Pediatric Hematology/Oncology

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

What does a Pediatric Hematologist/Oncologist do?
Primary clinical duties are diagnosing and treating children with cancer, variety of different blood disorders, and in some centers, stem cell transplantation. Often these diagnoses (e.g. leukemia or inherited disorders of coagulation) allow the specialist to form close relationships with patients and families to guide them through complex decisions or life-threatening conditions. Most Pediatric Hematology/Oncology doctors see patients in both the outpatient clinic and inpatient hospital settings. Outpatient Hematology practice includes the evaluation and management of patients with nonmalignant disorders (e.g. hemolytic and nutritional anemia, ITP, and neutropenia). Due to the acuity and complexity of the patients, clinical care also depends on communication and collaboration with an interdisciplinary team of medical subspecialists and support staff.

What are the career opportunities?

While most Pediatric Hematologist/Oncologists practice in academic settings, a greater number are now in non-academic or private practices.

Academic Pediatric Hematologist/Oncologists can choose to be primarily clinical or combine their clinical responsibilities with varying amounts of research or administrative duties. Most academic physicians are involved in teaching trainees (e.g., fellows, residents, or students). Pediatric Hematology/Oncology has an unmatched emphasis on clinical trial participation that practically defines standard of care for patients with malignancies. Therefore, physicians both in private and academic practice have the opportunity to participate in national or international clinical trials. Some Pediatric Hematologist/Oncologists choose to make clinical research a significant component of their career. These individuals often pursue a Master of Public Health or Master in Clinical Science degree. Those who focus on laboratory science spend the majority of their time conducting research and have less clinical duties than their primarily clinical colleagues.

There is opportunity for further subspecialization. For example, many centers have institutional experts in specific areas of Hematology (sickle cell, hemophilia) and likewise specific areas of Oncology (leukemia, solid tumors, neuro-Oncology, or survivorship). Centers performing stem cell transplantation generally have dedicated Pediatric Hematologist-Oncologists who focus their careers in this area.

What Board, if any, certifies a Pediatric Hematologist/Oncologist?
After residency training, graduates are certified first in general Pediatrics by the American Board of Pediatrics. After fellowship training, they are eligible to apply for the subsubspecialty board of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology of the American Board of Pediatrics.

What is the lifestyle of a Pediatric Hematologist/Oncologist?
Personal time and family life are essential to all physicians. Most Pediatric Hematologist-Oncologists can balance the workload and stress of complex medical care with a fulfilling personal life. However, the majority of Pediatric Hematologist-Oncologists work more than 40 hours per week and hence those considering this career should be prepared for hard work both during training and beyond.

Call responsibilities are variable based on the size of practice, academic or non-academic institution, and the role of fellows (if any) within the institution. Weekend and evening on-call responsibilities are a component of all positions, but typically involve home-call and is usually not excessive.

What is the compensation of a Pediatric Hematologist/Oncologist?
Compensation is within mid-range of the Pediatric subspecialists. The compensation allows a comfortable lifestyle. Those in private practice may earn larger salaries than individuals in academic positions. For additional salary information, please click here.

How do I become a Pediatric Hematologist/Oncologist?
Pediatric Hematology/Oncology training generally consists of 3 years of fellowship training after residency in either Pediatrics or combined Internal Medicine/Pediatrics, but occasionally people will participate in one of several alternative training pathways . Fellowship involves learning about the diagnosis and care of patients with cancer and nonmalignant Hematologic disorders. Since in many centers perform stem cell transplantation, all fellowship programs also include a component of training in this discipline. While not essential, previous research experience with published results (preferably peer-reviewed) is helpful in applying to larger, competitive academic programs.

Almost all Pediatric Hematology/Oncology subspecialty training programs participate in the NRMP and use ERAS for application. Information about the fellowship Match timelines and Match statistics are available on the NRMP website.

Where do I find out about available programs?
Information about Pediatric Hematology/Oncology training programs is available through the Freida and ERAS websites. Most programs have also developed their own informative websites explaining their individual strengths, pathways for training, and what current and graduate fellows are doing both in clinical practice and research.

When do I apply?
Pediatric Hematology/Oncology fellowship training programs participate in the NRMP Pediatric Specialties Fall Match. Applicants complete ERAS applications in July of their final year of Pediatric or Internal Medicine/Pediatric residency training. Pediatric Hematology/Oncology fellowship programs can begin receiving and reviewing applications in mid-July. Programs typically interview interested applicants from August through October. Important information and dates concerning the NRMP Pediatric Subspecialties Fall Match can be found here.

Match link:   http://www.nrmp.org/fellowships/Pediatrics-specialties-fall-match/
ERAS Link:  https://students-residents.aamc.org/applying-fellowships-eras/applying-fellowships-eras

Why should I choose to become a Pediatric Hematologist/Oncologist?
If you enjoy the opportunity to develop lifelong relationships with families and patients, the diversity and balance of complex inpatient care and outpatient continuity; if you enjoy the opportunity to continually participate in clinical research for treatment strategies aimed to improve care and are intrigued by the principles of clinical or basic scientific discovery; if you are thoughtful, careful, empathetic, energetic, confident and willing to join a team of physicians with the opportunity to care for some of the most amazing patients you will ever meet – then maybe Pediatric Hematology/Oncology is right for you!

For more information about Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, visit these websites:

AAP Section on Hematology/Oncology
American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO)
American Society of Hematology (ASH)
American Society of Pediatric Hematology Oncology (ASPHO)
ERAS Fellowships

Subspecialty Journal:
Pediatric Blood and Cancer

Related Journals:



Journal of Clinical Oncology

Faculty Contacts

Click here  for a list of potential faculty contacts in this subspecialty. These individuals have offered to be available to medical students/residents to discuss their career and their particular subspecialty. Questions could include the choice of subspecialty, lifestyle, job opportunities and the fellowship application process. This is not meant to be a long-term mentorship relationship.

Proposed Electives for a Medical Student/Resident Entering Pediatric Hematologist/Oncologist
Below is a list of suggested (not mandatory) rotations that a medical student/resident could consider if they are planning to apply in this subspecialty. This is not meant to be an all-inclusive curriculum, but rather a list to create a program that fits an individual’s needs.
Outpatient Pediatric Hematology/Oncology

  1. To understand the treatment and experience of this patient population in the outpatient setting
  2. To better develop relationships with Pediatric Hematology/Oncology faculty for mentorship and recommendations
  • Several of the following electives aimed at improving knowledge of the organ systems most commonly compromised in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology practice, whether secondary to disease or to toxicity:
    1. Hematopathology
    2. Radiation Oncology
    3. Palliative Care
    4. Pediatric Pathology
    5. Transfusion Medicine
    6. Immunology
    7. Infectious Disease
    8. Pediatric Radiology
    9. Cardiology
    10. Dermatology
    11. Gastroenterology
    12. Nephrology
    13. Pulmonology

Pediatric Subspecialties: the need is huge, the careers are stimulating, and the rewards are amazing.

To access a recording of the 1-hour CoPS Pediatric Subspecialties Webinar Series on 03/21/22 featuring a panel discussion about careers as Pediatric Rheumatologists and Pediatric Hematologists-Oncologists, please use this link

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