​​​In your first year of residency you should identify your career goals and attempt to tailor your training appropriately. Discussing career goals with program directors and mentors can be very fruitful toward the end of your intern year.  

If you’re interested in practicing in general pediatrics, you’ll want to explore different practice types throughout your training. Shadowing in various practice locations can be insightful. You may want to explore urban practices, rural practices, academic practices, and all the variations in between. Your second and third years will give you time to zero in on the location and types of practice you’re best suited to. 

It is important to know that various locations may have specific requirements for licensing and skill sets. For instance, an academic position may not require in-hospital coverage making documentation for procedural skills and staff privileges within a hospital less important. If you’re interested in rural practice you may still need neonatal resuscitation certification for attending deliveries in small community hospitals. 

If you’re drawn to subspecialty training, you should pursue activities that strengthen your interest such as research. Additional research during all 3 years of residency in the field of interest will strengthen your fellowship application and provide valuable experience within that field. It is also wise to identify appropriate mentors and forge that relationship.

Currently, pediatric subspecialty match​ involves the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) on a subspecialty-by-subspecialty basis. There has been a recent move to involve all subspecialties in the match program, but some continue outside of the match. Identify the application process early to avoid missing the appropriate application cycle. For more information on pediatric subspecialty options, click here. 

Starting your job search should begin early during your residency and with small steps. It is also okay to not be 100% certain of which field of pediatrics you want to enter, whether it be general practice or a subspecialty. Talk to as many attendings and mentors as you can, to best understand what the training and day-to-day life as an attending are like. 


Post-Graduate Year (PGY)-1 

  • Focus on surviving the intern year and gaining valuable clinical experience.  
  • Assess fit with possible careers during various rotations. 
  • Explore career goals by establishing a mentoring relationship(s).  


  • Pursue electives to explore career opportunities.  
  • Decide between general versus subspecialty practice. 
  • Initiate research as needed to strengthen career choices.  
  • Create CV and identify programs for fellowship (if applicable).  
  • Identify timing for various subspecialty fellowship applications (if applicable). 
  • Apply for and match for Spring fellowship programs (if applicable).  


  • Identify suitable primary care positions and send out cover letter and CV during the early part of the year.  
  • Interview during the middle portion of the year for primary care positions.  
  • Solidify primary care positions and negotiate contracts and benefits during the second half of the year.  
  • Start early on obtaining licensing credentials for the state you want to practice in. 
  • Apply for and match for Fall fellowship programs (if applicable).  

ResearchYour Future Practice Options 

Find out as much as possible about the hospital or practice you’re considering from their website and an internet search. Reach out to local physicians or recent graduates for information about the practice. Most hospitals and practices will send you a packet of information prior to the interview, if they don’t call and request one.  

Learn the structure of the organization and whether they have affiliations with other hospitals, health systems, and medical schools. Ascertain the ratio of primary care physicians to specialists on staff. Think about how your skills match existing organizational requirements. Also consider how your experience and knowledge might enhance the organization. You may need to do additional training in your third year of residency/fellowship to better match the needs of the positions you are interested in. 

When you’ve narrowed down the search to a few practices, it is important to research the community, practice and staff working at that location to determine if it would be a good fit. Here are additional considerations for assessing the community/local area. 

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American Academy of Pediatrics