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Pediatrics Specialty at a Glance

Students interested in a career in pediatrics or a combined pediatrics field should take electives which will help them become a better pediatrician.

Match Statistics

Mean USMLE Step 2 CK score: 246
USMLE Step 2 CK 25th percentile: 235
USMLE Step 2 CK 75th percentile: 256.8
Average number of research experiences: 3
Average number of abstracts, presentations and publications: 4

  • Why should a student choose pediatrics?

    In pediatrics, you can impact the trajectory of a child’s life from newborn to toddler to adolescence and early adulthood. We have broad opportunities, spanning preventative counseling, procedural interventions, subspecialist expertise and community advocacy. Students should consider this specialty if you:

    • love working with families, especially children of all ages.
    • would feel comfortable setting kids up for success in their lifelong health journey.
    • are interested in navigating unique treatments for young patients.

  • Are there things students should do in Phase 1 (year 1 and 2) to prepare?

    During Phase 1, students should seek opportunities to interact with children in volunteer situations, clinically associated or shadowing opportunities, etc. Most providers are adult providers and many charities and organizations focus on adults, so it is important to seek out experiences with children. Overall, students should think about ways they can interact with children as there are so many adult interactions in medicine.

    Students may also:

    • Pursue research opportunities. One example would be participating in IMPRS during the summer between first and second year.

    • Look for leadership opportunities, like in the Pediatrics SIG (every campus has a representative), the AAP student chapter, or signing up to be an ACE representative in third year.

    • Look for opportunities to show grit and deep work in the area of pediatrics. Participation in one organization for several years rising to leadership is better than participating in several activities in a more shallow way.

  • What electives are recommended for students pursuing pediatrics?

    It is recommended to take electives that focus on disease processes that a student will see a lot of in residency such as cardiology, pulmonology, endocrinology and nephrology. Outpatient pediatrics electives are quite different from the inpatient side. We also recommend infectious disease for all specialties. Finally, many students in this path enjoy taking a med/peds outpatient elective.

  • What sub-Is are recommended for students pursuing pediatrics?

    The main sub-I that we recommend for this specialty is pediatrics.

  • Is an away rotation recommended for pediatrics?

    Most students don't do away rotations in pediatrics due to limited spots. However, it can benefit those interested in specific programs, increasing chances of interviewing and matching there. It's recommended that only students set on matching in a specific geographic area or program do away rotations.

  • How important is research? Does it have to be specific to pediatrics?

    Research and poster presentations can enhance competitiveness in pediatrics, but they're not necessary for everyone. Residency directors consider various qualities, including community service, advocacy and leadership. Quality matters more than quantity, and undergraduate research counts. It doesn't have to be pediatric-specific.

  • How long is pediatrics residency training?
    • General Pediatrics: three years

    • Med-Peds: four years

    • Triple Board (Peds, Psychiatry, Child Psychiatry): five years

  • Are there any pediatrics specific recommendations regarding letters of recommendation?

    Plan to secure three letters of recommendation: one from a pediatrician, one from a sub-I level supervisor, and one from a physician familiar with your clinical ability. If you have a research mentor and plan to continue research in residency, consider obtaining a fourth letter from them. Some pediatric residency programs may also require a chair letter, so be sure to review program application requirements carefully.

  • What are some useful resources for students considering this specialty?
    • The FREIDA database can help you identify available programs

    • The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) website can some useful information

    • The AAP also has a good podcast on career development called Pathways to Pediatrics.

  • How does career mentoring at IU School of Medicine work in pediatrics?

    The mentoring coordinator, Ellia John (, facilitates connections with available mentors within the department. If a specific mentor is desired, assistance can be provided, although specific faculty availability cannot be guaranteed.

    Phase 1 (Years 1 and 2):
    During Phase 1, students are encouraged to focus on building a strong foundation in core concepts to facilitate disease management in later phases. Addressing knowledge gaps early can alleviate stress during clerkships. Early participation in patient encounters helps refine history-taking and physical examination skills. Involvement in the Pediatric Student Interest Group and local community events enriches the understanding of pediatrics, irrespective of intended specialty.

    Phase 2 and 3 (Years 3 and 4):
    For Phase 2 and 3, students are advised to consider scheduling their pediatric sub-I early in the fourth year to secure a recommendation letter reflecting clinical readiness for residency. Alternatively, an inpatient pediatric elective can offer a similar experience. Exploring electives aligned with interests and areas for improvement, such as outpatient pediatric cardiology or diabetology, is recommended. Electives in other specialties like child psychiatry or global health can broaden understanding of pediatrics. The honors experience provides in-depth exposure to a sub-specialty through inpatient, outpatient and research components.