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How to Become a Children's Doctor: Career and Education Roadmap

Learn how to become a children's doctor. Research the education requirements, training, licensure information,
and experience you will need to start a career in pediatrics.
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Do I Want to Be a Children's Doctor?
Children's doctors, also called pediatricians, diagnose and treat ailments in infants and children. While many
pediatricians focus on common injuries and diseases that affect younger people, others may diagnose and treat
more serious medical conditions. Duties can range from administering vaccinations to performing major
The work environment in which pediatricians work varies: those who work in hospitals will work long hours,
most of which are on their feet, while those in private practice may have more control over their schedules in a
medical office setting. The job can be highly stressful and highly rewarding. Many pediatricians make a lot of
money, although the education required for the positions is lengthy.
Job Requirements
To become a pediatrician, you're required to graduate with a bachelor's degree, complete medical school and
participate in a residency. You'll also need to obtain a medical license and have the option to earn pediatric
certification. The table below includes some of the requirements to become a pediatrician.

Common Requirements
Degree Level Bachelor's degree, medical degree*
Degree Field Bachelor's degree - organic chemistry, biology or physics*
License/Certification Medical license required to practice*, voluntary certification is available***
Experience Completion of a 3-year residency program****
Key Skills
Ability to communicate with patients, positive bedside manner, patience with
children, problem-solving abilities, ability to appropriately respond in a crisis
Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; ** (June 2012), ***The American Board of
Pediatrics, ****New York Methodist Hospital.
Step 1: Graduate with a Bachelor's Degree
There is no specific degree students need to earn at the bachelor's degree level to enroll in medical school;
however, prospective pediatricians generally need to take a heavy load of math and science courses. Common
majors include biology, physics and chemistry. To be accepted into medical school, a student needs to perform
well in his or her classes and earn high marks.
Success Tip:
 Volunteer or work in a medical setting. While having a strong grade point average is almost always
necessary to be accepted into medical school, an aspiring doctor may also want to volunteer or work in a
medical setting to improve his or her medical school application.
Step 2: Pass the MCAT with a High Score
Taking the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) is required to apply to almost any medical school. The
test consists of four sections, including physical sciences, biological sciences, verbal reasoning and a writing
sample. The higher the score a student achieves on the MCAT, the better the chances he or she has to enroll in
the medical school of his or her choice.
Success Tip:
 Complete practice tests. The Medical College Admissions Test's website offers practice tests that can help
prepare students for the MCAT. The results of these practice tests can help students determine which areas
they need to improve upon before taking the official test.
Step 3: Finish Medical School
The first portion a medical education, medical school, requires four years, and students take courses covering
every area of medicine. During the first two years, students take medical courses that can prepare them for
rotations during their final two years. Courses cover topics in biochemistry, pharmacology, medical ethics and
anatomy. Rotations include family practice, internal medicine, surgery, psychiatry, obstetrics and pediatrics.
The pediatric rotation can provide students with the necessary experience to know whether they want to
pursue careers in a particular medical specialty.
Step 4: Complete a Residency
A pediatric residency, also referred to as graduate medical school, is a 3-year program that offers aspiring
physicians an opportunity to begin treating young patients. Students work rotations, providing them with the
opportunity to work in a variety of pediatric settings. Although the curriculum of residency programs can
slightly differ between sites, the purpose is to provide supervised medical experience, allowing students to
make the transition into independent medical doctors. Students can complete their entire residency at a single
location or alternate sites each year.
Step 5: Obtain Licensure
To practice medicine, students are legally required to obtain medical licensure. The United States Medical
Licensing Exam (USMLE) is a 3-part exam that ensures students understand what it takes to work in a
medical setting and treat patients. The first part of the exam assesses whether students can apply scientific
concepts in a medical medical setting, while the second part of the exam tests knowledge of clinical science
and patient care. The final part of the exam focuses on patient management in ambulatory settings. Although
students can begin taking the exam prior to residency, potential pediatricians cannot become licensed until
they successfully complete their residency requirements. After they've obtained a medical license, doctors can
sit for optional certification exams through the American Board of Pediatrics (ABP).
Success Tips:
 Visit the USMLE website to prepare for the exam. Numerous preparation materials are available to help
students understand the exam content areas and what they need to study. The USMLE provides a general
information booklet, tutorials and practice tests, online videos and sample patient notes.
 Choose to specialize in a pediatric area. Numerous specialty certifications are offered through the ABP,
which verify that a doctor has the knowledge and skills to treat patients living with certain conditions and
diseases. Specialty certifications include pediatric cardiology, pediatric critical care, child abuse pediatrics
and pediatric emergency medicine, among many others.

