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Summary of occupation

Paediatricians provide care for children from birth to early adulthood across the health of infants, children, and teenagers. They specialise in diagnosing and treating a range of ailments including day-to-day illnesses, minor injuries and infectious diseases.

A paediatrician's day may involve emergency work dealing with life threatening conditions such as cystic fibrosis to simply comforting worried parents who have brought their child to hospital about a minor ailment.

There are approximately 79 paediatricians currently practising in Western Australia. The majority are spread across the metropolitan area however there are several located in larger regional centres.

ANZSCO description: Investigates, diagnoses and treats internal diseases and disorders in children from birth up to, and including, adolescence. Registration or licensing is required.
Alternative names:
Specialisations: Developmental and behavioural, Neonatal, Neonatologist, Paediatric haematology/oncology, Paediatric Thoracic Physician, Respiratory Medicine
Job prospects: Good
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

A paediatrician needs:

  • in depth knowledge of physiology, pathology, pharmacology and paediatric medicine and surgery
  • knowledge to diagnose and treat childhood injuries, diseases and illnesses
  • a desire to serve children (and parents) and a compassion towards others
  • to be able to engage children and gain their trust
  • to be able to handle the pressures and long hours of medical practice
  • an excellent bedside manner
  • exceptional communication skills
  • emotional stability and the self confidence to make decisions in emergencies
  • a willingness to continue to keep up with medical advances
  • to be an astute observer of the entire gamut of biopsychosocial issues affecting the children in their care
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Working conditions

Most paediatricians practice in private or public settings or in a combination of the two. They usually work at least 50 hours a week with on-call responsibilities.

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Salary details

On average, a paediatrician can expect to earn between $2 692 and $3 461 per week ($140 000 and $180 000 a year) depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience. 

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Tools and technologies

Paediatricians need to be familiar with a variety of medical tools including:

  • forceps and clamps
  • laryngoscopes (infant)
  • medical oxygen masks (neonate, infant, child)

Technologies include databases and medical software.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

To become a paediatrician, you must first become a qualified medical practitioner and then specialise in paediatrics.

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 paediatrics, doctors can apply to the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) to undertake further training 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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Related links

Related videos

Paediatrician Video Paediatrician Occupation

Paediatricians provide care for children from birth to early adulthood across the health of infants, children, and teenagers.

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