How Long Does it Take to Become a Pediatrician

Whether or not youíve really looked into the prospect of becoming a pediatrician, you probably already know that medical school is quite the endeavor. The exact amount of time that it takes to become a pediatrician depends on many different factors, but for most students, eight years of schooling after high school followed by a residency that lasts at least three years is the norm.

High School

In order to become a pediatrician, it is important that you graduate from high school so that you can attend the college or university of your choice. Though there are some high schools that will allow you the opportunity to graduate a semester or perhaps even a year early, it is generally best to attend all four years and to be sure that your courses and electives are all geared toward healthcare. Courses in anatomy, biology, physics, chemistry and more can all be a serious boon, and itís important to take the time to learn as much as you can. This way, your college experience will be a simpler and easier one.


In order to be accepted into medical school, you will need to obtain a four-year degree in a medical field from an accredited college or university. A bachelorís degree is needed, whether you choose a BS in Physics, Biology, or perhaps even Chemistry. Remember that each of these degrees will take the same amount of time to obtain, and you can often customize your courses into a ďpre-medĒ program that will allow you to get the most for your money. In general, students cannot graduate early from these programs, but some exceptions do apply for those who are unusually gifted.

Medical School

After you have earned your Bachelorís degree, the next step in your education is medical school. After you have taken and passed the MCAT exam, youíll go on to study for another four years in the medical school of your choice. Many colleges and universities offer pre-med and medical programs that go hand-in-hand, so this is something to consider when you are considering your school. Whatís more, you can often receive a monetary discount if you take your pre-med and med programs in the same place.


The only part of a pediatricianís education that fluctuates in terms of the time it takes to complete is the residency. Youíll need three years of hands-on experience in order to receive your pediatricianís license and certification, but if you choose a subspecialty, youíll need even more. Here, you might choose to participate in another two-year residency that focuses on your chosen subspecialty, but the opportunity to participate in a fellowship that lasts ten years or more may also exist.

All in all, the time it takes to become a pediatrician is at least 11 years following high school, though more time may be needed if you want to specialize in a field such as pediatric surgery or oncology. Though this is a long time, remember that you will start earning a salary once you have graduated medical school and started your residency.