Most American families use pediatricians—rather than generalist family doctors—as their frontline children’s health care provider. With the backing of its trade organization, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the field of pediatrics has been booming for some years, ensuring current and future demand for the many doctors-in-training who are choosing pediatrics as their specialty. Pediatricians’ average annual salary (roughly $200,000) may not be competitive with some of the more specialized medical domains, but pediatrics appears to offer high career satisfaction and inducements such as flexibility and part-time work opportunities.
In addition, the 11 well-child visits recommended by the AAP over a child’s first 30 months (with annual visits thereafter through age 21) ensure a steady stream of repeat customers and revenue for pediatricians. In accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) vaccine schedule, pediatric practices are expected to administer vaccines (often as many as six at a time) at about half of well-child visits through the adolescent years, making vaccination a foundational bread-and-butter component of pediatricians’ job description. The one problem with this rosy pediatric picture is that some parents do not want to go passively along for the ride.