Pediatric Rheumatology

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

What does a Pediatric Rheumatologist do?

A pediatric rheumatologist diagnoses and treats children with disorders including juvenile idiopathic arthritis (formerly known as juvenile rheumatoid arthritis), systemic lupus, dermatomyositis, scleroderma, vasculitis, and autoinflammatory diseases including periodic fever syndromes. Rheumatologists are often considered master diagnosticians and can be consulted to help solve challenging clinical conundrums. Due to the systemic nature of rheumatic diseases, rheumatologists collaborate with almost all other subspecialties.

Pediatric rheumatologists primarily function in the outpatient setting, but may also care for or consult on hospitalized patients. Due to the chronic and often complex nature of the rheumatic disorders, the specialist has the opportunity to form close long term relationships with patients and families. In many cases, care is provided in concert with other medical subspecialists and support staff with the rheumatologist serving as the overall coordinating physician.


What are the career opportunities for a Pediatric Rheumatologist?

The vast majority of pediatric rheumatologists practice in academic settings. A few pediatric rheumatologists are in private practice and a few work for the pharmaceutical industry. An academic pediatric rheumatologist can choose to be a pure clinician or to combine research with clinical and/or educational responsibilities. The opportunity for pediatric rheumatologists to participate in national and international clinical trials has dramatically increased in recent years. Pediatric rheumatologists who choose to make clinical research a significant component of their career often secure a Master of Public Health or Master in Clinical Science degree. Those who focus on laboratory science spend most of their time conducting research and have fewer clinical duties than their clinical colleagues.


What Board, if any, certifies a Pediatric Rheumatologist?

Pediatric rheumatologists are certified by the American Board of Pediatrics Sub-board of Pediatric Rheumatology. In order to be eligible to take this exam, applicants must first be certified in General Pediatrics.


What is the lifestyle of a Pediatric Rheumatologist?

Most pediatric rheumatologists are able to easily balance the workload and stress of complex medical care with a fulfilling personal life. Since divisions of this rare subspecialty are often small, call responsibilities may be frequent. However, call is usually taken from home and is seldom taxing because there are relatively few rheumatologic emergencies. Since pediatric rheumatologists practice in academic centers, teaching of trainees as well as participation in academic pursuits such as research is typical.


What is the compensation for a Pediatric Rheumatologist?

Compensation for Pediatric Rheumatology is typical of other cognitive academic pediatric subspecialties.

How do I become a Pediatric Rheumatologist?

To be a pediatric rheumatologist you must complete a 3-year fellowship after your pediatric residency or participate in one of several alternate pathways, all of which include a scholarly project requirement. Almost all Pediatric Rheumatology subspecialty programs participate in the NRMP and use ERAS for application.  Match statistics are available by clicking here.

Where do I find out about available programs?

Information about Pediatric Rheumatology training programs is available through Freida, the ACGME and ERAS websites. Most programs have also developed their own informational websites.

When do I apply?

Pediatric Rheumatology fellowships participate in the NRMP match in the fall. Applicants are typically in their third year of residency when applying and can begin to populate their ERAS application in July. Fellowship programs gain access to the ERAS site to review interested applicants shortly thereafter. Most interviews occur during the months of September and October. Rank lists are due in mid-November and the match occurs in early December.

Why should I choose to become a Pediatric Rheumatologist?

If you enjoy intellectually challenging cases, developing long term relationships with patients, primarily in an outpatient setting, and are excited about the translation of scientific discovery to the bedside, then Pediatric Rheumatology may be for you.

For more information about Pediatric Rheumatology, visit these websites:

ERAS Fellowships
American Board of Pediatrics (ABP)
American College of Rheumatology (ACR)

Subspecialty Journals:

Pediatric Rheumatology

Arthritis and Rheumatology

Arthritis Care and Research

Journal of Rheumatology

Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases

Faculty Contacts

These individuals have offered to be available to medical students/residents to discuss 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.

David Sherry
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Angie Robinson
Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital

Megan Curran
Lurie Northwestern Chicago

Jay Nocton
Medical College Wisconsin

David Kurahara
University of Hawaii

Proposed Electives for a Resident Entering Rheumatology
Below is a list of suggested (not mandatory) rotations that a resident could consider if they are planning to apply in this particular subspecialty. This is not meant to be an all-inclusive curriculum, but rather a list to create a program that fits a resident’s individual needs.

  • The residents should have a solid background in General Pediatrics
  • A rotation in Pediatric Rheumatology (this will be an away rotation for many residents)
  • Allergy/Immunology
  • Pediatric Nephrology
  • Sports Medicine
  • Dermatology
  • Infectious Disease
  • Hematology
  • Immunology if available
  • Research
  • Physiatry if available

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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