Civil Engineering: Requirements for Becoming a Civil Engineer
Civil engineers work on construction, renovation, and rebuilding projects. They often work alongside architects,
technologists, and other industry professionals. Engineers may alternate time between working in an office and
visiting sites. Duties may range from reviewing government regulations and city ordinances to designing
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Educational Requirements for Civil Engineers
A bachelor's degree from an accredited program is the minimum requirement for most civil engineering jobs.
Aspiring civil engineersmay look to the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) for a
list of approved programs ( High school students may consider advanced courses in
mathematics, such as calculus and trigonometry to prepare for college.
Core Courses
Aspiring civil engineers generally begin their college careers by enrolling in chemistry, physics, and advanced
mathematics courses. Some programs may include classes in computer-aided design (CAD) as part of the
core requirements. Additionally, students may take courses in engineering statistics in order to develop their
computational skills. Pre-major courses may also cover fundamental engineering principles and concepts.
Major Requirements
After completing core course requirements, civil engineering students delve into advanced topics, such as
thermodynamics and structural analysis. Courses may include the completion of a design project, in which
students assess structural integrity of materials. This may require the use of CAD programs to test their
Most programs generally require students to complete laboratory courses in which they analyze substances
ranging from soil to concrete. These courses help students identify basic properties of materials, as well as
potential problems from using them.
Licensing Requirements
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), civil engineers who provide their services to the
public must complete professional engineer (PE) state licensing requirements ( Requirements
vary by state, but generally include accruing four years of work experience and completing two exams
administered by the National Council of Examiners for Engineers and Surveyors (
Career and Salary Information
The BLS notes that most states have implemented mandatory continuing education requirements to maintain a
license. Credit may be given for attending seminars, participating in workshops and completing online classes.
According to the BLS, civil engineers can expect a 19% job increase between 2010 and 2020. It was reported
by the BLS that the median annual salary for civil engineers was $79,340 in May 2012.

Education Required to Be a Computer Engineer
A computer engineer may work on any aspect of computer systems engineering, from hardware to software.
Computer engineers must have a minimum of a bachelor's degree and some internship experience to get a full-
time job in the industry.
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Computer Engineer Career Overview
Computer engineers may work with software, hardware or applications and system development. They work
to fulfill user needs based on usability, function and logic. Job duties include conceptualizing and designing
new systems based on the needs of the end user, testing and troubleshooting various aspects of computer
systems, including hardware, software programs and networking systems. Computer engineers may also be
involved in the development of software, particularly from a hardware support and feasibility consulting
Required Education
A high school diploma or a GED equivalent is required to become a computer engineer. High school classes
should focus on computer science, computer languages, mathematics and statistics. Prospective computer
engineers may either opt to go directly for a bachelor's degree or complete an associate's degree as an
intermediate step within the education required of a computer engineer. Many community, technical and
vocational colleges offer programs in computer science, computer engineering and computer programming
within their technology or information technology departments.
Generally, a bachelor's degree is the minimum education required of a computer engineer. Most employers
require students to hold a bachelor's degree in computer science, computer programming, computer
engineering, computer information systems, electrical engineering or similar computer-related fields.
Employers have a strong preference for graduates with computer programming skills and a familiarity with a
range of programming languages.
Taking an internship under the supervision of an experienced computer engineering professional is the best
way to learn the skills and technical applications needed to be a computer engineer. Many internship programs
may be available for college credit in any given major. Internships offer hands-on experience to otherwise
inexperienced amateurs in the field. Most employers will not hire a computer engineer who does not have
some relevant experience.
Professional certification for computer engineers is offered through the Institute of Electrical and Electronics
Engineers (IEEE). Certification serves as a boost for those looking to accelerate their career in the field of
computer engineering. A bachelor's degree in addition to work experience is required to apply for the exam; a
passing score on the written exam qualifies an individual as a Certified Software Development Professional

Do I Want to Be a Veterinarian?
Vets prevent and treat illnesses and injuries in animals. They might specialize in a type of veterinary medicine,
such as surgery, and/or a group of animals, such as horses, dogs or wildlife. Duties include diagnosing
patients, prescribing medications, performing surgery, giving vaccinations, and providing health care
recommendations to pet owners. Veterinarians may also conduct research in areas such as biomedical
sciences. They often work very long hours, and many make themselves available for emergency situations.
Job Requirements
To enter the field, one must usually earn a bachelor's degree and then complete a four-year veterinary
medicine program. After earning a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M.), one must earn licensure and may
then work in settings such as small animal clinics, farms, or zoos. The following table lists the basic education
and skill requirements for becoming a veterinarian:

