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Career Profile of a General Pediatrician

Job Descriptions December 6, 2012

A general pediatrician is a doctor who treats adolescents, children and babies. Pediatrician has a common understanding and knowledge about treatments affect at various developmental growth stages.

Job Profile of a General Pediatrician

Chicken pox, measles and mumps among other types of infectious childhood ailments are treated by a general pediatrician. A typical day for a general pediatrician may involve treating a child for muscular dystrophy or an instance of acne, among a variety of other problems. Many pediatrician patients have yet to develop communication skills, so they have to offer diagnosis based on auditory and visual. Majority of pediatricians works in family health practices. Children’s hospitals and HMOs are the main employers of pediatricians while more modestly sized pediatric clinics are likely employ them as well.

The working hours of pediatricians are quite demanding with most of them required to work about sixty hours a week. Pediatricians employed at clinics or hospitals are expected to work in shifts and remain on-call when they are not at work. Doctors at hospitals often consult pediatricians in private practice whose regular patients are hospitalized in an emergency.

Responsibilities of a General Pediatrician

Along with growth, development monitoring, and traditional medicine are the basis of a pediatrician’s practice. Apart from administering medicine, pediatricians are expected to observe the growth and development of children under their treatment. Their responsibilities include the tracking and administering of immunizations with strict adherence to a regular schedule. The pediatrician must communicate well with both parents and children.  Doctors are required to provide detailed explanations to alleviate fears and treatment course options. They need to have a sensitive bedside approach towards their patients, which are helpful in this area of medicine.

Educational Prerequisites of a General Pediatrician

The American Medical Association (AMA) considers general pediatrics to be a specialized field; however, they start the learning process with similar training as general practitioners. With that being said, there are no difference between the general pediatricians and general practitioners educational process. It starts with a college education that last four years, followed by medical school lasting another four years along with the residency program that last between three to eight years.

The residency period can be longer if the general pediatrician opts for a sub-specialized field of study such as pediatric surgery or auto-immune disorders. After they complete medical school and the residency period, the pediatrician are required to complete the licensure requirement by taking the United States Medical Licensing exam before they can practice.

Certification Prerequisite

The acquisition of certification by the American Board of Pediatricians (ABP) is essential for general pediatricians as directed by the American Board of Medical Specialists. The sub-specializations chosen by the pediatricians determine the examination requirements. The ABP recognizes alternative training courses they can undergo — the details of such qualifications are displayed on their site on the internet (

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