Students who are interested in becoming emergency room doctors specializing in children need to complete four years of undergraduate school, four years of medical school, and two to three years of residency work in emergency room medicine. Medical schools have different requirements, but all require prospective applicants to complete their bachelor's degrees prior to enrollment and take all of the required premed courses.
All medical schools require students to fulfill certain coursework before applying. Students complete these courses while they are pursuing their undergraduate degrees. However, some students decide to go to medical school later in life and take these courses in post-baccalaureate programs. Requirements vary, but most medical schools require students to take two semesters of general biology, general and organic chemistry, and general physics as well as one semester of calculus and biochemistry or microbiology. Medical schools do not have preferences for any particular undergraduate majors as long as students complete all premed requirements. Therefore, college students interested in becoming emergency room doctors who work with children are allowed to major in whatever subject interests them.
Biology and Microbiology
All prospective medical school applicants should take a year of general biology courses with the associated laboratory sections. Biology is the study of life and introduces students to topics such as mitochondria, cells and cellular functions. The laboratory sections introduce students to biological samples, including how to conduct and write up basic biological studies. General biology 1 and 2 are often the first premed courses that prospective emergency room doctors take because they are also prerequisites for other required premed courses such as organic chemistry and microbiology. Microbiology is an advanced biology course that focuses on bacteria and the spread of infectious diseases. This course also comes with a laboratory section, which gives students additional experience in dealing with biological samples.
All medical schools require students to take a year of general and organic chemistry with laboratories. General chemistry introduces students to the periodic table of elements, atoms, liquids, solids, gases and balancing chemical reactions. Organic chemistry is the study of compounds with carbon atoms, a particular kind of compound, which are essential to life on this planet. Occasionally, medical schools also require students to take a course in biochemistry. This is an advanced chemistry course that students take if they choose not to take a course in microbiology. Prospective medical students typically take organic chemistry in their second year of college and biochemistry or microbiology in their third year.
Physics and Calculus
All potential emergency-room doctors specializing in children have to take a year of general physics and a semester of calculus. Physics is a mathematically rigorous field of science that require students to solve equations in mechanics and electromagnetism and comes with a laboratory section. Calculus is the study of rates of change of functions and covers topics such as differentiation and integration. Both physics and calculus are essential courses for all prospective medical school applicants.
Kate Prudchenko has been a writer and editor for five years, publishing peer-reviewed articles, essays, and book chapters in a variety of publications including Immersive Environments: Future Trends in Education and Contemporary Literary Review India. She has a BA and MS in Mathematics, MA in English/Writing, and is completing a PhD in Education.