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PEDIATRIC SUBSPECIALTIES DESCRIPTIONS  •   NEPHROLOGY

      Pediatric Subspecialties

PEDIATRIC NEPHROLOGY

What does a Pediatric Nephrologist do?
What are the career opportunities?
What Board, if any, certifies a Pediatric Nephrologist?
What is the lifestyle of a Pediatric Nephrologist?
What is the compensation of a Pediatric Nephrologist?
How do I become a Pediatric Nephrologist?
Where do I find out about available programs?
When do I apply?
Why should I choose to become a Pediatric Nephrologist?

What does a Pediatric Nephrologist do?
Pediatric nephrology offers the opportunity to care for children with a wide range of disorders including those with transient conditions such as acute kidney injury that may require acute dialysis in an intensive care setting as well as patients immediately post-kidney transplant.  In addition, chronic conditions such as hypertension, chronic kidney disease, chronic dialysis and kidney transplant patients that require long-term follow up are managed by pediatric nephrologists. This allows physicians to develop meaningful, lasting relationships with families as they transition from chronic kidney disease to dialysis and then transplant.  With the opportunity to perform kidney biopsies and provide renal replacement therapies, the subspecialty appeals to those who are "procedure oriented" without the life-style sacrifices often required in procedure-dominated subspecialties. Opportunities in both basic and clinical research are limitless.

What are the career opportunities?
Presently, there are ample opportunities for graduates of pediatric nephrology fellowships in North America. As of 2012 there were 843 American Board of Pediatrics certified pediatric nephrologists in the United Stated with average age 56.8 years with 27.5% older than 65 and an additional 21.4% to reach that age within the next decade. It is estimated that the US will require at least 30-40 new pediatric nephrologists per year over the next decade to simply maintain the pediatric nephrology workforce at present levels. The number of patients requiring care from a pediatric nephrologist in the US will only increase during the next decade and this will necessitate an expansion in the supply of pediatric nephrologists. For more information, click here.

Pediatricians are increasingly recognizing the appeal of pediatric nephrology as a career. As of 2012, there were 134 Pediatric Nephrology fellows in ACGME approved programs and a total of 184 approved training spots [68% of approved training positions filled]. This included 44% American Medical Graduates and 5% International Medical Graduates. There has been a 76% increase in the number of pediatric nephrology trainees per year over the last decade and increasing numbers of the fellows are now women (now 64%).

As a pediatric nephrologist you will have no paucity of children who require your care. While most pediatric nephrologists practice in academic settings, you will have opportunities to be a primary clinician, a clinician-educator, a physician scientist, and/or a medical administrator. It is likely that you will have opportunities to experience many of these roles and develop your abilities in multiple areas during your career

What Board, if any, certifies a Pediatric Nephrologist?
Pediatric Nephrology Boards are administered by the American Board of Pediatrics. Board Certification in General Pediatrics is required in order to sit for the Pediatric Nephrology Boards.

What is the lifestyle of a Pediatric Nephrologist?
Personal time and family life are essential to all physicians. Most pediatric nephrologists can balance the workload and stress of complex medical care with a fulfilling personal life. The call responsibilities and clinical load will vary depending on the size of the practice/program, number of other nephrologists on staff and primary responsibility (i.e. research, administration and/or clinical work).

What is the compensation of a Pediatric Nephrologist?
Compensation is within mid-range of the pediatric subspecialists, but again will depend on the geographic region, size of program and primary responsibility. The compensation typically allows a comfortable lifestyle. For additional salary information, please click here or here.

How do I become a Pediatric Nephrologist?
Training consists of a three year fellowship following completion of a pediatric residency or equivalent international training in pediatrics. Your fellowship training will prepare you for clinical activities, research opportunities, teaching responsibilities and administrative roles. During fellowship, you will be provided a variety of clinical training experiences, including care of patients with acute and chronic kidney disorders, fluid and electrolyte and acid base disorders, hypertension, acute and chronic kidney failure, children during and after kidney transplantation, perinatal and neonatal conditions, including congenital anomalies of the kidneys and urinary tract, and inherited kidney disorders including genetic syndromes. You will also develop competence in skills such as kidney biopsy; initiation of hemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis and continuous renal replacement therapies; interpretation of renal biopsies; and interpretation of renal imaging procedures.

You will receive training in research design and evaluation. Laboratory and clinical research techniques and skills essential for your scholarly activity and career development will be acquired. Complementary topics such as biostatistics, epidemiology, ethics, economics and quality improvement will be incorporated into your education. You will develop competency in all of the skills necessary to become an effective pediatric nephrologist.

Where do I find out about available programs?
Information about Pediatric Nephrology training programs is available through the Freida and ERAS websites. A more detailed description of the subspecialty and requirements of the fellowship are also available on the American Society of Pediatric Nephrology website. You can also contact pediatric nephrologists in your pediatric residency program.

You should try to get a sense of the emphasis and special characteristics of the various programs - some emphasize basic science, others clinical science. Others may involve developmental, immunology or physiology oriented research, and/or options for a Masters in Clinical Science, Epidemiology, or Public Health.

When do I apply?
Pediatric Nephrology fellowships utilize ERAS for the application and participate in the NRMP Pediatric Specialties Fall match. Applicants can begin to populate their ERAS application early in July, and programs can begin to review interested applicants shortly thereafter. Most interviews occur during the months of July through October. Rank lists are typically due in mid November with the match date in late November . Note that applicants match 7 months prior to the start date so the majority of applicants are in their 3nd year of residency when they apply and interview. For match statistics, click here

Why should I choose to become a Pediatric Nephrologist?
Pediatric Nephrology is an exciting field, and career opportunities are abundant whether you plan on a career in basic science, clinical research, clinical nephrology or any combination of the three. As a relatively small subspecialty, there is a real spirit of collegiality and fellowship among the practitioners in our discipline.

If you would like a more in-depth description of a career in Pediatric Nephrology, click here.

For more information about Pediatric Nephrology, visit these websites:
FREIDA
ACGME
ERAS
American Society of Pediatric Nephrology

Subspecialty Journal:
Pediatric Nephrology