Pediatric Colleges | Pediatrics Degrees | Pediatrics Training

Pediatricians are physicians who specialize in treating illness and disease in children and adolescents. To become a pediatrician, students must complete medical school and a residency program in pediatric medicine. Pediatric education is available at medical schools across the country, including Ohio State University, University of Minnesota and University of Florida.

How Do I Become a Pediatrician?

Job Overview

Pediatricians are physicians, or medical doctors, who specialize in the care of children, infants, teenagers and young adults. In addition to the diagnosis and treatment of diseases that are unique to young people, pediatricians focus on tracking and promoting healthy growth toward adulthood. Like other physicians, they may work in hospitals, clinics, private offices or other healthcare facilities.

Education and Training

Undergraduates who are considering becoming pediatricians will need to complete a pre-medical curriculum. This can be accomplished through many different bachelor's degree programs, although students may choose to focus on science areas such as biology or chemistry.

After earning the bachelor's degree, aspiring pediatricians go to medical school just like any other type of physician. This typically includes four years of education in medical school followed by at least three years of residency training in a pediatric hospital.

Medical students typically don't specialize until their third and fourth years, but many medical programs offer pre-clinical pediatric studies for first and second year students who are considering the field. During the third year students often complete a series of pediatric clerkships or internships, which include short-term rotations through several different pediatric care settings. Fourth year medical students may have the opportunity to complete longer internships and elective student rotations in the field of pediatrics.

Students get most of their pediatric-specific training during their residencies, which begin after graduating from medical school. This is typically a paid position in the pediatrics department at a hospital or other healthcare setting. Students may stay in one residency for three or more years or complete several shorter residencies at different facilities. In addition to learning more about general pediatrics, residents have the opportunity to specialize even further in areas such as infant care, child oncology or pediatric surgery.


To practice as a licensed physician in the U.S., all doctors must pass the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) after graduating from medical school. Pediatricians must also take a board certification exam from the American Board of Pediatricians (ABP) after completing their residencies ( In addition to the general pediatrics certification, the ABP offers exams in subspecialties such as pediatric emergency medicine, pediatric infectious diseases or pediatric cardiology.

Many pediatricians also choose to participate in the ABP's maintenance of certification (MOC) program. Although it is not currently required for practicing pediatricians, many state regulating agencies and insuring companies have started to recognize the importance of the program for continuing medical education and certification of competency for pediatricians.

The Largest Colleges and Universities Offering Programs in Pediatric Medicine

School NameTotal Student EnrollmentLocation
Ohio State University-Main Campus55,014Columbus, Ohio
University of Minnesota-Twin Cities51,659Minneapolis, Minnesota
University of Florida50,691Gainesville, Florida
Michigan State University47,071East Lansing, Michigan
University of Washington45,943Seattle, Washington
New York University43,404New York, New York
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor41,674Ann Arbor, Michigan
University of Wisconsin-Madison41,654Madison, Wisconsin
University of South Florida-Main Campus40,022Tampa, Florida
Florida State University39,785Tallahassee, Florida
Florida International University39,610Miami, Florida
University of Arizona38,767Tucson, Arizona
University of California-Los Angeles38,550Los Angeles, California
Temple University36,507Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Virginia Commonwealth University32,172Richmond, Virginia
Wayne State University31,786Detroit, Michigan
University of California-Davis31,247Davis, California
University of Missouri-Columbia31,237Columbia, Missouri
University of Cincinnati-Main Campus31,134Cincinnati, Ohio
Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis30,383Indianapolis, Indiana

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