Last updated January 20, 2021.

The medical specialty of pediatrics focuses on caring for and managing health issues impacting adolescents, children, and infants. Medical professionals who provide care for this population are referred to as pediatricians. Within the specialty of pediatrics, there are various subspecialties that require additional education to obtain the licenses needed to practice in these areas. For a full list of pediatric subspecialties, check out the American Board of Pediatrics website.

Like the specialties of internal medicine and family medicine, those who specialize in pediatrics provide routine care for their patients. This includes helping them manage chronic conditions, treating short-term illnesses, and providing preventative medicine. The later is associated with educating patients and their guardians on ways to maintain good health through diet and exercise.

Because the patients they treat are continually growing, pediatricians must be well-versed in physiology. The level of maturity that a patient is at is taken into account when prescribing medication and other forms of treatment.

Interested in providing medical care to children on a daily basis? The medical specialty of pediatrics may be the right fit for you! Continue reading below for information on the residency requirements for this specialty and what it’s like to practice as a pediatrician.


Once they’ve graduated medical school, individuals who are interested in becoming pediatrictians must apply for and get into a pediatrics residency program. During the 2020 Main Residency Match, 61% of IMGs who applied got into residency programs. For the speicalty of pediatrics, the 2020 IMG match rate was 20%, with a total of 562 IMGs becoming pediatric residents.

The figures above relate to 2020 first-year residents only. According to the Accredation Council of Graduate Medical Education, there are 9,323 pediatrc residents training across the country. At present Pediatrics is considered one of the top five IMG-friendly specialties, making it a smart option to consider for medical trainees outside the U.S. who may be just beginning their education.

One benefit of pediatrics is that the residency training is short. At just three years long, individuals who want to become certified in a subspecialty of pediatrics may feel more inclined to do so. Pediatric subspecialty fellowships two years long. Individuals looking to purse a subspecialty certification may enroll in a five-year residency programs, which includes the fellowship or, they may opt to do a three year program and purse a seperate fellowship further in their career.

There are a total of 22 pediatric subspecialties which are accrediated by the ACGME. Click here to explore these options.

Practicing as a Pediatrician

At present, there are 91,915 certified pediatricians within the U.S. This number, which is large in comparison to the population of other medical specialties may explain why pediatricians have smaller salaries than healthcare professionals in other areas. During 2020, the average annual salary for pediatricians was $232,000. Since 2019, the average salary for these individuals grew by $7,000, or about 3%.

Roughly 53% of practicing physicians feel that this salary is not enough for the work they do. Despite this, about 75% of pediatricians say, if given the choice again, pediatrics would sill be their choice specialty. When asked about the best part of their job, most pediatricians indicated that they enjoy building strong relationships with their young patients and caregivers. Another perk of the job— pediatricians spend less time than many other healthcare professional on paperwork!

To have success in pediatrics, indiviuals must be communicative, curious, empathetic, and patient.

Interested in the specialty of pediatrics? AMO has many clinical experiences in this area of medicine!

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