A person who wants to become a pediatric gastroenterologist typically spends several years on education and training. This career typically requires a college education, medical school, and residency training in pediatrics. A person who wants to become a pediatric gastroenterologist also has to participate in additional training following his residency, which focuses on gastroenterology and other branches of medicine that are important to his specialty. Once he’s completed this training, he may then have to seek certification in his field. Certification may not be necessary in some jurisdictions, however.
Pediatric gastroenterologists work with children who have problems related to the digestive system or liver. They also work with children who have nutrition-related conditions, such as problems with absorbing nutrients. Though other doctors in this field are qualified to treat children, pediatric doctors spend extra time specifically learning how to handle the needs of youthful patients.
Among the things pediatric gastroenterologists treat are lactose intolerance, bleeding of the digestive tract, and food allergies. A person in this field may also help pediatric patients with liver disease, unexplained abdominal pain, and conditions that involve the pancreas. This type of doctor is also trained to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease, obesity, and inflammatory bowel disease.
In preparation to become a pediatric gastroenterologist, a person must graduate high school or earn a General Educational Development (GED) diploma. In high school, students have the chance to take advanced coursework that may help him succeed in college. For example, he may take biology, chemistry, and anatomy courses that can provide a good scientific foundation for continued education. Algebra and pre-calculus courses can also help him prepare for the often-complex math courses he’ll take as a college undergraduate.
After high school, a person who wants to become a pediatric gastroenterologist usually spends four years in college before moving on to complete four years of medical school. Following medical school, an aspiring pediatric gastroenterologist usually completes a three-year pediatric residency, which is a period of practicing medicine under the supervision of experienced doctors. He’ll then generally have to train for three more years, focusing on gastroenterology and hepatology, which involves diseases that affect the liver.
Once an individual is ready to become a pediatric gastroenterologist, he may apply for a job at a hospital or other type of medical facility. Some new gastroenterologists decide to work for the hospitals at which they completed their residencies. Others may work with a group of other doctors in a medical office, while some may choose private practice work instead.