To (1) analyze the financial returns of fellowship training in pediatrics and to compare them with those generated from a career in general pediatrics and (2) evaluate the effects of including the newly enacted federal loan-repayment program and of changing the length of fellowship training.
Although the choice to enter fellowship is based on many factors, economic considerations are important. We are not aware of any study that has focused on the financial impact of fellowship training in pediatrics.
Using standard financial techniques, we estimated the financial returns that a graduating pediatric resident might anticipate from additional fellowship training followed by a career as a pediatric subspecialist and compared them with the returns that might be expected from starting a career as a general pediatrician immediately after residency.
The financial returns of pediatric fellowship training varied greatly depending on which subspecialty fellowship was chosen. Pursuing a fellowship in most pediatric subspecialties was a negative financial decision when compared with pursuing no fellowship at all and practicing as a general pediatrician. Incorporating the federal loan-repayment program targeted toward pediatric subspecialists and decreasing the length of fellowship training from 3 to 2 years would substantially increase the financial returns of the pediatric subspecialties.
Pediatric subspecialization yielded variable financial returns. The results from this study can be helpful to current pediatric residents as they contemplate their career options. In addition, our study may be valuable to policy makers evaluating health care reform and pediatric workforce-allocation issues.