Do you love working with children, assisting people, and having an interest in medicine? If so, a career as a Pediatrician might be perfect for you.
The paediatrician is a medical practitioner providing specialist medical services to children from birth to adolescence. They examine, diagnose and treat illnesses and disorders in children and offer health advice to parents.
To become a paediatrician in Australia, you need a Medical Doctor qualification, Registration with the Medical Board of Australia, and specialist Pediatric training and fellowship with the Royal Australasian College of Physicians.
Understanding this profession and the exact entrance requirements is helpful before committing to a career. This blog discusses what a Pediatrician is, their daily duties, essential personal attributes, average salary, employment prospects, and how you can become one in Australia.
1. What Is A Paediatrician?
Paediatrician is a medical doctor who treats various ailments, injuries, and conditions in infants, children, and teens that affects their physical, behavioural, and mental development.
Some of these include:
Genetic disorders such as Down syndrome and Cystic Fibrosis
Acute ailments such as diabetes
Disabilities like Cerebral Palsy
Infectious diseases like Meningitis
Autism spectrum disorder
2. Pediatrician's Duties
Listen to the concerns of parents and answer their queries.
Provide care for the mental, physical, and emotional well-being of children
Perform lab tests and diagnostic procedures to determine the patient's medical condition
Analyse test reports and other medical information to diagnose the condition
Prescribe and administer treatments such as medications, remedial treatments, therapies, and vaccination to treat different types of disorders, injuries, or illnesses
Write prescriptions and recommend them to specialist healthcare practitioners when required.
Educate parents and caregivers about proper care, disease management, and hygiene
Maintain patient's medical records
Report specified infectious diseases to government health and immigration authorities
Discuss with other medical specialists about the best treatment for a medical condition
May admit patients to hospitals.
Examine and treat newborns and manage the treatment of premature babies.
Perform regular checkups to track the child's emotional, physical, and social development.
3. Pediatrician Skills
Is this the right profession for you? Here are the most common skills that successful paediatricians have:
Excellent people skills
Physical and mental stamina
Leadership and Organisational skills
Able to remain calm in a high-pressure environment
Don't worry if you don't have most of these skills. You can find several courses and training programs that can help develop/refine these skills and prepare you for this role.
4. What Tools And Technologies Do Paediatricians Use?
As an aspiring paediatrician, you need to be familiar with various medical tools, including:
Forceps and clamps
Medical oxygen masks (neonate, infant, child)
5. Pediatrician Qualification In Australia
A paediatrician generally requires a medical degree and postgraduate training to become certified. Here are the steps to qualify for this role:
Complete a six-year full-time accredited medical degree such as a Bachelor of Medical Studies / Doctor of Medicine. Those with an undergraduate degree in another discipline, such as a Bachelor of Arts, Design, Commerce, Philosophy (Honours), or Science, can consider completing a postgraduate Doctor of Medicine to qualify as a doctor.
Complete a 1-year internship program to build professional skills and industry experience
Register as a Medical Practitioner with the Medical Board of Australia.
Apply to the Royal Australasian College of Physicians for three years of Basic Pediatrics and Child Health training.
Complete a supervised three years of full-time Advanced Training in a Pediatric discipline such as general paediatrics, pediatric emergency medicine, pediatric rehabilitation medicine, or pediatric cardiology. It prepares you to run your independent practice as a Consultant.
Successful trainees who completed basic and advanced training get admitted to the Royal Australasian College of Physicians Fellowship.
Have a Working with Children Check from the Department of Communities and a National Police Certificate to work as a qualified Pediatrician in Australia.
6. Steps To Become A Pediatrician In Australia
If you like the work profile and have the necessary skills, the next step is finding out how to become a paediatrician from high school.
Step 1: Complete A Bachelor Degree In Medicine
As paediatricians are a specific type of doctor, they need a medical degree from an accredited Australian university to work in the field.
Recent high-school graduates can study for an undergraduate "Doctor of Medicine" degree. Entry into this qualification depends on the below criteria:
Your score on University Clinical Aptitude Test
Your score in universities-led oral assessments or interview
However, a test checks mature-age students' entry qualifications. The GAMSAT is a standardised exam that evaluates the capabilities of the candidate.
