6 Best Pediatric Residency Programs (Key Info & Data)

Pediatrics is a very popular medical specialty, undoubtedly encouraged by its $208,000 median salary and its 3-year training program.

Focused on improving the medical care of infants, children, and adolescents, it’s also an important one.

The best pediatrics residency programs offer those interested in the specialty the greatest training possible in the field and boast some of the finest pediatricians on earth as alumni. But they are competitive; even with 3200 pediatric residency spots being available in the US!

This article takes a look at the top 6 programs in the country (as ranked by the US News Best Grad Schools Report 2022), taking a deep dive into what’s offered by each and what you can expect if you’re lucky enough to match.

We’ve also included key info on facts/stats for each program (where publicized) too.

Ready to get started? Let’s go.

Before you dive into our article on the best pediatric residency programs, make sure you take a look out our Best Residency Programs page to get all the critical info on other specialty offerings.

1. University of Pennsylvania (Perelman)/CHOP

Length of Accredited Training:3
Positions By Year:57/58/45
Total Number of Residents:N/A
PGY1 Annual Salary:$64,270

U.S. News consistently ranks the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), located on Penn’s campus, among the best in the nation for its pediatrics residency program. This Pediatrics Residency Program is a three-year program open to applicants who have completed one year of formal, post-graduate training in a U.S. hospital.

The curriculum is well balanced between general pediatrics and subspecialty education. As a result, every trainee builds a solid foundation. And during the first year, residents choose a training path between Acute Care, Medical Subspecialty Care, Primary Care, and Hospital Medicine.

First-year interns (PL-1) take primary call from the floor, under the supervision of second and third-year residents (PL-2 and PL-3). As the year progresses, PL-1s begin to take responsibility for the floor pager in addition to primary patient responsibility.

The PL-2 year focuses on assessing and managing critically ill children. In addition, PL-2s take on a leadership role supervising and teaching interns and medical students. PL-3s further develop their patient management, teaching, and leadership skills. They take an active role in the professional development of PL-1s.

CHOP has a ton of interesting testimonials focused on its pediatrics residency program over on YouTube. Check out the video below for a quick introduction to their program…


  • Name: Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
  • Location: 3401 Civic Center Blvd., Philadelphia, PA 19104
  • Program director: Jeanine Ronan
  • Contact: 215-590-1221
  • Website: chop.edu/pediatric-residency-program

2. Harvard University/Massachusetts General Hospital

Length of Accredited Training:3
Positions By Year:17/17/13
Total Number of Residents:116
PGY1 Annual Salary:$68,000

The Massachusetts General Hospital Pediatric Residency Program trains pediatricians to practice innovative and evidence-based medicine. The emphasis is on graduated autonomy and individualized training.

The Pediatric Residency Program offers a three-year categorical pediatrics program. It also provides a one-year preliminary pediatrics program before advanced training programs, such as dermatology, radiology, or anesthesiology.

At Mass General Hospital for Children, the program doesn’t track residents into pre-defined pathways. Instead, residents explore their diverse interests and can choose their subspecialty electives and create their curriculum rotations.

No two residents have the same experience because three months of training can be completely self-designed. And some have chosen to embark on a pediatric care rotation on a ship hospital in Cambodia or create an emergency medicine curriculum for a residency program in rural Kenya.

For more on Mass General’s residency programs, check out the video below…


  • Name: Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Location: 55 Fruit Street, Boston, MA  02114
  • Program director: Shannon Scott-Vernaglia
  • Contact: 617-726-2687
  • Website: massgeneral.org/pediatric-residency

3. University of Cincinnati/Cincinnati Children’s Hospital

Length of Accredited Training:4
Positions By Year:42/41/37
Total Number of Residents:267
PGY1 Annual Salary:$58,305

The pediatrics residency at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center is one of the most competitive in the country. And as one of the largest pediatric hospitals in the nation, its residents gain unparalleled experience during their training. Indeed, they get to experience rotations that cover the spectrum of pediatric care.

During the PL-1 year, interns are responsible for the direct care of patients admitted. They’re the first to evaluate and initiate proper therapy for patients experiencing problems, while senior residents provide backup and are readily available to answer questions.

PL-2 and PL-3 residents become active leaders, educating interns and medical students. They directly supervise patient care and continue developing their clinical skills with sub-specialty electives and rotations through the emergency department and intensive care units.

Cincinnati Children’s offers six pathways for residents to individualize their training experience through six months of protected rotations. With hands-on experiences, each pathway thoroughly prepares residents for situations they will encounter in their careers. Residents can also choose to engage in dedicated research electives.

Find out more about their program in the video below…


  • Location: 3333 BURNET AVENUE, CINCINNATI, OHIO 45229-3026
  • Program director: Sue Poynter Wong
  • Contact: (513) 636-4314
  • Website: cincinnatichildrens.org/residency

4. Johns Hopkins University

Length of Accredited Training:4
Positions By Year:22
Total Number of Residents:N/A
PGY1 Annual Salary:$57,160

The Harriet Lane Pediatric Residency Program at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center is a three-year categorical program. And each year is designed to meet specific training goals.