Common Requirements
Degree Level Doctorate required*
Degree Field Veterinary medicine*
Must pass the North American Veterinary Licensing Exam to earn licensure; there
may be additional licensure requirements specific to each state*
Experience Varies widely with each employer and field of practice**
Key Skills
Critical thinking, complex problem solving, decision making, speaking, active
listening, and reading skills***
Computer Skills
Knowledge of software used to record information and communicate with others
(e.g. Microsoft Access, Outlook, Office, and Excel) and scientific software specific
to the veterinary field***
Technical Skills Experience with x-ray, surgical, and laboratory equipment***
Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **American Veterinary Medical Association job postings (August
2012), ***O*Net OnLine.
Step 1: Complete a Bachelor's Degree Program
Most schools of veterinary medicine require or prefer applicants to have a bachelor's degree. While many
students earn their degree in a biological science, most veterinary schools don't have a preferred major as long
as certain science courses are taken. These courses typically include general biology, chemistry, physics, and
math. Some schools may require some more advanced science courses, such as mammalogy, biochemistry, or
animal behavior.
Success Tips:
 Participate in volunteer programs or internships in the veterinary field. Volunteering or interning at
veterinary clinics or other animal care facilities can give students an idea of what the job of a veterinarian is
really like. Many veterinary programs require some experience working with animals, and volunteering can
fulfill this requirement or make a student more competitive when applying. Students can use these
experiences to show their dedication to the field of animal care, as well gain professional references.
 Join a pre-veterinary club. Pre-professional clubs that focus on veterinary medicine are available at many
schools. These clubs may have meetings where members discuss career topics, shadowing programs, and
resources for volunteer or internship experience. Some also offer the chance to apply for scholarships that
are only offered to members.
 Take the GRE. Many schools of veterinary medicine require applicants to submit Graduate Record
Examination (GRE) scores. This exam measures a person's readiness for graduate-level studies.
Step 2: Earn a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
Each successive year in a program of veterinary medicine builds upon the previous year's curriculum. The first
year or two may focus on science subjects like animal anatomy and physiology, nutrition, and virology. These
and related courses lay the basic framework for understanding veterinary medicine. Some courses might be
specific to an animal group. The third year may focus on clinical studies in which students come in contact
with living animals and practice using the knowledge and skills they've gained in the previous two years to
make diagnoses and recommend possible treatments. The fourth year is usually spent participating in applied
experiences, such as practicums or externships.
Success Tip:
 Get involved in research projects. Some programs offer students the opportunity to be involved in research
while they are studying for their degree. This experience may be helpful in understanding certain aspects of
the veterinary field and can open up opportunities to work in research rather than a clinical setting.
Step 3: Become Licensed
Graduates of accredited programs of veterinary medicine must be licensed to practice in the field. All states
require that graduates successfully pass the North American Veterinary Licensing Exam; additional state-
specific exams may also be required.
Step 4: Gain Experience
After becoming licensed, one might choose to gain further practical and specialized experience in the field by
interning for a year before applying for a more permanent position. The majority of veterinarians work with
small companion animals in private clinics. A smaller percentage of veterinarians choose to specialize in
working with equines or other large animals, exotic animals, or zoo animals.
Success Tips:
 Become certified in a specialty. To be eligible for certification in a specialty field such as internal medicine
or surgery, veterinarians must have completed either a residency or additional education. Residency
programs usually involve multiple years working at a specified location where a veterinarian receives
supervised training in his or her chosen specialty.
 Join a professional association. National and state associations exist for veterinarians. Membership benefits
may include access to newsletters, professional connections, published literature on the latest veterinary
topic, and resources for continuing education.

How to Become a Heart Surgeon
Learn how to become a heart surgeon. Research the education and career requirements, training and licensure
information and experience required for starting a career in heart surgery.
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Do I Want to Be a Heart Surgeon?
Cardiac or heart surgeons specialize in treating diseases and congenital disorders of the heart through surgical
intervention. Through their work, cardiac surgeons have the ability to improve, prolong, and save patients'
Heart surgeons, like other surgeons, have the potential to make a lot of money whether they work for a
hospital or in a private practice. The hours of the job can be very demanding; surgeons work long hours that
often include nights and weekends. Surgeons must stand for long hours at a time and, because they work in
medical care settings, may be exposed to infectious diseases, although the risk is very small.
Job Requirements
Cardiac surgeons undergo extensive training, which includes undergraduate studies, medical school, and years
of residency in both general surgery and thoracic or cardiothoracic surgery. The following table outlines
common requirements to become a heart surgeon:

