Medical Jobs Working with Kids

If you love kids and have a soft spot in your heart for working with children, the healthcare field offers a variety of professions at all levels of education, training, and compensation. Learn more about the broad range of careers in pediatric areas of healthcare.

Specialize in a Pediatric Field

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If you know you want to work with children before you even begin your healthcare training, one of the best ways to target a career working with children is to specialize in a pediatric field of study. Pediatrics is the medical specialty that focuses solely on the care and treatment of children, usually under the age of 18, or sometimes up to age 21.

For example, if you know you want to be a dentist, you could specialize in pediatric dentistry. Or, if you want to become a physician, you could apply for residencies in pediatrics, to become a pediatrician. There are many other pediatric specialties for physicians such as pediatric surgery, pediatric cardiology, and more.

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Among physicians who provide pediatric care, there is an initial division between newborn care—provided by specialized pediatricians called neonatologists—and regular pediatric care. The two groups are further divided into surgical and non-surgical specialties. A child with congenital heart problems, for example, might have both a pediatric cardiac surgeon and pediatric internist. Finally, pediatric care is divided into care for physical issues, such as illness or injury, and mental health care, which is provided by pediatric and adolescent psychiatrists.

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Work in a Children's Hospital

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Even if you didn't specialize in a pediatric field, you may be able to obtain a job in a children's hospital. Some careers at a children's hospital may require a pediatric background, but others may not, such as some nurses, medical assistants, and technologists.

Medical Jobs in Schools

school nurse putting bandage on girl's elbow
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Obtaining a job in a school setting is another great way to work with children. There are a number of medical professionals often needed in school systems to help work with students, including:

Mental Health

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Children’s mental health is just as important as their physical health. Some serious mental health problems, such as bipolar disorder or conditions such as ADHD, tend to appear in childhood. Psychiatrists are physicians who specialize in the treatment of mental health; child and adolescent psychiatrists apply specialized knowledge of normal child development to the treatment and management of child mental health disorders. Psychologists may also treat mental health issues, although they cannot prescribe medications. They may also administer intelligence, personality and psychological tests to children and adolescents.

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Just about any health career that is discussed here on this site has a pediatric counterpart, or at least a pediatric component. Some fields are more focused on the specialty of pediatrics than others. Therefore, before you specialize in a pediatric career that will limit you solely to working with children, make sure that is absolutely the only thing you will ever want to do.

Once you become a pediatrician (physician), for example, you will be working with kids forever, unless you go back to medical residency training.

If you think you may need some more flexibility, you may want to go into nursing or another more open, or general health profession (one without a specific pediatric focus) and then gain some clinical experience or additional training in pediatrics, so that you can work with both children and adults.

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