The Scope for Growth in your Career as a Pediatrician
The Scope for Growth in your Career as a Pediatrician: As per the survey by the World Bank, the total population of children is 1.967 billion across the world. Furthermore, in the next 30 years, the world’s population is projected to increase by 2 billion. This is to say that the population of children will also increase, which will bring prospects to prosper for pediatricians. However, there is a sheer lack of experts in pediatrics as compared to the current population of children and the anticipated growth in the upcoming years.
Recently, a survey revealed that the most concerning threat to children across the world is the shortage of pediatricians or experts to manage them at hospitals. Worldwide, 1.7 billion children and adolescents do not have access to basic life-saving surgery, which is hugely because of the skill gap in the field of pediatrics or the lack of pediatric surgeons.
With the widening skill-gap and the burgeoning need for pediatricians across the world, there is a lot of scope for growth for healthcare professionals who are interested to thrive in the booming field of pediatrics, and this pediatrics blog will guide you through the career path in the field while also providing you with insights on the types of pediatrician, which in turn, will enable you to choose the profession based on your interest.
What is Pediatrics?
Pediatrics is the branch of medicine which deals with healthcare and management of infants, children, and adolescents. The children who get treated by these healthcare professionals or specialists would be within the age of 21 years, according to American Academy of Pediatrics. The word Pediatrics is a Greek word which means “healer of children” and derived from two words “pais” and “iatros”. Pediatrics has evolved into a seperate medical speciality since the 19th century as child mortality rates and disease rate has been drastically increasing. Pediatrics is not only a separate speciality but it is a collaborative speciality which also has other specialities into it. By 2030, the aim of Pediatrics is to reduce the infant mortality rates, control the spread of infectious diseases, provide mental health to adolescents etc.
Doctors or healthcare professionals who treat children are called Pediatricians. As they grow, children undergo rapid physical and mental changes. They have an entirely different physiological change in comparison with the adults. A Pediatrician will not only provide healthcare for acutely or chronically ill children but also have a major responsibility in managing physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing in every stage of a child’s development. They also provide preventive healthcare services for healthy children. They have a special role for medically and mentally challenged children to mould them into a normal healthy child.
- In brief, pediatricians will perform the following procedures:
- Physical and mental examination of a child
- Educating about immunizations and vaccinations; performs annual check ups
- Treating injuries, including fractures and dislocations
- Evaluating child’s physical, emotional, and social development
- Providing general health advice
- Diagnosing and treating various medical conditions: Acute or chronic
- Treating complex children by collaborative medicine.
- Should be able to diagnose malignancies, genetic defects, and childhood infections in newborn babies.
Who is a Pediatrician and When is someone called a Pediatrician?
A doctor or a healthcare professional is called a Pediatrician when one completes a basic bachelor’s degree of 5 years in medicine, then attends a three year residency course of Masters in pediatrics. The professionals should even obtain a license or a registration for legally practicing in their own or private or government health setups. They should even obtain the skill and knowledge in accurately treating all medical conditions and emergencies in children in that three year specialization course. These are all mandatory for a doctor to be called as a pediatrician. Most pediatricians go one step further and earn board certification, which helps them to undergo continuous professional education throughout their careers.
Subspecialities in Pediatrics:
To treat children in a more specialized and elegant manner, pediatrics has been divided into many sub specialities which can help the specialist to deliver his skills at a detailed level.
Neonatologist: These are the doctors which are trained to handle complicated and high-risk health situations in newborns and infants.
Pediatric cardiologist: Pediatric cardiologists are involved in the diagnosis and treatment of heart conditions in children, including congenital heart disease and abnormal heart rhythms.
Critical Care Pediatrician or Pediatric Intensivist: Children also suffer from critical conditions that may prove to be life-threatening. Critical care pediatricians are the ones with expertise in diagnosis and treatment of children suffering from critical conditions.
Endocrinology pediatricians: There is a gamut of hormonal disorders that children go through. These include developmental problems, early or delayed puberty, thyroid disorders, and other hormonal problems for which endocrinology pediatricians are needed who diagnose and manage these conditions in the children.
Gastroenterology pediatricians: The digestive, liver, and nutritional problems in children differ from those in adults. These include a lot of serious problems like bleeding from the gastrointestinal tract, inflammatory bowel disease, lactose intolerance, liver disease, vomiting, pancreatic insufficiency, and others. The experts that diagnose and treat these conditions are known as gastroenterology pediatricians.
Pediatric hematologists and oncologists: Some children suffer from conditions that include leukemias, lymphomas, brain tumors, bone tumors, and solid tumors. Furthermore, diseases of blood cells including the disorders of white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets can also occur in children which lead to life-threatening situations. Pediatric hematologists and oncologists are the doctors that are involved in the treatment of children with these serious conditions.
Neonatal pediatricians: Even though all the pediatricians are equipped with skills to manage children who are newly born, neonatal pediatricians have a distinctive competence in treating infants that are premature or have serious injury, illness, or birth defect. They also have skills to diagnose problems in the baby during the stage of pregnancy after which they can consult an obstetrician for the management of the condition.
Child nephrologist: Some children develop complications in the kidney, urinary tract, and bladder as well. Furthermore, they are also diagnosed with congenital and acquired renal problems. Child nephrologists are specialised to diagnose and manage these problems.