Common Requirements
Degree Level A medical doctorate degree is required*
Degree Field
Undergraduate level: a specific field is not required, but must typically include
courses in subjects like biology, mathematics and chemistry; graduate level:
Licensure and
A license is required to practice medicine in all states. Voluntary certifications
are available*
Experience Completion of 7-8 years if total residency training is typically required**
Key Skills
Strong communication and leadership skills, knowledge of human anatomy and
proper medical protocol, empathy and compassion, problem-solving skills and
Additional Requirements
Dexterity and physical stamina are needed as heart surgeons work with their
hands and often work on their feet for long periods of time*
Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) **The Society of Thoracic Surgeons
Step 1: Enroll in a Bachelor's Degree Program
Typically, a bachelor's degree is required in order to meet medical school admissions requirements. Students
interested in becoming heart surgeons may want to focus on advanced undergraduate biological science
courses, such as human anatomy, microbiology and biochemistry. Some schools offer pre-medical
undergraduate majors, which can cover all of the necessary prerequisites for medical school admissions, but a
specific major is not typically required. Many medical schools typically require that candidates have a college
grade point average (GPA) of 3.5 or better.
Success Tips
 Volunteer and participate in community service projects. Medical school programs tend to be highly
competitive, and a high GPA may not be enough to qualify an applicant for admissions. Volunteering at a
local hospital or logging community service hours at a homeless shelter may give a student the experience
and competitive edge they need to get into medical school.
 Participate in extracurricular activities. Participating in extracurricular activities can help students
showcase their leadership abilities and this experience can give applicants a competitive edge on their
medical school application.
 Take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). Medical school candidates are required to demonstrate a
satisfactory score on the MCAT. The MCAT's multiple-choice questions and skills assessment help medical
schools to determine a candidate's readiness for training as a physician. Undergraduate college students
planning to enter medical school upon graduation generally take this exam before their senior year.
Step 2: Complete a Medical School Program
The medical school curriculum focuses on normal and abnormal anatomy and physiology, covering
biochemistry and pathology as well as major organs and systems. Medical school programs introduce students
to a wide variety of specialties and areas of medicine, including surgery, obstetrics and gynecology, internal
medicine or pediatric care. It usually takes four years to earn a medical degree, which is commonly known as
a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.). The first two years are generally spent in a classroom setting while the second
two years focus on clinical practice.
Step 3: Undertake Residency Training
Heart surgeons normally complete roughly five years of general surgery residency training, followed by at
least two additional years in a thoracic or cardiothoracic residency program. During these residencies, aspiring
surgeons work alongside licensed surgeons and participate in operations. Once these two residencies are
completed, heart surgeons may opt to complete additional specialized training in pediatric heart surgery,
robotics-assisted cardiac procedures or heart transplant surgery.
Step 4: Become Licensed and Board Certified
While licensing requirements may vary, all states require physicians to pass the United States Medical
Licensing Examination prior to practicing medicine. In addition to being licensed by the state, physicians may
voluntarily obtain certification in thoracic surgery through the American Board of Thoracic Surgery, a
specialty board of the American Board of Medical Specialties. Initial requirements include possession of a
state medical license, general and thoracic surgery residencies, and satisfactory scores on a board-offered
exam. In order to maintain board certification, heart surgeons are required to complete a minimum number of
continuing medical education hours, submit letters of reference, as well as case summaries, and pass an exam
every ten years.
What Education Is Needed to Become a Nurse?
Nurses perform numerous tasks, from providing fundamental healthcare to assisting surgeons with advanced
and critical procedures. Aspiring nurses can pursue several educational options based on their career goals and
level of care they hope to provide. Read on to learn more about education programs to be a nurse.
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Educational Options for Nurses
Registered nurses (RNs) care for patients, provide support to patients' families and assist doctors in medical
procedures. Like doctors, RNs typically specialize in areas such as ambulatory care, critical care, hospice or
palliative care, pediatrics or surgery. Additional education can lead to further specialization opportunities, as
well as management and administration options.
Students pursuing careers as registered nurses can earn an associate degree from a nursing program or
complete a 4-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program. A Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is
also available. Registered nurses may also choose to pursue accelerated RN-to-BSN or RN-to-MSN programs.
Associate of Science in Nursing
Associate degree programs for registered nurses typically take 2-3 years to complete. Associate of Science in
Nursing (ASN) degree programs are offered by community colleges and nursing schools. These programs,
which can be administered in coordination with hospitals, provide training in nursing fundamentals,
pharmacology and microbiology. ASN programs may be a good fit for those who want a hands-on career and
are not interested in pursuing administrative, research or teaching positions.
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Those interested in greater career flexibility and additional clinical experience can pursue a BSN. These 4-year
programs prepare prospective RNs for nursing jobs as well as managerial, clinical, research and teaching
positions. BSN programs may include courses in adult health care, health assessment and community health.
Most BSN programs require students to acquire experience in clinical settings.
Master of Science in Nursing
Master's degree programs prepare nurses to become nurse administrators, nurse educators and family nurse
practitioners. Most master's degree programs in nursing emphasize advanced nursing practices, management
skills and areas of specialty, such as women's health, critical care or public health.
Licensing Requirements for Nurses
All registered nurse program graduates take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered
Nurses (NCLEX-RN). Obtaining licensing is required in order to legally be eligible for employment. License
renewal requirements vary by state and may include continuing education courses and a background check.
Requirements for Licensed Practical Nurses
Licensed practical nurses (LPN), also known as licensed vocational nurses (LVNs), are supervised by
registered nurses. They measure and monitor patients, assist in patient care and treatments and collect
laboratory test samples. Most LPNs work in general healthcare and don't specialize.
LPN training programs allow nurses to begin work after completing one year of study. These programs are
available at community colleges and vocational schools. After completing the necessary education, graduates
of a licensed practical nurse training program can take the National Council Licensure Examination for
Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN). Practicing LPNs can also pursue an LPN-to-RN training program.
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
Faster than average growth in employment opportunities are anticipated for both areas of nursing. During the
decade spanning 2010-2020, 22% job growth was expected for licensed practical nurses, while expansion of
26% was predicted for registered nurses, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 2012, the annual
median wage for licensed practical nurses was $41,540, and the wage for registered nurses was $65,470, the
BLS revealed.
Physician Assistant: Summary of How to Become a Physician's Assistant
Learn how to become a physician assistant. Research the job description and the education and licensing
requirements and find out how to start a career in physician assistance.
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Do I Want to Be a Physician Assistant?
Physician assistants work alongside doctors and surgeons, examining patients, analyzing medical test results
and treating minor injuries under the supervision of licensed medical professionals. They may also manage
inventory, supervise medical technicians and prescribe medication. Empathy is often required when working
with patients who might be nervous, in pain or not feeling well.
Job Requirements
Becoming a physician assistant is a strict process involving specialized training in a master's degree program,
and licensure is required in all states. The following table outlines the core requirements for this profession:

