medical license and obtaining a residency.

Residency and Beyond

After applying and being accepted into a Pediatric residency, the third part of the national boards must be taken and passed. It is the USMLE. Step 3 or COMLEX step 3.

Residency for pediatrics is 3 years in length and must be completed in order to gain licensure to see pediatric patients without supervision. Some pediatric residents choose to further their education by attending a Fellowship program to focus on one of many subspecialties.

Click this link for a more in depth article that explains the fourteen steps of becoming a Pediatrician.