Pediatric allergist: Diagnose and help in preventing allergic reactions due to food , air, water, etc. which could result in asthma, a rash, or dangerous anaphylaxis.
Pediatric anesthesiologists: Procedures like surgery need special skills in a doctor. If a child is suffering from a condition that requires surgery, pediatric anesthesiologists are equipped with skills that ensure that the child undergoes that treatment with safety.
Pediatric developmentalist: Some children suffer with developmental problems such as physical deformities like muscular dystrophy. Furthermore, there are children with developmental-behavioral problems such as attention deficit hypersensitivity disorder (ADHD) and others. Pediatric developmentalist are equipped with skills to evaluate, counsel, and provide treatment for children during their early age and adolescence.
Pediatric dermatologists: Pediatric dermatologists are the pediatricians who are experts in the diagnosis, management, and treatment of skin diseases in children.
Pediatric urologists: Some of the common issues faced by the child include urinary tract infections, disorders of urination like urinary retention, urinary incontinence, and others that require a super specialised pediatrician to attend to these conditions. Pediatric urologists are the doctors that need to be consulted for management and treatment of these conditions.
How to become a Pediatrician – Path to become a Pediatrician and How long does it take to become a pediatrician?
In India, it takes approximately 8 1/2 years post intermediate to become a pediatrician which involves a five and half -year basic medical degree and a three-year post graduation degree.
The student has to complete his basic schooling before choosing an entry into medical school. This includes opting Biology, physics and chemistry as the subjects or in some states Maths, biology, physics and chemistry in intermediate and qualifying an entrance examination (All India NEET). These subjects can be pursued from either Government or private colleges. .
Pediatrician Education requirements:
A Pediatrician education includes the following –
A Bachelor’s degree: In India, a five and half year course which includes an internship is mandatory to further gain an opportunity to write an entrance for Post graduate specialization (Pediatrician). This is the minimum academic benchmark that one must attain to become a pediatrician. One must have an MBBS degree with compulsory internship in their respective colleges/ universities.
in brief, the academic qualifications required are mentioned below:
Subject: Science stream with Physics, Chemistry & Biology in Class 12th or intermediate.
Exam – NEET UG.
Candidates should have cleared class 12 with a minimum of 50% in Physics, Chemistry, Biology and English (taken together) from a recognised board.
To pursue a career as a paediatrician, candidates should hold an MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery) degree recognized by Medical Council of India.
After that, candidates should have a postgraduate degree, i.e. M.D. in pediatrics, successful postgraduates can go for further specialization in medical or surgical fields. For this, candidates should have an MBBS degree with minimum 55% marks from a recognized institute/university.
Candidates can also choose to pursue Ph.D. in pediatrics and step into the field of research. For this, candidates should have a postgraduate degree in a relevant subject or equivalent with at least 50% marks in aggregate. Candidates should also clear entrance exams conducted by the respective universities for the course.
This step is compulsory for turning yourself into a pediatrician.
In India, for practicing with the post graduate degree, he/ she should first get registered with the Medical council of India. Later renewal of registration should be done annually for continuation of the practice.
With respect to practicing and setting up a hospital, a pediatrician needs a one time registration for the premise and must be approved by the respective state government that has adopted this act. Each state has their procedure of registration of the hospitals within their territory.
For students who have perceived their degree from other countries and want to practice pediatrics in India, they need to write MCI exams. Students who belong to the countries like the USA, UK, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada are exempted from the Medical council exam while the students belonging to the countries other than the aforementioned should clear the MCI exam in order to practice pediatrics in India.
This is usually not mandatory, but this will project patients that you hold a high level of competency in your chosen profession. In India, this only depends on an individual’s interest to obtain certification through various sources and is not mandatory. This gives value and hold to the basic specialization to treat patients in an advanced way.
In brief, the step wise approach to become a pediatrician include:
- Basic schooling Class 12th or intermediate with qualification marks in NEET.
- An MBBS degree from a recognised college and university with compulsory rotatory internship
- Registration for MBBS degree All India entrance examination (NEET ), post graduation
- Registration has a pediatrician form MCI and renewal of the registration every year.
How Much Do Pediatricians Make? – Average Pediatrician Salary 2020
Even though the salary structure of a pediatrician or average pediatrician salary varies from region to region as there are aspects like economy and the healthcare infrastructure of the country that comes into the picture, the surveys suggest that pediatrics is one of the most lucrative specializations in the field of medicine.
As per the surveys conducted by a gamut of job portals, the average pediatrician annual salary is between 5 lakh to 8 lakh per annum depending on the specialization. Neonatologists are paid even beyond 8 lakh per annum. The average pediatrician annual salary in the US is close to $170,000 per year, and that in India is over INR 11 lakh..
From India’s perspective, the pediatrician annual salary for mid-level experienced candidates is around INR 11 lakh when it comes to general pediatricians. While on the other hand, the mid-level neonatologists may earn as much as INR 21 lakh.
The salary structure of senior level general pediatricians is even more lucrative as the average annual pediatrician salary is INR 34 lakh and that of neonatologists is over 41 lakh a year.
Thank you for taking the time to read this article. Let us know if you have any queries or need any additional information pertaining to pediatrics.
You can also take up our blended learning or online pediatrics course, Fellowship in Pediatrics in order to make a career or upskill in the field. You will earn a certificate, which will add great value to your career.