Common Requirements
Degree Level A master's degree is typically required*
Degree Field Physician assistant*
A license is necessary in all states; must pass the Physician Assistant National
Certifying Examination*
Key Skills Compassionate, attentive to details and emotionally stable*
Computer Skills
ChartWare and electronic medical record software, as well as
videoconferencing and spreadsheet programs**
Technical Skills
Dexterity with medical devices, such as central venous catheters, head or neck
traction devices, spirometers and surgical tools**
Additional Skills
Stamina is essential, since physician assistants spend long periods of time on
their feet*
Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **O*Net OnLine
Step 1: Qualify for a Physician Assistant Program
Physician assistants are required to complete formal education programs approved by the Accreditation
Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA). Admission into such programs
typically requires a bachelor's degree or some college education and three years of healthcare experience, such
as in nursing or emergency medical service positions. Admission requirements vary by program, so
prospective physician assistants may want to contact potential schools directly.
Step 2: Complete an Accredited Program
Medical schools, healthcare centers and colleges usually offer physician assistant programs. While associate's
and bachelor's programs are available, most physician assistant programs result in 2-year master's degrees.
Curricula consist of medical instruction in the classroom, laboratory and clinic. Course topics may include
anatomy, physiology, patient assessment, diagnostics and pharmacology. Students gain supervised, hands-on
experience in the final year of study through clinical rotations.
Success Tip:
 Learn stress-management techniques. Physician assistants must be equipped to handle the stress of working
in the medical profession. Clinical requirements allow aspiring physician assistants to experience the
sometimes high-pressure environments of emergency medicine or surgery and become comfortable in these
Step 3: Become Licensed
All states require physician assistants to be licensed to practice in the profession. Every candidate must
graduate from an ARC-PA-accredited degree program and pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying
Examination (PANCE). Administered by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants
(NCCPA), the PANCE is a multiple-choice exam that covers medical and surgical fundamentals. Those who
pass may use the Physician Assistant - Certified (PA-C) designation.
PA-Cs maintain the credential by earning 100 approved continuing medical education credits every two years.
They're also required to pass the Physician Assistant National Recertifying Exam every six years.
Step 4: Consider Becoming a Specialist
Physician assistants can choose to practice in a medical specialization, such as internal medicine, emergency
care, surgery, urology or pediatrics. To become specialists, physician assistants must complete accredited
postgraduate programs and obtain specialty certification from the NCCPA. Specialty certification applicants
need to have PA-C certification and 1-2 years of assisting and specialty experience. Eligible candidates may
then sit for the required exam. Physician assistant specialists may renew their certification every six years
under the condition that they also maintain PA-C certification.

How to Become a Neurosurgeon: Education and Career Roadmap
Learn how to become a neurosurgeon. Research the education and career requirements, training and licensure
information and experience required for starting a career in neurosurgery.
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Do I Want to Be a Neurosurgeon?
Neurosurgeons are medical specialists who treat injuries, diseases and congenital disorders of the brain and
spinal cord. They perform surgical procedures to treat and heal a variety of conditions, such as tumors, blood
clots and traumatic injuries. These surgeons must be capable of remaining calm and focused in life-or-death
situations. They are often required to work on call to fulfill emergency care needs.
Job Requirements
Like all medical doctors, these surgeons must be licensed to practice. Prospective neurosurgeons undergo a
rigorous medical training program, which includes earning a doctorate degree in medicine and fulfilling an
extensive residency. Additional optional certifications are available. The following table outlines common
requirements to become a neurosurgeon.

Common Requirements
Degree Level Doctorate*
Degree Field Medicine*
Experience A year-long internship plus a 6- to 8-year neurosurgical residency is required**
Licensure and
A license is required to practice medicine; voluntary certifications exist and can
expand career opportunities*
Key Skills
Strong communication and leadership skills, organizational and problem-solving
skills, empathy, compassion, patience, dexterity, physical stamina, knowledge of
brain and spinal cord anatomy*
Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **American Association of Neurological Surgeons
Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree
While there is not a specific degree required for undergraduate study, aspiring neurosurgeons might choose to
concentrate their coursework in advanced biological sciences to meet admission requirements for medical
school. They must graduate from an accredited bachelor's degree program with pre-med prerequisite courses,
such as microbiology, biochemistry and human anatomy. Most medical schools require a grade point average
of at least 3.5 and may choose only those candidates who rank at the top of their graduating class.
During the junior year of study, aspiring neurosurgeons must take the Medical College Admission Test
(MCAT). This exam allows medical schools to evaluate a candidate's training through a skills assessment and
a set of multiple-choice questions. Then they must submit their applications via mail or through an online
service administered by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and the American
Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM).
Success Tips
 Participate in job shadowing programs. Most universities can assist students in finding job shadow
opportunities to spend time following doctors and neurosurgeons throughout a workday. Participating in job
shadowing programs can help an aspiring neurosurgeon learn what to expect in this career and gain medical
experience to list on his or her medical school application.
 Volunteer. Medical school admissions tend to be highly competitive, and having a high GPA may not be
enough to help an aspiring neurosurgeon stand out. Participating in volunteer opportunities or performing
community service may make a candidate more attractive to medical school admissions officers.
 Learn a foreign language. Neurosurgeons frequently work with patients who do not speak English, so
learning a foreign language such as Spanish can help a candidate succeed in this field and may help him or
her stand out over other medical school applicants.
Step 2: Attend Medical School
Aspiring neurosurgeons are required to earn a Doctor of Medicine by attending medical school. Medical
school programs are traditionally somewhat inflexible, consisting of medical overview classes paired with
experiential units (typically completed in the second half of the 4-year program). Those who wish to be
neurosurgeons may tailor their studies to include advanced classes in medical diagnostics, clinical research,
surgical practice and disease management. They may also choose to emphasize rotations that allow them to
examine and treat patients at a teaching hospital under direct supervision by experienced brain surgeons.
Step 3: Pass the Medical Licensing Exam
The National Board of Medical Examiners and the Federation of State Medical Boards administer the United
States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE). The test can be taken right after medical school or within
the first part of a residency program. Residency programs often rely on the scores from this test to choose
qualifying residents. It is a legal requirement for aspiring physicians to pass the exam prior to practicing
medicine in the United States.
Step 4: Complete an Internship and Neurosurgical Residency Program
Upon earning an MD, aspiring neurosurgeons must complete a 1-year hospital internship followed by a 6 - to
8-year neurosurgical residency. During the internship, aspiring surgeons learn to manage patients and develop
other skills that will assist them later in their careers. During a neurosurgery residency, an aspiring surgeon
will work alongside licensed surgeons learning skills and techniques essential to the field. Eventually, aspiring
neurosurgeons will scrub in and assist with surgical procedures.
Step 5: Become State Licensed and Board Certified
Neurosurgeons can apply for licensing through their state's medical board by submitting an application, paying
the requisite fees and submitting test scores as well as school transcripts. After a few years of practice, many
neurosurgeons also apply for Board Certification through the American Board of Neurological Surgery by
meeting specific educational and practicum requirements and by passing an examination. Being board-
certified can help a neurosurgeon stand out in the field.
Step 6: Continue Education
Continuing education is required for neurosurgeons to renew licensing and board certification. Continuing
education can be done in a number of ways within this field. Neurosurgeons may choose to subspecialize
within neurosurgery in a field such as oncology or pediatric neurosurgery and can complete a fellowship to
learn more about these subspecializations. A fellowship generally entails several more years of education.
Alternatively, neurosurgeons can complete continuing education requirements by attending classes and
seminars held by medical schools and professional organizations. Continuing education enables a
neurosurgeon to stay current on technologies and medical breakthroughs in the field of neurosurgery.
How to Become an Electrical Systems Engineer: Career Roadmap
Find out how to become an electrical system engineer. Research the education requirements and learn about the
experience you need to advance your career in electrical system engineering.
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Do I Want to Be an Electrical Systems Engineer?
Electrical systems engineers design, develop and construct power generation systems for communication
systems, automobiles, buildings and other technologies. These engineers plan out the wiring architecture and
electrical components. Experienced engineers may become more deeply involved in project management.
These professionals tend to work full-time, though shouldn't be afraid of putting in extra hours to ensure that
particular projects meet deadlines. They are also well-compensated for their trouble; the U.S. Bureau of Labor
Statistics reveals that electrical engineers in general earn salaries much higher than the national average.
Job Requirements
Most electrical systems engineers possess at least a bachelor's degree in electrical or computer engineering.
The following table contains the main requirements for becoming an electrical system engineer:

