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You probably see a pediatrician at least once a year. Pediatricians do regular checkups and treat kids for things like colds and rashes. They give shots and teach healthy habits. They even do weird things such as pull bugs and Legos out of toddlers’ ears. What does it take to be a pediatrician? TIME for Kids spoke to two experts to find out.
Jaclyn Dovico used to be a banker. But she decided the job wasn’t right for her. So she went back to school to become a pediatrician. She has been one for more than five years now.
She says people who want to become pediatricians should love being around kids and families. Pediatricians take care of kids from just after birth until adulthood. “I get to be part of all of the families that I treat,” Dr. Dovico says. “I experience all the joy and milestones , and sometimes heartaches too. But that’s what makes it so rewarding.”
Dr. Johanna Rodriguez-Toledo knew she wanted to be a pediatrician since she was 12. She grew up in Puerto Rico, and was the first person in her family to graduate college. She now lives and works in Southern California.
Want to be a pediatrician? Be prepared to work hard, Dr. Rodriguez-Toledo says. Pediatricians often spend at least 11 years in school before they can practice . “You have to read a lot and put in a lot of hours,” she says. “But even though it’s hard work, it’s worth it to make a difference.”
Where to Start
There are things that future doctors can do now to prepare for the job. Spend time with kids. Take science classes at school. Practice good study skills. Learning to speak a second language is helpful too. Doctors who know more than one language can connect with people who don’t know English well. Dr. Rodriguez-Toledo notes that speaking Spanish has helped her treat families from countries such as Mexico, the Dominican Republic, and Argentina.