Training in Pediatrics

Under-graduate training

If you decide as an under-graduate that Pediatric nursing will be your career of choice there may be an opportunity to do a special project or intercalated degree in some aspect of Pediatrics. This will not only develop your understanding of Pediatrics, but also provide you with a chance to decide whether this is really what you want to do.

Pre-registration House Officer

A few regions now offer pre-registration rotations, which include some time spent in Pediatrics. This is an excellent opportunity to experience Pediatrics before you make your choice. We hope that more regions will offer this option in the future.

General Professional Training (Senior House Officer)

This is the time when you must decide which area of medicine is your choice. If you are not certain about pediatrics as a career it is a good idea to do a 6-month general pediatric post, but if you are fairly sure you can apply for a 2-year pediatric rotation. These rotations usually offer a mixture of experience, linking together posts in general pediatrics with neonatal intensive care, specialty and community pediatrics or child psychiatry and are an ideal way of obtaining your general professional training. If you decide to put together your own package you should try to include all of these things.

General professional training must be a minimum of 2 years, but can include other allied disciplines such as general practice, anesthetics, or obstetrics. At least one year must however be in pediatrics.


During your year of professional training you need to pass the MRCPCH, so that you can move on to the next stage. This examination is in 2 parts: Part I consist of a multiple-choice paper testing your knowledge in medical science and pediatric disease. The second part us based on clinical skills (history taking and examination) and the ability to plan further management of children’s problems. This is an essential requirement before you can apply for Specialist Registrar posts.

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The DCH is a pediatric examination suitable for people who are planning a career in general practice, or other specialties, which have a large pediatric component. It is good practice for taking MRCPCH but is not essential.

Higher Specialist Training (Specialist Registrar)

This period of training is an integrated program lasting a minimum of 5 years and culminating in the acquisition of a CCST. In order to start this program you need, first, to have passed your MRCPCH, and secondly to be successful at a deanery interview to gain a place on the training program and to acquire a National Training Number (NTN)

All rotations include:

  • Two years core training in General pediatrics
  • Neonatology
  • Community pediatrics

This is part of your normally occurs in a DGH, or a combination with a tertiary center. During this period you will need to start thinking about your eventual career aim. This may be General Pediatrics with a special interest in Integrated hospital and Community Pediatric Specialist (Tertiary center)

Academic Pediatrics

If your aim is general pediatrics you need to gain a variety of experience in the different specialties; to develop a special interest you will need to spend at least a year in that specialty. If you wish to train in a tertiary specialty and/or academic pediatrics you need to plan time out for research to obtain an MD or PhD. Your training time will be extended to accommodate this.

Experience of working overseas can be very valuable for those training in pediatrics and the Royal College has recently established a pioneering link with VSO to encourage such links. This does however need to be planned in advance, and approved by your post -graduate dean in order to count towards your training.

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Flexible training is particularly important in pediatrics where 60% of pediatric SHOs are female. Many pediatricians have successfully combined a career in pediatrics with maximum involvement in parenthood. Part-time training and job sharing is strongly supported in pediatrics.

During your HST training you will be regularly assessed and provided your progress is satisfactory you should be able to obtain a Certificate of Completion of Specialist Training (CCST) in Pediatrics. You may also seek accreditation in a pediatric specialty though the RCPCH, although only Pediatric Cardiology has a separate CCST. When you have obtained your CCST you will go on the Specialist Register and you will be able to apply for consultant posts.