Common Requirements
Degree Level
Bachelor's degree required; some more advanced positions may require a
graduate degree*
Degree Field Computer or electrical engineering*
Licensure Licensure as a Professional Engineer (PE) is encouraged*
Experience Experience required for many positions***
Computer skills
Field specific software, such as computer-aided design (CAD) software and
circuit simulation software; skills in C++ programming**
Key Skills Math skills, communication skills, detail oriented*
Technical skills
Knowledge of and ability to use tools like signal generators, evaporators and
Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **O*NET Online, ***Multiple job posts (December 2012).
Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree in Electrical Engineering
Earning a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from an ABET-accredited program is the first step to
becoming an electrical systems engineer. In addition to receiving a general education, students take electronic
systems and energy conversion classes. CAD courses can teach students how to use computer software to
calculate power requirements and test the performance of a system. Electrical engineering programs may
include courses in electromagnetics, electronics and statistics. Bachelor's degree programs in computer
engineering are usually acceptable to employers as well.
Success Tip:
 Take the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam. Engineering graduates are eligible to take the first exam
required to become licensed engineers. Those who pass this exam become known as engineer interns or
engineers in training (EITs) and can start gaining the experience needed to take the second exam.
Step 2: Consider Earning a Master's Degree
According to December 2012 job postings, some employers prefer candidates who have completed a master's
degree program in electrical engineering. Graduate programs may allow students to focus their studies in
electronic circuits, communications or many other areas. Course topics may include embedded systems,
systems engineering and digital signal processing. Additionally, earning a master's degree can open up
opportunities for employment in academia. Some schools may offer a combined bachelor's and master's
degree program that can be completed in five years.
Step 3: Gain Experience
Entry-level positions typically include working under the supervision of an experienced engineer as well as
on-the-job and in-class training. New hires may assist with collecting data on electrical system requirements,
determining the efficiency of power generators and conducting field surveys to identify power system
problems. Gaining experience can lead to mid-level engineering jobs and help an engineer get closer to
obtaining an engineering license.
Step 4: Get an Engineering License
EITs with four years of work experience are eligible to take the second part of the licensing exam. EITs who
successfully complete the exam become licensed PEs. Keep in mind that each state has different guidelines for
PEs, so prospective engineers should check with their state board for more details.
States may require PEs to participate in continuing education activities to keep their licenses. Each state has
different statutes and renewal periods.
Success Tip:
 Find out what continuing education options are accepted by the state board and begin earning hours. Each
state may have a different list of what counts as continuing education hours, but some common options
include completing college courses, authoring papers and completing self-study programs. PEs may also
wish to join an organization that offers continuing education courses.

