By Dr Ananya Mandal, MD
Training in paediatrics varies considerably across the world. However, what is common worldwide is that paediatricians begin their training with a basic medical education.
Basic medical education
This is a tertiary-level medical course undertaken at a medical school attached to a university. Such a course leads to a medical degree. This medical degree may be either undergraduate-entry or graduate-entry.
Entrants to graduate-entry courses have a course lasting four or five years. These individuals have previously completed a three- or four-year university degree commonly in sciences. This is practiced in the United States.
The basic graduate degree in medicine and surgery takes five or six years, and has been usual in the Commonwealth. The medical degree qualifies that medical practitioners become licensed or registered under the laws of that particular country, and sometimes of several countries after a year (usual duration) of mandatory internship.
There may be a period of internship with conditional registration as well. Within the US the term physician also describes holders of the Doctor of Osteopathic medicine (D.O.) degree.
After a medical degree is obtained, those aspiring to become paediatricians must undertake further training in their chosen field. This may take from four to eight or more years and degree of super specialization. The training after graduate medical degree is called a postgraduate training.
The post-graduate training for a primary care paediatrician is generally not as lengthy as for a hospital-based medical specialist. In some jurisdictions, pediatric training is begun immediately following completion of entry-level training. However, in some jurisdictions, junior medical doctors undergo generalist or non-specialized training for a number of years before starting on pediatric or any other specialization.
The specialist trainings are usually under the control of pediatric organizations and universities depending on jurisdiction.
Levels of pediatric training
The speciality training in paediatrics involves three levels of training - Paediatrics level 1, 2 and 3. After successfully completing Paediatrics Level 2 paediatricians may go on to Paediatrics Level 3 or apply to undertake a paediatric subspecialty.
Pediatric sub-specialities include:
Community child health
Paediatric clinical pharmacology and therapeutics
Paediatric critical care and Paediatric intensive care medicine
Paediatric endocrinology and diabetes
Paediatric gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition
Paediatric neurology and neurodisability
Paediatric pulmunology or respiratory diseases
Paediatric immunology, infectious diseases and allergy
Paediatric developmental disorders specialists
Paediatric emergency medicine
Reviewed by April Cashin-Garbutt, BA Hons (Cantab)