The Career Doctor™


I received three emails from young women interested in becoming doctors, so I am answering them together:

Dear Marilu and Mechelle:

You both asked about schooling to become a doctor. First you must apply to a college or university that has strong science programs because premedical students must complete undergraduate work in physics, biology, mathematics, inorganic and organic chemistry. Most students take a four-year undergraduate program before 4 years of medical school, but some medical schools offer a 6 year combined program.

For more information about premed education, financial aid and programs, contact the Association of American Medical Colleges, Section for Student Services, 2450 N. St., NW, Washington, DC 20037-1126 or

Dear Sue S:

You asked, "What is an outlook for pediatricians?" Since I didn't know if you meant job outlook or psychological outlook, I'll tell you both: As for job outlook, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment will grow about as fast as the average of all occupations in the country. But the Bureau cautions that demand is sensitive to changes in healthcare reimbursement if health insurance programs are cut or require higher out-of-pocket costs, people come to doctors less.

Insurance programs also affect the psychological outlook for pediatricians. These days pediatricians not only need a supportive style for children and parents and a tolerance for being on-call many nights, they must also be able to cope with the bureaucracy of HMO's and insurance companies that control most physicians' practices these days. The American Academy of Pediatrics can offer more information at

The Career Doctor


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