Ten ways you can support your child's future
Children of all ages need their parents and other adults involved with purpose in their lives – to nurture and to
motivate, to clarify and to connect, to challenge into realizing their dreams.
Nurture the individual...
Passion for life, learning, and work comes from within. Help your children discover their passions. Cultivate
their sense of hope. Believe in their dreams, and they will believe in them.
1. Tell your children you are proud of them.
A positive sense about who we are is central to a healthy and productive life. High self-esteem,
combined with hope for the future, feelings of control over life events, and a sense of purpose, build
positive identity. Reinforce your children regularly to lay the foundations for a strong sense of self-
worth. Notice and praise your children when you see them doing a good job. Encourage them to spend
their time doing things at which they feel competent and valued.
2. Listen to your children and express interest in those things they care about.
Talk with your children about the everyday stuff. (Believe it or not, 78% of middle school and 48% of
high school age students say they want to talk more to their parents.) Start early by asking about their
ideas and opinions regularly. Show them that you are really interested in what they think and feel, and
they will become comfortable about expressing their thoughts to you.
3. Help your children understand who they are and what makes them special.
Ask your children questions about things that interest them and activities they are good at. Share what
you observe about their strengths and interests. Probe their unique interests to better understand them.
Consider their favorite games, books, school subjects, toys, activities, and make believe. Talk about
how they learn best - is it through reading, talking, or doing?
4. Recognize that your children are unique and that their career paths will be unique.
Sometimes we expect that life should follow a perfect and predictable path. However, career
development is a process, and everyone does it differently. Each child learns and develops at different
rates. Talk about the positive aspects of these differences. Help your children express and cherish their
5. Be involved in school activities and support school work because education is important.
When you are involved in your children's education, they will achieve more regardless of your
economic status, ethnic or racial background, or educational level. Your children need to see that you
care about how they do in school. Be a partner with the teachers and school staff in supporting your
children's education.
Connect to the real world...
Let their dreams create purpose and purpose fashion their goals. Challenge your children to reach for those
goals and help them navigate the barriers.
6. Set a good example of school and work attitudes and behaviors.
Motivate through example. Model good work behaviors. Share workplace stories. Talk about the skills
and knowledge you use every day in your job. Every time you talk about your salary, your workday
highs and lows, your selection of work clothes - you send a message to your children about work. Be
positive. Whether you realize it or not, you are passing on important work values. These values will last
a lifetime.
7. Use everyday life activities to provide opportunities for your children to develop important life
and work skills.
Encourage your children to be involved in activities that develop skills or knowledge. Begin with
household chores to learn about responsibility and consequences. Volunteering and part-time jobs help
develop reliability, decision-making, and self-respect. Music, sports, dance, and art expand self-
awareness and knowledge about the world. Discuss what they are learning in these activities, what they
like or dislike about them, and how they might want to use the skills they are learning in the future.
8. Encourage your children to make the most of career-related learning activities in school and the
Schools want to connect school to life so our students understand the importance of what they are
studying. In Oregon, students must complete various career-related learning activities to earn their
diplomas. Activities may include interest inventories, career research, education planning, job shadows,
service learning, work experience, and classroom projects tied into real life issues. Learn about and
support these efforts. Talk about them with your children - help make them more than requirements on a
9. Believe that education after high school is possible and important for your children.
College is not for everyone nor is it necessary for all jobs. However, it is fair to say that most people
need some type of training beyond a high school degree. You may feel that you are not in the position to
help your children with college or training. Despite rising costs, not all postsecondary training is that
expensive, and there are many ways families and students can get help. Commit to working together -
your children to do well in school, and you to help in any way you can to support their dreams.
10. Have high expectations.
Set goals realistically but expect hard work and discipline. Make sure your children attend school. Ask
them about homework, and verify that assignments are completed. Encourage them to take challenging
courses. Help them overcome discouragement when they aren't able to reach a goal. Celebrate their
Your positive, proactive involvement is an important factor in your children's successes in school and work.
Keep in mind that the career decision is each child's, not yours, to make. If you are listening, observing, and
being involved, you will understand their paths and will want to be a part of making their dreams reality.

Research some career plans at:

Ingredients of career planning
First, let's be clear about what career planning is not! Career planning is not answering the question, "What do I
want to be when I grow up?"
 Career planning is a lifelong process.
 Career planning involves using a set of career planning skills that must be learned.
 Career planning helps organize one's thinking about one's self, education, work, and other life roles.
 Career planning is proactive even in the face of unplanned events.
Career plans answer these questions:
1. Who am I?
The more your children know about themselves, the better choices they will make. Help them imagine
their dreams and reflect on their beliefs. Encourage them to express their talents and explore their
interests. Support them in learning more about themselves as they experience new things.
2. Where am I going?
As your children articulate their dreams, help them connect those dreams to reality and their future. This
means learning more about the world of work and setting goals that will help them test out their dreams.
As they learn more, their dreams may change. Change is an important aspect of the career development
3. How do I get there?
School is an important time for developing talents and skills into valuable assets. Assist your children in
understanding how they can reach their goals and why school is important. Learn together about the
requirements for occupations and career paths they are interested in. Consider how these requirements
are supported through required academic coursework, elective classes, extracurricular activities, career-
related learning, and work experiences.
4. What are my next steps?
A career plan looks at all possible avenues for achieving one's goals. Help your children create a plan,
with specific activities and actions, to work toward their goals. Encourage your children to be thoughtful
about all of their experiences and reflect on how they reinforce or detract from their goals.
5. Where am I now?
Career planning is a process, a cycle. Unplanned events will affect choices and possibilities. Your
children need to consider their progress regularly along the way and make adjustments as needed. This
may lead them to learn more about themselves, have new aspirations, set new goals, and research new
dreams. With each change, they should return to these five questions and make sure their goals and
action plans are on target.
There a many ways to organize the process of career planning, but one of the simplest focuses on three principle
 Self-knowledge
 Knowledge of the world of work and education
 Decision making and goal setting

