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Paediatric surgeon

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Summary of occupation

Paediatric surgeons are specialists that surgically treat chronic and life-threatening diseases, disorders and trauma in infants, children and adolescents. Paediatric surgeons can perform various procedures such as skin graft surgery for burns, surgery for fractured or broken bones, and surgery to correct congenital disorders. They can also perform surgery to remove cysts and cancerous tumours and to treat serious injuries.

There just under ten paediatric surgeons in Western Australia, all of whom work in the Perth metropolitan area.

ANZSCO description: Provides surgical care and treatment to children from birth up to, and including, adolescence. Registration or licensing is required.
Alternative names:
Job prospects: Limited
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

​​A paediatric surgeon needs:

  • a strong desire to help and care for infants, children and teenagers
  • attention to detail
  • excellent manual dexterity, eye-hand coordination and spatial perception
  • to maintain concentration for long periods
  • maturity, emotional strength and high ethical standards
  • excellent communication skills to provide clear information to children that is appropriate to their age.
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Working conditions

Paediatric surgeons work in public and private hospitals as surgical specialists. They may also teach and supervise students, and conduct medical research. They may be required to work long shifts, odd hours and weekends. They may be required to be on call in case of an emergency.

Paediatric surgeons operate in completely sterile theatre rooms and must wear protective clothing.

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Salary details

On average, paediatric surgeons can expect to earn between $2 885 and $7 692 per week ($150 000 and $400 000 per year), depending on the organisation they work for and their level of experience.

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Tools and technologies

​Paediatric surgeons use a range of specialised surgical instruments while operating, such as forceps, scissors, retractors, contractors, clamps and scalpels that have been modified for use on infants and children. They can also use technologies such as intraoperative MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging). They must wear sterile surgical attire while operating.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

​To become a paediatric surgeon you must first become a qualified medical doctor and then specialise in paediatric surgery.

In Western Australia, postgraduate courses in medicine are offered by the University of Notre Dame and the University of Western Australia. These degrees usually take four years to complete. Entry requirements include completion of a bachelor degree in any discipline. You must also sit the Graduate Australian Medical Schools Admissions Test (GAMSAT) and attend an interview at your chosen institution. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.

On completion of the postgraduate medical degree, you must work in the public hospital system for two years (internship and residency). To then specialise in paediatric surgery, you must register with the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) and undergo a training program at accredited hospitals, and ultimately receive fellowship.

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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