Job Description:

Physicians who diagnose, treat, and help prevent children's diseases and injuries.

Job Category:
Health Care & Social Assistance

What you will do:

Your day-to-day will include tasks such as:

  • assessing children who are injured, ill, or a suffering from a disability
  • prescribing surgery, medication, or therapies
    explaining diagnoses to children and parents/carers, and what the next steps will be for treatment
  • planning and carrying out medical care programs to help children recover
  • referring patients to specialist consultants for tests when necessary
  • writing patient notes and medical reports
  • examining patients to see how they are responding to treatment
  • supervising and training junior medical staff


You’ll need:

  • knowledge of medicine and dentistry
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

As well as:

  • sensitivity and understanding
  • counselling skills including active listening and a non-judgemental approach
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • customer service skills
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • organisational skills & leadership skills


Restrictions and Requirements

You’ll need to pass enhanced background checks

Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a paediatrician in the United Kingdom, you will typically need to complete several years of education and training beyond your GCSEs. While there are no specific GCSE subjects that are absolutely required to become a paediatrician, you should aim to achieve strong grades in subjects that are relevant to your future medical education and career. Here are some recommended GCSE subjects:

  1. Biology: Biology is a fundamental subject for anyone aspiring to become a doctor, including a paediatrician. It covers important concepts related to the human body and will be a foundation for your future studies.
  2. Chemistry: Chemistry is another crucial subject for medical studies. It provides essential knowledge about chemical reactions, which are important in understanding the biochemical processes in the human body.
  3. Physics: Physics can be beneficial because it helps you understand principles related to mechanics, energy, and other concepts that can be applied in medical practice.
  4. Mathematics: Strong mathematical skills are important for scientific and medical studies. Mathematics will be a prerequisite for A-level sciences (biology, chemistry, and physics) and for medical school.
  5. English Language: Good communication skills are vital for any medical professional, including paediatricians. English language GCSE will help you develop your written and verbal communication skills.
  6. Additional Sciences or Additional Maths: If your school offers additional science courses or additional mathematics, consider taking them to further strengthen your scientific and mathematical knowledge.

Post School

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship.


To become a paediatrician you’ll need to complete:

  • a degree in medicine recognised by the General Medical Council
  • a 2-year foundation programme of general training
  • specialist training which takes a minimum of 8 years

A medical degree normally takes 5 years to complete. Some courses have the option to include an extra year if you want to study a subject further. This is called an intercalated year.

You might be able to study a foundation year before starting a medical degree. This will depend on your circumstances or if you have not studied enough sciences. Check with the admissions department where you want to study.

If you already have a degree, you could take a 4-year graduate entry route into medicine. There’s lots of competition and entry requirements vary, so check with the admissions department where you want to study.

Entry tests
When you apply for a course in medicine, you could be asked to take the University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT), BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT) or Graduate Medical Schools Admissions Test (GAMSAT).

They test the skills you’ll need on the course, like critical thinking, problem solving, data analysis, communication and scientific knowledge.

Work experience
Medical schools will also expect you to have some relevant paid or voluntary work experience. The British Medical Association provides information on how to find a placement.

From September 2024, you might be able to do a doctor degree apprenticeship which will take around 5 years to complete.

The apprenticeship is recognised by the General Medical Council.

You could then progress to the foundation course of general training before completing the specialist training.

You can gain valuable caring skills from volunteering in education, health, charity or social care settings. You could:

  • get advice about volunteering in the NHS
  • find volunteering opportunities through The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) and Do IT

You’ll need to register with the General Medical Council

Career tips
The General Medical Council has a guide on what it means to be a good doctor. You might find this useful when preparing for medical school interviews.

You can use online resources to find out more about the types of interviews you can expect to get into for medical school.

You could join the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and the British Medical Association for professional development and training opportunities.

Working Hours and Environment:

Most full-time paediatricians work long hours (up to 50 hours per week). You’ll also be part of an out-of-hours rota system, working some nights and weekends. You’ll spend most of your time in consulting rooms, wards, operating theatres, and special units like accident and emergency.

When assessing patients you’ll have to some important decisions without supervision, and any errors could have big consequences for their health or well-being.

You’ll occasionally have to be very close to or touch patients in order to assess them, and you’ll be expected to maintain a professional manner at all times.

Career Path & Progression:

With experience, you may go on to lead a team or manage a department.

With experience and entry on the General Medical Council (GMC) Specialist Register, you could apply for senior (or consultant) roles.

You may also progress to teaching and training students, trainee doctors and other healthcare professionals.