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How do I Become a Pediatric Allergist?

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  • Written By: D. Jeffress
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 13 November 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
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A pediatric allergist is a licensed medical doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of allergies in children and adolescents. A doctor has expert knowledge of developing immune systems and the factors that influence asthma and allergic reactions. An individual who wants to become a pediatric allergist is usually required to attend medical school, participate in about six years of residency training, and pass a national certification exam. After completing educational and training requirements, a doctor can become a pediatric allergist at a hospital, specialty clinic, or private practice.

An individual can begin the path to become a pediatric allergist by enrolling in a bachelor's degree program at an accredited university. Most hopeful doctors major in health or biology with a focus on premedical studies. An undergraduate usually takes several courses in anatomy, physiology, and organic chemistry to gain a fundamental understanding of the human body. Near the end of a bachelor's degree program, a student can take a standardized medical college admissions test and begin applying to accredited four-year medical schools.

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Competition for admission into medical school can be very fierce, and programs are likely to accept students who have the strongest grades, test scores, and recommendation letters. Once a person is accepted, he or she meets with professors and advisers to create a specialized degree plan. A student who wants to become an immunologist usually spends the first two years of medical school in classrooms and laboratories to gain a detailed understanding of medicine. The second half of a program involves independent study and a practical internship at a hospital.

After graduation, a new doctor usually joins a primary care pediatric residency program at a general hospital or clinic to gain experience working with young patients. A residency program typically lasts for three years, during which time a doctor has the chance to practice under the supervision of established doctors. At the end of a successful residency, a doctor who wants to become a pediatric allergist can apply for a fellowship position in an immunology program.

As a fellow, an individual gets to work alongside experienced pediatric allergists to gain a detailed understanding of the profession. He or she is allowed to make diagnoses, recommend treatment, conduct research, and write reports. A fellowship program usually takes about three years to complete. Following a fellowship, a doctor can take a written licensing exam to officially become a pediatric allergist. Gaining certification from a national governing board, such as the American Board of Allergy and Immunology in the United States, qualifies a doctor to work independently in any health-care setting.

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