How to Become a Pediatric Surgeon

November 23

Table of Contents

Surgeons come in a wide variety of specialties within medicine. Working as a pediatric surgeon, or a surgeon specializing in treating infant, child, and adolescent patients, is a typical career choice for surgeons. 

A job as a pediatric surgeon may be ideal for you if you have an interest in medicine and enjoy dealing with children.

Becoming a pediatric surgeon is one of the most time-consuming and difficult training programs. Although being a pediatric surgeon is difficult, it is doable with dedication and may be fulfilling.

This article aims to enlighten you on how to become a pediatric surgeon if you are thinking of being one. We have also included the requirements and the qualities needed for a medical student like you to become a pediatric surgeon.

What is a Pediatric Surgeon?

A pediatrician is a physician who specializes in treating children's ailments. In contrast to pediatricians, a pediatric surgeon is qualified to operate on young patients. 

Only doctors skilled in pediatric surgery are eligible to intervene surgically in some pediatric conditions.

A pediatric surgeon is a doctor who operates on young patients, including children and adolescents. 

Pediatric surgeons finish training in specialized skills that they employ to treat young patients with complex medical disorders, such as conducting examinations on little bodies, in addition to receiving much of the same training as general surgeons or surgeons in other specialties.

A pediatric surgeon typically works at a hospital. Still, they may also be employed by an emergency room or another clinic that does operations. 

Many pediatric surgical offices feature rooms with toys, adorable animal photos on their walls, or even children's books for reading to reduce the child's nervousness. This is because the decor of a pediatric surgical office is created in a kid-friendly manner to reduce the child's fear. 

Pediatric surgeons have specialized training to deal with issues that arise only when operating on children. They have received training to use equipment made especially for kids. 

Many healthcare facilities employ pediatric surgeons, including hospitals, university medical centers, and sizable community hospitals.

What are the Duties and Responsibilities of a Pediatric Surgeon? 

Children are seen by pediatric surgeons from birth into late adolescence. They decide to focus their medical practice on providing treatment. The specifics of treating children medically and surgically are taught through advanced training and practical experience.

If you want to become a pediatric surgeon, listed below are its duties and responsibilities for your reference:

  • Operations involving transplants
  • Appendectomies and other urgent and emergent procedures
  • Esophagogastroduodenoscopy, colonoscopy, and other endoscopic procedures
  • Surgery in children and adolescents that covers hernias, hydroceles, and undescended testes
  • Surgery to treat birth abnormalities of the esophagus, lungs, digestive system, abdominal wall, and diaphragm
  • Prenatal counseling to moms who have had their children identified with specific birth abnormalities during pregnancy
  • Management of severe injuries by surgery and non-operative means like burns, stab wounds to the liver, knife wounds, and gunshot wounds
  • Cancer diagnosis and surgical treatment, including removal of tumors from the testicles, ovaries, skin, and fat in the chest, abdomen, and other areas
  • Numerous other pediatric surgeries and operations

What are the Requirements to Become a Pediatric Surgeon?

The initial stage of training to become a pediatric surgeon is earning an undergraduate degree. 

You will take major-specific courses in addition to the general education requirements specified by the college or university.

You are strongly advised to consider majoring in science, such as biology or chemistry, or pre-medicine. Undergraduate programs typically last four years to complete.

Furthermore, you must take the MCAT and submit an application to medical school, typically during your senior year. 

The typical length of medical school is four years. The standard curriculum for a medical school combines theoretical classes and workshops with in-depth, hands-on training in a clinical setting, working with practicing doctors and patients on actual cases.

How Much Does It Cost to Become a Pediatric Surgeon? 

As with undergraduate programs, attending a public medical school is significantly less expensive than attending a private one. 

While pediatric surgeon tuition fees vary greatly between institutions, the Association of American Medical Colleges keeps statistics on the average cost of public and private medical schools. 

According to estimates, the average tuition for public in-state students was USD 53,327 per year, while the average for out-of-state students was USD 92,808

Furthermore, taking into consideration time spent in classes, labs, and clinical settings, the median four-year cost of attendance for the Class of 2020 ranged from USD 255,517 to USD 337,584

Tuition, fees, housing, board, books, and supplies are all included in the cost of attendance, which is a more thorough estimate of spending.

It should be noted that the cost of becoming a pediatric surgeon varies from one medical school to the next. 

However, the overall cost would be the same as mentioned above. We also recommend that you check with the medical school you intend to attend.

How to Become a Pediatric Surgeon? 

Since pediatric surgery is such a specialized area, there will likely always be a need for skilled professionals. 

Hence, more and more medical students want to become pediatric surgeons. 

If you are one of them, here is what you must go through in your medical school journey before becoming a pediatric surgeon.

1. Achieve a Bachelor's Degree

Obtain a bachelor's degree from a college or institution with a reputable science program. 

Although majoring in a particular subject is not needed for pediatric surgeons, many aspiring pediatric surgeons enroll in pre-med programs or concentrate on a subject like biology or biomedical science.

Additionally, you can major in a closely related field, such as social sciences, biochemistry, or organic chemistry. 

Students often study topics like physical sciences, ethics, biological science, and chemistry in pre-med bachelor's degree programs that prepare them for careers in the medical industry.

