What does a paediatrician do?
Paediatricians play a key role in assessing and treating sick babies, children, and young people up to the age of 18. They work with other medical professionals including doctors, healthcare assistants, social workers, and GPs. Paediatricians can specialise in particular areas, such as:
- general paediatrics – hospital-based and is the most common
- community paediatrics – focused on treating children with developmental, social, and behavioural conditions, or physical disabilities
- highly specialised paediatrics, such as treating children with heart conditions, or neonatology, based in an intensive care unit, specialising in new born baby care
Responsibilities include observing and assessing the condition of patients, preparing for operations, administering drugs and injections, responding to emergencies, and coordinating care with other agencies.
What do I need to do to become a paediatrician?
To become a paediatrician, you must first train to become a doctor. This means you need to gain a medical degree which is approved by the General Medical Council, then go on to complete a two year foundation programme of general medical and specialist paediatrics training.
Entry to medical school is highly competitive. Entry requirements for medical degrees vary, but to do a five year degree in medicine, you usually need at least five GCSEs at grades A*/A or equivalent, including English, maths, and science, and at least three A levels (or equivalent) including chemistry, with another science or maths. You will also need to hold a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check to start a medical degree course.If you don’t have the required A levels or equivalent, you can apply for foundation courses or pre-medical courses to prepare you for medical school. If you already have a degree, some medical schools offer graduate medical degrees. These are usually four year courses and will have specific entry requirements, so you should check with each university.
- Three A levels or equivalent, in chemistry and either biology, physics, or maths, plus another academic subject
- Medical degree
- Two years of foundation training
- Three to eight years of specialist training
- DBS clearance
Where could I be working?
There are lots of different settings where paediatricians can work, including in hospitals, clinics, community settings, health centres, schools, and military services.