Pediatrics is primarily concerned with the physical, emotional, and social health of children from birth to young adulthood. Pediatricians are heavily involved with the prevention, early detection, and management of behavioral, developmental, and functional social problems that affect their patients. They also interact with parents or guardians to define the health status of patients and to educate and provide anticipatory guidance about the child’s normal health and growth. (Source: AAMC Careers in Medicine)
The following information comes from the National Resident Matching Program's Charting Outcomes in the Match 2014 (PDF) based on matched applicants in the United States.
Advice for MS1 and MS2 Students
Q: What particular activities should first and second year students get involved with who are interested in pursuing this specialty?
Pediatric Interest Group, shadow pediatricians in different specialties to see if it’s a good fit, community involvement.
Q: Are research experiences important in your specialty?
They are not required but can be valuable if wanting to do academic medicine later on. A good time to get started on research is between your first and second year. Research should only be pursued if you genuinely interested in the area of research.
Q: If so, do these need to be specialty specific research experiences?
Not necessarily, you just need to be genuinely interested in the topic.
Q: Does class rank matter?
Not particularly, but doing well in the first two years of medical school is always looked on favorably during residency interviews and prepares you to do well on your Step 1 exam. 13 percent of U.S. seniors who match are in AOA.
Advice for MS3 and MS4 Students
Q: When should I ask for letters of recommendation (LORs)?
Ideally you should ask for letters in May but absolutely no later than July, allowing your letter writers adequate time to upload your letter prior to the ERAS application submission date of Sept. 15. Your personal statement and CV should be ready as well as many letter writers will request this in order to write you a strong letter.
Q: How many LORs do you need?
A minimum of three.
Q: Is a letter from a chair required?
This is program dependent. Most programs prefer it if the letter writer has worked directly with the applicant.
Q: Do all letters need to be written by members of this specialty?
One letter needs to be from a pediatrics faculty member, others should be from physicians who have worked with you clinically. It is usually standard to have at least two letters from people in the specialty in which you are applying.
Q: Do any letters need to be from external institutions?
Q: Does your Step 2 CK score matter?
Yes, some programs consider it more highly than Step 1.
Q: What electives would you recommend for someone who is interested in pursuing this specialty?
Take electives in the different subspecialties of pediatrics. Be sure to do a subinternship on an inpatient rotation.
Q: Should a student interested in this specialty do away rotations?
It’s not necessary, but if you want to get a feel for the difference in programs this can be helpful. Program types range from larger academic institutions to stand alone children’s hospitals to general hospitals with pediatrics floor.
Q: Which month is recommended to take off to interview?
Pediatrics interviews are typically conducted in October-January.
Similar Specialties to Consider
- Adolescent Medicine
- Child Abuse Pediatrics
- Critical Care
- Developmental Behavioral
- Emergency medicine
- Infectious Disease
- Neurodevelopmental Disabilities
- Sports Medicine
- Transplant Hepatology
Looking into the Future/Changes in Health Care
The iSeek website, Minnesota's career portal, reports that while demand for pediatricians varies somewhat with national birthrates, it doesn't typically lessen demand dramatically. That's because some decades have more people being born than other decades who will require pediatric care for 10 to 15 years. If the birthrate drops, pediatricians will still have children older than 10 to take care of. The iSeek website predicts that demand for pediatricians won't decrease because the U.S. population is growing, with people continuing to have babies. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics also notes that the growing population will increase the need for medical care. (Source: Layne)
See the Career Essentials Pilot Page regarding specialty specific advice for more detailed information and resources.