The PL-1 year focuses on mastering clinical skills. This includes obtaining histories and performing physical exams. During most rotations, interns are paired with PL-3 residents and actively contribute to the treatment plan through their medical knowledge.

As PL-2s gain confidence in their clinical judgment, their independence in decision-making is increasing. PL-3 residents see their clinical, teaching, and leadership skills develop further. They are also responsible for guiding the interns and medical students on their teams.

The program offers two learning tracks. The Global Health Track prepares pediatric leaders for the field of global health, aiming to eliminate health disparities. Residents in this track dedicate at least two months of elective time to international rotations.

Residents engaged in the Health Equity Track receive additional mentorship and advocacy skill-building opportunities. As part of their individualized learning plan, they’re also required to develop a scholarly capstone project related to underserved urban populations.

See the video below for more on the program…


5. University of California San Francisco

Length of Accredited Training:3
Positions By Year:29
Total Number of Residents:NA
PGY1 Annual Salary:$62,487

In the UCSF Pediatrics Residency Program, medical school graduates match into one of the five programs offered. 

The Categorical Program prepares residents for any field of general or subspecialty pediatrics. This path is best suited to applicants interested in primary care, traditional academic, and subspecialty careers. Residents can follow the General Track, which is the core training program, or explore different career options through either the Primary Care track or the Subspecialty Pediatrics track.

The innovative Pediatric Leaders Advancing Health Equity (PLUS) program trains pediatricians to lead change in the health care system. Graduates with specialized interests can also enter the Child Neurology, Molecular Medicine, and Medical Genetics and Genomics Programs.

During the first year of training, residents engaged in these tracks can build on their passions by participating in one of four interest-specific Pathways: Global Health Scholars, Clinical and Translational Science, Health Professions Education, or Health Equity and Racial Justice.

The video below provides more info on UCSF’s pediatrics residency program…


6. University of Colorado

Length of Accredited Training:3
Positions By Year:3434/30
Total Number of Residents:N/A
PGY1 Annual Salary:$66,223

Residents of the Pediatric Residency Program at the University of Colorado are trained at Children’s Hospital Colorado, Denver Health, and University of Colorado Hospital. Because these training sites complement each other, they offer residents a broad experience in pediatric care.

Four different pathways are available to graduates who match at the residency program. One of them is the Primary Care Pathway, which prepares participants for general pediatric practice. In addition to the core curriculum, primary care residents can tailor their practice opportunities with twenty-three custom electives.

Residents selected for the Global Health Pathway spend two months at an affiliated site in Guatemala. They also participate in a global health disasters course once during residency.

Meanwhile, residents interested in teaching and academic medicine can join the Medical Education Pathway. The three main components of this pathway are experiences in medical education, scholarship, and mentorship.

And, after taking the Colorado Urban Health Equity Advocacy Leadership Pathway, residents are equipped to address the many challenges faced by underserved communities.

The video below provides further info on Colorado’s pediatrics residency program…


How Do Pediatrics Residency Programs Work?

Training in pediatrics involves completing four years of graduate medical education first before moving on to dedicated pediatrics residency programs.

The specialty is one of the least competitive in the US. The average USMLE Step 1 score of individuals matching into peds is 228, while the average USMLE Step 2CK score is 245.

Residency pathways in pediatrics are diverse but are typically divided up into the following groups:

  • Global Health: often involving foreign placements
  • Medical Education: focused on teaching, medical education and academic medicine
  • Primary Care: preparing residents for work in primary care

Residency programs for pediatrics have around a 97-98% match rate.

After residency common subspecialties (fellowships) pursued include hematology/oncology, intensive care (ICU), cardiology, gastroenterology and emergency medicine.

How Many Pediatrics Residency Programs Are There?

There are over 200 pediatrics residency training programs accredited by the ACGME.

The examples above are considered the finest offered among those programs in the US and are ranked on criteria via peer assessment, residency director assessment, student selectivity, the mean MCAT score for the institution, the mean GPA of its matriculants, faculty resources, research activity and more.

The exact methodology is detailed in the U.S. News Best Medical Schools Rankings pages

How to Get Accepted Into a Top Pediatrics Residency Program

Gaining admission into the top pediatric residency programs involves submitting a competitive application via ERAS, The Electronic Residency Application Service.

This is a centralized online application service that you’ll need to use in order to “match” into the programs above.

Most programs begin reading applications over the first couple of weeks of autumn/fall and invite applicants to interview in the weeks following.

Generally, pediatric residency program applications include the following:

  • A completed ERAS application
  • Personal statement/s
  • Supplemental statement/s (where requested)
  • Letters of recommendation from pediatricians (usually following the SLOR format)
  • A full, official medical school transcript
  • Your USMLE Step 1/COMLEX transcripts
  • Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE)

Selection criteria are specific for each program but commonly applicants are scored on a combination of grades, clinical and research experiences, special interests, and anything else pediatric departments/programs find relevant.

To be competitive, and stand a chance at matching into the best pediatrics programs, you’re going to need great Step 1 and Step 2 scores, a strong MSPE, and a solid letter of recommendation.


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