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What degree do I need to be a pediatrician?

It's an old adage: It takes a village to raise a child. If this proverb is to be believed, pediatricians might be considered one of the most important members of the village. These doctors -- specializing in the care of infants, children and adolescents - guide parents and help with the physical, social and emotional health of their patients as they move into young adulthood. Pediatricians have an important job, but they also have a vast body of knowledge to draw from to help them along the way. These doctors can tackle big issues with the smallest patients and the field generally requires a huge commitment to earn the necessary training and specialized skills needed to advance.

As medical doctors, pediatricians are subject to some of the most demanding educational and training requirements of all professions. According to information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, future pediatricians can count on spending four years in school to earn a bachelor's degree, four years in medical school and at least three years in a residency program before they can practice medicine. While it isn't required to earn a pre-med degree as an undergrad, many medical schools encourage candidates to take classes in chemistry, biology, mathematics and English before applying. The first two years of medical school will likely be spent in the classroom or laboratory, according to the BLS. The final years of the program usually include internships offering opportunities for hands-on care. After completing medical school, future pediatricians will spend a minimum of three years as a resident, gaining specialized skills.


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