Following reputed universities offer relevant courses to pursue a Pediatrician course in Australia:
Bachelor of Medical Studies - The University of Adelaide
The Medical program at the University of Adelaide has a 6-year full-time duration that leads to the Bachelor of Medical Studies and Doctor of Medicine.
High school graduates can gain admission to this course and continue with a Doctor of Medicine course.
Doctor of Medicine - The University of Western Australia
Doctor of Medicine - The University of Sydney
Step 2: Become A Registered Medical Practitioner
Graduates with a Bachelor of Medicine must complete an internship in a public hospital to gain practical post-degree experience.
Once you complete the training, you can apply for registration with the Medical Board of Australia. All qualified people must maintain their medical registration throughout their careers.
Step 3: Complete Specialised Training In General Paediatrics
Now that you have become a Medical doctor, you need to apply to the Royal Australasian College of Physicians to become a paediatrician. You must undertake three years of full-time Basic Training in Paediatrics & Child Health. It is the start of the minimum 6-year training program.
RACP training is an opportunity to gain practical paediatrics experience while interacting with patients and learning from experienced professionals. Follow it up with 3-years of full-time Advanced pediatric training in various clinical settings.
After completing the six years of training, you gain the Royal Australasian College of Physicians Fellowship. It recognises your specialist training in Pediatrics and your competency in a paediatrician role.
With this certification, you can apply for paediatrician jobs at a hospital or clinic or run your independent practice as a paediatrician. It is mandatory to meet the requirements of a Continuing Professional Development program every year to keep your registration active.
7: Steps To Become A Pediatrician Assistant In Australia
Step 1: Complete a Bachelor's degree in physician assistant, behavioural Science, or biological Science.
Step 2: Gain hands-on clinical experience, preferably paid, in a role related to your undergraduate degree or medical training. Knowing the following areas will boost your career prospects:
Emergency medical technician
Step 3: Complete an Accredited Physician Assistant Program or a 2-year relevant Master's degree program.
Many medical schools, universities, community colleges, and hospitals offer this program. It comprises 1-year classroom learning and 1-year of clinical training in a range of areas, such as:
Stages of life
Step 4: Depending on your state/territory requirements, you may need to fulfil licensing and other requirements. Check with your state/territory to learn about the same and get certified to work in this role.
8. Pediatrician Courses In Australia
To know how to become a paediatrician in Queensland, consider completing an Online/Distance (1 year) Graduate Certificate in Paediatric Nursing course at Griffith University.
It enables registered nurses to develop specialist skills and advanced knowledge in a pediatric nursing environment. Alternatively, consider completing a Graduate Certificate in Paediatric Nursing Studies at the Australian College of Nursing.
It is a 1-Year Part-time course that is delivered online. So, those who want to know how to become a paediatrician in Melbourne can consider taking this course.
9. How Long Does It Take To Become A Pediatrician In Australia?
You need to invest substantial time in formal education and training to become a qualified Pediatrician.
The learning pathway includes:
Six years of full-time accredited medical degree like a Bachelor of Medical Studies / Doctor of Medicine
One or 2-year internship and residency program
At least six years of training with the Royal Australasian College of Physicians
So, it takes at least 13 years for high school graduates to become pediatricians. Some paediatricians spend another 2 to 6 years training to subspecialise in this field.
10. How Much Do Pediatricians Earn In Australia?
PayScale says the average paediatrician salary in Australia is AU$98,970 per year.
The compensation depends on the industry, work location, experience, and specialisation. The starting paediatrician salary may be lower than the average salary but increases with experience.
Based On Experience:
Early career General Paediatricians (1-4 years of experience): AU$99,850 p.a.
Mid-career General Paediatricians (5-9 years of experience): AU$147,395 p.a.