2. Enroll in Medical School

To obtain a doctorate, submit an application to medical school. 

Candidates must prepare for and pass the MCAT exam to be considered qualified to enroll in a medical school program. You can browse medical schools that offer programs you are interested in while studying for the MCAT exam.

To ensure they acquire the training they need to specialize in pediatric surgery in the future, aspiring pediatric surgeons should make sure any medical schools they apply to provide courses in pediatrics. 

Students who complete medical school may receive a Doctor of Medicine (MD) or, occasionally, a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) degree.

3. Complete General and Pediatric Surgery Residency Programs

Find general surgery and pediatric surgery residency programs, then complete both. 

To see and hone their abilities in a range of rotations, including pediatric surgery, transplantation, and vascular surgery, aspiring pediatric surgeons first enroll in a general surgery residency. 

These courses instruct students in fundamental surgical techniques and protocols and often take five years to finish.

Candidates can undergo a pediatric surgery-focused residency after completing a general surgery residency. This can allow students to learn more about pediatric surgery and the procedures and surgeries that go along with working in the field. Residency programs in pediatric surgery typically last two years.

4. Become a Certified and Licensed Pediatric Surgeon

Submit an application for the certification and license needed to work as a pediatric surgeon. Doctor of Medicine holders in surgery typically pass the US Medical Licensing Examination to get licensed. 

The Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination is the route by which someone with a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree can become certified.

Even though certification is optional for surgeons, many pediatric surgeons pursue it since it can improve their credentials and raise their chances of landing a job. 

Pediatric surgeons can become certified by taking and passing the Pediatric Surgery Qualifying and Certifying Exam

5. Apply for a Job as a Pediatric Surgeon 

Look for pediatric surgery job vacancies and apply to those that suit your professional objectives. 

Reaching out to the facilities where you finish your residencies to inquire about potential employment possibilities might be a fantastic place to start your job hunt because you are likely already familiar with their operations and employees.

Additionally, you can speak with other medical professionals about any pediatric surgeon job vacancies they may be aware of. 

Using a job search website or searching for job listings online are other options for finding career prospects for pediatric surgeons.

Important Qualities Needed to Be a Pediatric Surgeon

As a pediatric surgeon, your workload will be pretty diverse and occasionally erratic, and it will involve doing surgeries, going to outpatient clinics, doing hospital rounds, and caring for your young patients and their families.

Therefore, for you to become a pediatric surgeon, you must possess the following skills and qualities:

  • A significant level of dexterity with the hands
  • Diagnostic and problem-solving capabilities
  • Physical endurance to meet the requirements of surgery
  • Capacity to handle stress and work successfully under duress
  • A sincere desire to aid youngsters and improve their quality of life
  • Ability to lead multidisciplinary teams and the value of teamwork
  • Excellent eyesight, hand-eye coordination, and spatial awareness
  • Superior control over time and resources for the benefit of patients
  • Exceptional organizational skills and strong decision-making abilities
  • Emotional fortitude, a peaceful demeanor, and the capacity to function successfully under pressure
  • Ability to handle a variety of relationships with coworkers, patients, and their families through outstanding communication skills

How Much Do Pediatric Surgeons Make?

In the United States, the average annual compensation for surgeons, including pediatric surgeons, is currently USD 487,000, a competitive wage. 

Most pediatric surgeons are also eligible for benefits beyond their salary, including loan repayment plans, malpractice insurance, and health insurance.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that from 2021 to 2031, there may be a 3% increase in the number of surgeons working, including pediatric surgeons. They view this growth rate as typical. 

The bureau attributes this expansion to new technical advancements enabling doctors and surgeons to treat more patients and a rise in the number of people requiring medical care.

Additional FAQs – How to Become a Pediatric Surgeon

How Much Does It Cost to Become a Pediatric Surgeon? 

Depending on the kinds of schools you attend, the cost of becoming a pediatric surgeon varies greatly. Any medical specialization comes with a hefty price tag if you want to pursue a career in it. 

However, according to data, the average annual cost of medical school in the US is USD 60,497. If you attend an in-state university, you might get away with paying lesser tuition costs.

How Long Will It Take Me to Become a Pediatric Surgeon?

The particular degree programs, institutions, and program structures the student selects will determine how long it will take them to become a pediatric surgeon.

Typically, it takes 11 to 15 years to become a pediatric surgeon if a student completes a typical 4-year bachelor's degree program, 4-year medical school program, 2- to 5-year general surgery residency, and 1- to 2-year pediatric surgery residency.

How Do Pediatric Surgeons Diagnose Children?

Children are not simply small adults. They frequently struggle to express their concerns. Sometimes, they can't respond to medical queries. And they cannot always be kind and understanding when conducting a medical examination.

Pediatric surgeons are skilled in examining and caring for youngsters in a way that puts them at ease. Pediatric surgeons work in spaces and with tools that are kid-specific. 

Additionally, they have much knowledge and experience in looking after children's needs. This involves caring for the distinct and sporadic surgical diseases that strike kids.

Pediatric surgeons have received comprehensive training and have experience treating children with surgical diseases.

You're no longer alone on your journey to becoming a physician

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