Is Your Dream Career to be a Neonatologist?

Emotionally-draining yet well-paying. Is this job for you?

When you think 'child doctor' typically the word ‘pediatrician’ comes to mind. But if your interest lies in the developmental stages before infants, then maybe being a neonatologist is the job for you.

A neonatologist handles cases regarding fetuses and newborns. Typically, these difficult scenarios are very risky, complex to diagnose, and hard to treat. Due to this, a strong mental fortitude is required.

For example, if a baby is born earlier than expected, has an injury, birth defect, or other complications pre-birth, a neonatologist is called in.

Those able to swim these emotional waters without mental consequences typically perform nothing shy of miracles on a daily basis. Discover everything you need to know about neonatologist below.

Education Requirements

To start things off right, students are required to embark on a 4-year journey through medical school. Once this is knocked out, a 3-year residency training in general pediatrics is needed. After this 7-year stretch is an additional 3 years in newborn intensive care training.

Completing an entire decade of study earns you the right to get officially certified. Certification is awarded to those able to pass the tests issued by the American Board of Pediatrics and the sub-board of Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine.

Why Neonatology?

Sometimes during pregnancy, babies do not fully develop everything they need to survive outside of the womb. Neonatology is dedicated to ensuring they do. Medical students studying this field will be prepared to accomplish the following.

Diagnose and provide treatment for newborns unable to breathe

  • Assist premature babies with ongoing development
  • Develop plans for newborns with infections, other severe illnesses, or in need of surgery
  • Monitor newborn nutrition intake for adequate results
  • Improve odds of mother/baby survival during C-sections or other complications

Neonatology also covers a vast amount of other birth defects and newborn issues.

What is it Like Being a Neonatologist? And How Much Do They Make?

Neonatologists typically operate in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit and/or Special Care Nurseries at hospitals. Here, doctors monitor the vital signs of babies that are sometimes under 2 pounds. Or only 23 weeks old. They also change the baby’s linens, record weights, and take on new cases as they arise.

Once these newborns are well enough to leave the hospital, neonatologists may continue to provide follow-up care for them as an outgoing patient. Average shift is usually 12 hours.

Due to the severe emotional strain of the career, neonatologists are paid very well. On average, they can easily see $250,000 annually. To put that into perspective, the highest pediatrician’s salary typically does not exceed $225,000.