Highest Paying Cities For Paediatricians
NSW South Coast NSW: $300,000 per year
Canberra ACT: $210,127 per year
Bega NSW: $199,034 per year
Illawarra NSW: $184,962 per year
Sydney NSW: $172,469 per year
Brisbane QLD: $144,853 per year
Townsville QLD: $144,853 per year
11. Work Conditions For Pediatricians
Most paediatricians work in either private or public settings or a combination of both.
Some work in small practices, while others work in larger hospitals as part of a team, including physiotherapists, General Practitioners, social workers, nurses, and other related health professionals.
They usually work traditional business hours in a clinical setting or medical office. However, they may even work after hours with on-call responsibilities when dealing with emergencies.
As the work involves working in emergency care units in child hospitals, Pediatricians often work in stressful situations.
12. Where Does A Pediatrician Work?
Paediatricians work in various fields, such as clinical medicine, research, education, population health, etc.
They provide care to infants, children, and teenagers in surgical wards or emergency units, public, and private children's hospitals, community health centres, maternity units, special care baby units, neonatal intensive care units, and clinics.
After gaining experience, a few start their small practice and work with a team of pediatric nurses and administration staff to assist in the operations.
13. Areas Of Specialisation
Aspiring general paediatricians can undertake further medical school training, internships, and residencies in infant, child, and adolescent care.
Popular Specialisations in this profession include neonatologists and Paediatric Thoracic Physicians.
According to the University of Sydney, you can consider subspecialising in the following areas:
Clinical Immunology/ Allergy
Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine
Community Child Health
Occupational and Environmental Medicine
Paediatric Emergency Medicine
Public Health Medicine
Rehabilitation Medicine (Paediatric)
Respiratory Medicine and Sleep Medicine
14. What Subjects Are Needed To Become A Pediatrician In Australia?
To become a Pediatrician, you must complete a Year 12 or undergraduate degree in chemistry, high-level mathematics, physics, biology, and English. Studying these subjects will help you achieve your career goal.
When undertaking medical degree courses, Pediatrics attend lectures and lab work in subjects like physiology, anatomy, biochemistry, pharmacology, behavioural Science, and pathology.
The University of Western Australia offers Undergraduate courses to become a Paediatrician. Here are the recommended major/s to pursue this career:
Aboriginal Health and Wellbeing
Anatomy and Human Biology
Exercise and Health
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Indigenous Knowledge History and Heritage
Microbiology and Immunology
Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
15. Job Prospects Of Pediatricians In Australia
The rising number of deaths due to malnutrition, diseases, premature birth, intrapartum complications, and infectious disorders every year contributes to the growth of the pediatric healthcare market.
Additionally, the rise in government funding to perform research on technological progressions will lead to therapies expected to drive the pediatric job market growth over the coming years.
Many states in Australia have reported a shortage of doctors in certain specialities, such as pediatric surgery. Thus, there is a higher scope for job growth in rural regions. The demand for paediatricians is likely to remain stable over the next decade.
ANZSCO Occupation Group: 253321 Paediatricians
Around 78% of employed Paediatricians work full-time for 49 hours per week. (Average of all jobs: 44 hours per week)
Health Care And Social Assistance: 97.7%
Public Administration And Safety: 1.4%
Education And Training: 0.6%
Professional, Scientific, And Technical Services: 0.2%
Other Industries: 0.2%
Percentage of Employment across Australia
New South Wales: 31.5%
South Australia: 6.5%
Western Australia: 11.9%
Northern Territory: 1.5%
Australian Capital Territory: 1.6%
The Distribution of Paediatricians Is Heavier In Specific Regions of the Most Populated States, such as:
Perth - Inner
Melbourne - Inner
Sydney - Hornsby and North Sydney
Adelaide - Central and Hills
Brisbane Inner City
Worker's Profile - Age and Gender
Average Age of Employed Professionals: 41 years (mostly between 35 and 44 years) (All jobs average: 40 years)
Female Share: 60% (All jobs average: 48 years)
Paediatricians focus on improving the health and well-being of children.
Though the professional journey is long and tedious, it is a good investment in your future.
The skills and knowledge you gain ensure better patient health and help in career progression leading to opportunities in specialist nursing, management, and clinical education roles.
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