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Health Careers Working with Children

Children often require their own specialized care to handle issues that are specific to their age and small size. We explore a few of the available health careers that involve working closely with children.

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Career Options in Health that Involve Working with Children

Many health careers offer an option to specialize working with a particular group of people, including children. These jobs range from treating children for illnesses and injuries to delivering infants to helping children develop speech. For those in the health field who are interested in working with children, we have compiled a handful of job options in different areas of specialty that work with these young patients.

Job Title Median Salary (2016)* Job Growth (2014-2024)*
Pediatricians $168,990 10%
Nurse Midwives $99,770 25%
Registered Nurses $68,450 16%
Physical Therapists $85,400 34%
Speech-Language Pathologists $74,680 21%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Career Information for Health Careers that Involve Working with Children

Pediatricians

An obvious health career that specializes in working with children is that of a pediatrician. These physicians are specifically trained to diagnose and treat illnesses, injuries and other conditions that are common to young people, as well as checking for proper development. They can work with infants up through young adults, and they may further specialize in areas such as pediatric surgery or chronic conditions common in children. They also provide basic care for these patients, like vaccinations and yearly exams. Pediatricians complete 4 years of medical school after college and must complete a residency program in pediatrics.

Nurse Midwives

A nurse midwife is considered an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN), and although they do not work with children of all ages, they specialize in caring for women and their newborns. They provide women with basic health care and prenatal care, and they help deliver babies. They may be the baby and mother's primary care providers for a while. They are also trained to handle emergency situations during birth, such as hemorrhaging and caesarian births. APRNs need a license and at least a master's degree in their specific field, though a doctorate is increasingly the standard. They must also pass a national certification exam.

Registered Nurses

Registered nurses (RNs) provide patient care and may specialize in working with children. They may further specialize in specific areas of medicine that focus on children, such as pediatric oncology, which is working with children who have cancer. RNs administer medication, observe patients, update medical records and monitor medical equipment. They may also explain to children and their families about the child's medical condition, treatment plan and what to do at home concerning their condition once they are released from the medical facility. All RNs must have a valid license, but education varies. They may hold a diploma, associate's or bachelor's degree.

Physical Therapists

Physical therapists work with injured or ill patients of all ages to help them alleviate pain and/or improve movement through exercises, stretches, hands-on therapies and more. Although children do not usually need these services as often as adults, physical therapists may work with children who have been involved in accidents and are suffering from various injuries, or who have developmental issues with various parts of their bodies. They work closely with physicians to review medical histories, observe their patients and then develop a treatment plan. They may adjust the treatment plan based on a patient's progress and needs. Physical therapists have to have a state license and a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree.

Speech-Language Pathologists

Speech-language pathologists may specialize in working with children to help them improve their speech and/or swallowing capabilities. These professionals diagnose, treat and work to prevent communication issues in children with autism, cleft palates, hearing loss, developmental delays and other conditions. They develop an individualized treatment plan for each patient and work with their families to cope with their condition. They use various exercises to help patients strengthen muscles, make sounds, improve fluency problems and more. Speech-language pathologists need a license to work with patients, and they usually have at least a master's degree in the field.

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