Pediatric Radiology: a Rewarding Career Choice
Radiologists who have chosen careers in pediatric radiology tend to be very happy with their career choice and enthusiastic about their work. Read on for some of the reasons why you might be right for pediatric radiology (and it might be the ideal career choice for you).
1. Employment Opportunities:
By all accounts, there is a national shortage of pediatric radiologists. Pediatric radiology jobs are abundantly available in all regions of the United States and almost in every city. In the spring of 2005, it was estimated that there were approximately 117 open job positions in the North America. Only 25 - 30 pediatric radiology fellows graduate per year in the USA, but clinical volumes continue to increase, and with the retirement rate for pediatric radiologists, there will continue to be plenty of job opportunities for the foreseeable future. It is a GREAT time to be a pediatric radiologist looking for a job.
2. High Variety of Job Types:
Unlike some of the other radiology subspecialties where positions are typically either purely private practice or purely university based academic jobs, there is a broader spectrum in the practice of pediatric radiology. Many private practice groups hire pediatric radiologists to meet the needs of the children they serve. There are academic pediatric radiology positions in both university hospital pediatric radiology divisions as well as in freestanding Children's Hospitals. There is an enormous need for purely clinical pediatric radiologists, clinician-educators, and researchers. In addition, there are hybrid positions - where private radiology groups at a Children's Hospitals assist in the teaching of residents and in reporting on non-funded research.
3. The General Specialist:
Being able to have an adequate command of knowledge in all the radiology subspecialties is a daunting task for general radiologists. However, many trainees are hesitant to pick a radiology subspecialty for fear of either losing skills outside that area or not being able to participate in modalities or anatomic areas outside their sub-specialty. Pediatric radiologists are very much sub-specialists in the sense that they deal with a very finite, defined, and manageable area of radiology knowledge. At the same time, pediatric radiologists are generalists in the sense that they get to deal with most if not all imaging modalities and anatomic areas. Many pediatric radiologists enjoy getting the best of both worlds. It is also possible to be become a sub-sub-specialist with expertise in a specific area of pediatric radiology such as pediatric neuroradiology or pediatric interventional radiology.
4. Nice People:
The pediatric subspecialties do not have a tendency to attract aggressive, power-hungry people. Most of the people who work in pediatric subspecialties, and like to work with children, tend to be compassionate, thoughtful, and (honestly) nice. Even most of the surgeons are nice! There also tends to be a very high-level of enthusiasm and dedication at pediatric care facilities. There are fewer issues with turf battles in the pediatric radiology subspecialty areas as compared to their adult counterparts. Many pediatric radiologists find this congenial work atmosphere a major benefit of pediatric radiology.
5. Small and Tight-Knit Community:
Another attraction of pediatric radiology is that the community is relatively small. The Society for Pediatric Radiology has fewer than 1000 members in North America. You tend to come to know the familiar faces at national meetings and develop many long-lasting friendships.
6. The Joy of Working with Children:
Probably the most important thing on this list is the satisfaction of working for and with children. There are few rewards greater than helping children and their families. A high percentage of children will get better from their condition, pediatric illnesses are not self-induced, and children and families are highly appreciative of your help. In addition, the disease processes that effect children are highly varied and often very interesting. Many pediatric conditions are also being recognized as important precursors of adult morbidity and mortality related to health issues such as osteoporosis, diabetes, and obesity
Other things to know:
- Pediatric radiologists provide imaging services for patients with pediatric related diseases from fetal life to adulthood.
- Pediatric radiologists work with all imaging modalities including MRI, CT, ultrasound, PET, nuclear medicine, radiography, fluoroscopy, and also perform interventional procedures.
- Pediatric radiology is a required element in the training of all diagnostic radiologists and is one of the 10 areas of information upon which candidates are examined for certification by the American Board of Radiology.
- Pediatric Radiology Fellowship programs are generally one year in length.
- The American Board of Radiology offers a Certificate of Added Qualification in Pediatric Radiology.
- The original pediatric radiology fellowship programs are the oldest fellowships in radiology with several being in existence for over 55 years.
- The Society for Pediatric Radiology is the oldest subspcialty organization in radiology.
We hope this information is helpful to you in aids in your appreciation of Pediatric Radiology as a career choice. Information on specific pediatric radiology fellowship training programs is available at: http://www.acgme.org/adspublic/