Indicators for middle school students
Develop understanding of self and maintain a positive self-concept.
 Describe aspects of self-concept.
 Identify interests, likes, and dislikes.
 Identify and demonstrate use of abilities, strengths, skills, and talents.
 Identify work values and needs.
 Recognize that behaviors and attitudes affect the self-concept of others.
 Recognize that situations, attitudes, and the behaviors of others affect one's self-concept.
 Recognize that self-concept can affect educational achievement.
 Demonstrate behaviors and seek experiences that build and maintain a positive self-concept.
 Give examples of demonstrating positive personal characteristics, such as honesty, dependability,
responsibility, integrity, and loyalty.
Develop positive interpersonal skills including respect for diversity.
 Identify and demonstrate effective communication skills.
 Identify sources of outside pressure and demonstrate the ability to handle it.
 Demonstrate interaction with others that is honest, fair, helpful, and respectful.
 Demonstrate the ability to use positive social skills, such as good manners and showing gratitude.
 Demonstrate the ability to get along well with others and work effectively with them in groups.
 Demonstrate the ability to resolve conflicts and to negotiate acceptable solutions.
 Give examples of times when one's behavior was appropriate and times when one's behavior was
inappropriate in specific school, social, and work situations.
 Demonstrate knowledge about, respect for, openness to, and appreciation for all kinds of human
Integrate personal growth and change into one's career development.
 Recognize that growth and changes throughout life will impact one's career development.
 Demonstrate good health habits.
Balance personal, leisure, community, learner, family and work roles.
 Recognize that people have many life roles.
 Recognize that people must balance life roles and that there are many ways to do it.
 Recognize that life roles and lifestyle are connected.
Attain educational achievement and performance levels needed to reach personal and career goals.
 Recognize the importance of educational achievement and performance to the attainment of personal
and career goals.
 Describe the importance of having a plan to improve educational achievement and performance.
 Recognize and show that educational achievement and performance can expand workplace options.
 Describe how personal attitudes and behaviors can impact educational achievement and performance.
 Demonstrate strategies to improve educational achievement and performance.
 Demonstrate acquisition of study skills and learning habits that promote educational achievement and
Participate in learning experiences to enhance ability to function effectively in a diverse and changing
 Recognize that changes in the economy require people to acquire and update knowledge and skills
throughout life.
 Recognize the importance of being an independent learner and taking responsibility for one's learning.
 Describe the requirements for transition from middle school to high school.
 Identify specific education/training programs, such as high school career learning areas, college majors,
apprenticeship programs.
 Identify types of learning experiences available after high school graduation, for example two and four-
year colleges, technical schools, apprenticeships, the military, on-line courses, and on-the-job training.
 Demonstrate the knowledge and skills necessary for transition from middle school to high school.
 Describe informal learning experiences that contribute to lifelong learning.
Create and manage a career plan that meets one's career goals.
 Recognize that career planning is a life long process.
 Recognize that changes in the economy require people to acquire and update knowledge and skills
throughout life.
 Describe how to develop a career plan.
 Identify short-term and long-term career goals including education, employment, and lifestyle goals.
Use a process of decision-making as one component of career development.
 Describe decision making style, for example, risk-taker or cautious.
 Demonstrate the use of a decision-making model.
 Describe how information about one's self, the economy, and education programs can improve decision-
 Identify alternative options and potential consequences for a specific decision.
 Recognize that personal priorities, culture, beliefs, and work values can affect decision-making.
 Describe how education, work, and family experiences might impact decisions.
 Describe how biases and stereotypes can limit decisions.
 Recognize that chance can play a role in decision-making.
 Recognize that decision-making often involves compromise.
Use accurate, current, and unbiased career information during career planning and management.
 Recognize that career information includes occupational, education and training, employment, and
economic information and that there is a range of career information resources available.
 Identify several ways to classify occupations.
 Identify occupations to consider without regard to gender, race, culture, or ability.
 Identify the advantages and disadvantages of being employed in a non-traditional occupation.
 Demonstrate the ability to use different types of career information resources to support career planning.
Master academic, occupational, and general employability skills in order to prepare for work and
education in the future.
 Describe academic, occupational, and general employability skills.
 Recognize that a variety of skills and personal qualities - such as critical thinking, problem solving,
resource, information, and technology management, interpersonal skills, honesty, and dependability - are
important to success in school and employment and demonstrate the attainment of these.
 Identify and demonstrate job seeking skills such as the ability to write a resume and cover letter,
complete a job application, interview for a job, and find and pursue employment leads.
 Recognize that many skills are transferable from one occupation to another.
Integrate changing employment trends, societal needs, and economic conditions into career plans.
 Identify societal needs that affect career plans.
 Identify economic conditions that affect career plans.
 Identify employment trends that affect career plans.

After School Programs: Students can stay after school for two hours to learn more about the STEM field they
are interested in.
Robotics Club:
Robotics is the branch of mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and computer science that deals with
the design, construction, operation, and application of robots,
as well as computer systems for their control,
sensory feedback, and information processing. Students will learn the science behind designing and creating
robots. If you student is interested in electrical, computer, or robotic engineering this is the perfect way for them
to begin learning more about this fascinating career path.
Chemical Engineering Club:
Chemical engineering deals with the design, construction, and operation of plants and machinery for making
such products as acids, dyes, drugs, plastics, and synthetic rubber by adapting the chemical reactions discovered
by the laboratory chemist to large-scale production. The chemical engineer must be familiar with both
chemistry and mechanical engineering. In this club students will dive into chemistry and explore chemicals and
machines that chemists use. The club will help them to advance their chemistry skills. If your student is
interested in any science field, especially medicine, this club will help them to prepare for rigorous programs
they will take in college.
Sylvan Health Science Program: Level 1 & Level 2
Health science is the branch of biology that focuses on human health and nutrition. In this club students will
learn more about health professions such as nursing, medicine, and research from trained professionals. If your
student is interested in entering into a medical field this club is an excellent opportunity for your child to gain
experience in health science that will prepare them for college. Students must complete Level 1 before they can
move on to Level 2.