Pediatric Radiology: a unique career choice 

Radiologists who have chosen careers in pediatric radiology tend to be 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 why it might be the ideal career choice for you.) In 2006, we invited SPR members to comment on their careers. Their words remain true today.  Listen and watch here.  

1. Employment Opportunities:

There is a national shortage of pediatric radiologists. Pediatric radiology jobs are abundantly available in all regions of the United States and even in Canada.  Increasing clinical volumes, the expectation that over 1/3 of current practicing pediatric radiologists will retire in the next decade, and increasing demand by physicians for subspecialty reads in non-academic settings have all contributed to the enhanced need for more 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: Demand for pediatric radiologists is high in all types of practice settings (academic, private, hybrid community-academic, and even teleradiology). 

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.  Furthermore, the demand for pediatric radiologists in teleradiology jobs is also high and allows for the flexibility to work from anywhere in the country.

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. Being able to read all of these modalities also affords us a lot of variety in our daily practices so we never get bored.  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.  In addition, many private practices and hybrid practices may want a pediatric radiologist who is able to help read adult studies allowing for the ability to keep those skillsets current.

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 like to work with children and 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. In 2020, the Society for Pediatric Radiology has ~2000 members; most in North America, but also from every corner of the world.  You come to know the familiar faces at national meetings and develop many long-lasting friendships.  Another benefit of being a smaller radiology organization is that there are ample opportunities to get involved through committee membership both as trainee members and as active members.  Through committee work, pediatric radiologists can help make meaningful and impactful decisions not only for the radiology community for the pediatric community.  We also work with other organizations to make health policy recommendations, such as through our work with the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Radiology.  Less seriously, but still important: the SPR Annual Meeting features the best dance party in medicine. 
 

 6. The Joy of Helping Children:

Probably the most important factor is the satisfaction of working for and helping children. The impact of our work literally lasts a life-time.

A high percentage of children get better with our help.  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 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.

Conclusion

We hope this information is helpful in your consideration of Pediatric Radiology as a career choice.  If you want to know more, have any questions, or want to talk to a pediatric radiologist, please write to us at spr@acr.org

Information on specific pediatric radiology fellowship training programs is available through the ACGME HERE.   

 

Required Reading

More. . .

  • 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, contrast-enhanced ultrasound and voiding urosonography, PET/CT and PET/MRI, 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.  Additional fellowship years are available at some programs for further subspecialization in musculoskeletal radiology, neuroradiology, cardiovascular imaging, and interventional radiology.
  • The American Board of Radiology offers a Certificate of Added Qualification in Pediatric Radiology.  There are two methods to be eligible for a CAQ in Pediatric Radiology: completing an ACGME-accredited fellowship and the alternate pathway to subspecialty certification.  For more info.
  • 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 subspecialty organization in radiology.