Pros and Cons of Becoming a Pediatrician

by Carolyn Gray; Updated September 26, 2017
african male doctor examining baby boy

Being a pediatrician can be a very rewarding career and brings in a larger pay check than most jobs. However, as with any career, there are pros and cons associated with being a pediatrician. The good news is that if you’re planning to attend medical school, you don’t have to decide what type of doctor you want to be until you finish your undergraduate education and complete four years of medical school. Medical school students decide what type of doctor they want to be when they apply to residency programs during their last year of medical school.

Hours

medical exam

One of the pluses of being a pediatrician is the relatively normal work hours that come with the job. The majority of pediatricians work from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, unlike some doctors who have to work night shifts. Pediatricians almost never have to work at night and if they do, it’s usually just answering a phone call from a concerned mother.

Lower Pay

Medical check-up at pediatrist girl measure height

The median salary for pediatricians in the United States (as of February 2011) is $166,339, according to Salary.com. Although this may seem high, pediatricians earn less money than any other type of doctor. However, if a pediatrician decides to specialize, for example in cardiology or oncology, he can expect to earn over $200,000 a year or more.

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Location

Medical person typing

Unlike surgeons or emergency room doctors, pediatricians have the option of working out of their home. Many pediatricians attach offices to their home which lets them stay close to their family while running their medical practice. This is particularly convenient because they don’t have to worry about commuting to work.

Working With Kids

Doctor auscultating the ear of a child

For many doctors, working with kids is the best part of the job. If you love working kids, then a career as a pediatrician may be perfect for you. However, sometimes kids will be too sick to save, which can be depressing.

Long Patient History

doctor with female patient

Pediatricians get to follow children from the time they’re babies to when they’re 21 years old. Unlike other types of doctors, pediatricians have the opportunity to bond with patients and their families. Emergency room doctors work in shifts and almost never follow-up with patients.

Low Stress

Positive doctors

Pediatricians have a relatively low-stress job compared to other types of doctors like surgeons and emergency room doctors. Some people prefer intense jobs, but if you’re looking for a low-stress job, then life as a pediatrician may be perfect for you.

2016 Salary Information for Physicians and Surgeons

Physicians and surgeons earned a median annual salary of $204,950 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, physicians and surgeons earned a 25th percentile salary of $131,980, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $261,170, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 713,800 people were employed in the U.S. as physicians and surgeons.

About the Author

Carolyn Gray started writing in 2009. Her work history includes line and staff management in the Finance and Controller's Department of New York Telephone and NYNEX. Gray has a Bachelor of Arts in government from Clark University and a Master of Business Administration from New York University's Stern School of Business in Management and Organization Behavior.

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