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How do I Become a Pediatric Rheumatologist?

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  • Written By: D. Jeffress
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 18 November 2016
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Pediatric rheumatologists are specialists who treat infants, children, and adolescents with joint problems. They apply their expert knowledge of disease pathology to help young patients with a vast range of autoimmune disorders and injuries. A person who wants to become a pediatric rheumatologist must complete medical school, a three-year residency in pediatrics, and an additional two- to three-year fellowship in the specialty. Intensive training is necessary to prepare a doctor for board certification tests to officially be considered a pediatric rheumatologist.

Before entering medical school, a person generally needs to complete a four-year undergraduate program. A student who wants to become a pediatric rheumatologist can choose to major in biology or a health science subject with a concentration on premedical studies. Many undergraduates apply for internships at local hospitals or doctor's offices as medical aides to gain firsthand experience dealing with patients. Near the end of a bachelor's degree program, a student can take written admissions test and send in application materials to accredited medical schools.

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Competition to get into medical school is usually strong, and colleges prefer applicants who have strong grades, recommendation letters, and reasons for wanting to pursue degrees. Once accepted, a student can meet with advisers and instructors to determine which classes will best help him or her become a pediatric rheumatologist. Core lecture and lab classes involve studying disease pathology, organic chemistry, pharmacology, and professional techniques. Additional courses in pediatric care, child psychology, and rheumatism are important for a future specialist. Many schools allow students to participate in rotating internships at hospitals so they can observe physicians in many different divisions of patient care.

With a doctor of medicine degree, a graduate can apply for a three year pediatric residency at a general or children's hospital. During residency training, a new doctor works alongside experienced pediatric physicians while sill attending classes and conducting lab research. He or she develops a strong working knowledge of how to cater medical services to young people. Diseases affect children differently than adults, so expert training is important to ensure that a doctor can provide accurate diagnoses and treatments.

A fellowship program typically follows a residency. Fellowship training provides a doctor with the chance to log several thousand hours of supervised, guided patient care. A fellow works exclusively with young people who have rheumatic disorders, such as arthritis, chronic back pain, and lupus. A successful doctor normally takes a certification exam administered by a national board to earn the right to become a pediatric rheumatologist in a hospital or private practice.

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anon260692
Post 1

I have arthritis, and I'm just a young teen. I have an 80 percent chance it will go away. I really want this job because no doctor or pediatrician could figure out what was wrong with me. It took many years.

By then I fell in love with soccer and I was good. When a doctor finally figured it out by looking at my hands, it changed everything. I couldn't play the sport I loved. We found out I have arthritis in all my joints. My joints hurt every day. The worst part was believing at could do all this stuff when I was young then suddenly finding out I can't do anything. Please donate to the arthritis foundation.

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