Finding the best pediatric residency program can be quite challenging, given the variety of options available across the US and Canada. Pediatrics involves caring for and treating the physical, emotional, and social health concerns of neonates, infants, adolescents, children, and young adults. If this is a specialty that interests you and has inspired you to apply to one of the best pediatric residency programs, this is where you need to be. Medical schools in the US follow the ERAS timeline, while medical schools in Canada follow the CaRMS timeline.
In this article, we will look at some of the best pediatric residency programs across the US and Canada, what makes them stand out, as well as tips on how to match with programs.
>>Want us to help you get accepted? Schedule a free strategy call here.<<
Listen to the blog!
List of Best Pediatric Residency Programs
- Pediatric Residency Program at University of Pennsylvania Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP)
- Pediatrics-Medical Genetics Residency Training Program at Children’s Hospital/Boston Medical Center
- Pediatric Residency Training Program at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital
- Core Paediatric Resident Program at University of Toronto
- General Pediatric Residency Training Program at University of British Columbia
- Pediatric Residency Program at Massachusetts General Hospital
- Pediatric Residency Program (MacPeds) at McMaster University
- The Harriet Lane Pediatric Residency Program at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
- General Pediatrics Core Residency Program at McGill University
- Pediatric Residency Program at University of California San Francisco
- UW Pediatric Residency Training at University of Washington
- General Pediatrics at University of Calgary
- Pediatric Residency Program at University of Colorado
- Pediatrics Residency at Duke University School of Medicine
- General Pediatrics Residency Program at University of Alberta Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry
Want to learn common residency interview questions? Watch this video:
What Makes a Residency Program the Best?
While there is no conclusive answer to this question, there are quite a lot of factors that can determine which residency program is the best for you. A program that fulfills all the criterion for one student may not check all the boxes for another student, which makes the phrase “best residency program” quite subjective.
When it comes to what makes a program stand out, it could be the variety of facilities, the faculty members, affiliate hospitals, comprehensive curriculum, suitability to the student’s goals, focus on research, potential outcomes, urban vs rural residency locations, and more. This is a decision that will require some introspection and looking at a few of the best pediatric residency programs should help you make your decision.
Best Pediatric Residency Programs in the US
In the US, the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS) is used for applying to residency programs. It is a centralized online application service that allows applicants to deliver their application, along with supporting documents, to residency programs. The matching for the residency program is done by the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP).
1. Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania
The University of Pennsylvania campus houses the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), which offers a three-year pediatric residency program under its Department of Pediatrics. It is accredited by the Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). The program aims to produce pediatricians who embrace the core values of CHOP: accountability, compassion, excellence, integrity, and respect.
At CHOP, all residents are offered faculty appointments as instructors in the School of Medicine. The program follows the X+Y scheduling model, which means a six-week + two-week structure. The X (six weeks) includes ED, ICU rotations, and floor rotations. The Y (two weeks) includes an academic half-day, continuity clinic time, longitudinal advocacy time, and longitudinal individualized educational units (IEUs).
The PL1 year teaches students about the typical child, variations of normal, and recognition of sick patients. PL2 year has a core focus on assessing and managing critically ill children. The third or PL3 year focuses on improving a resident’s patient management, teaching, and leadership skills. There are research opportunities in basic science, clinical, improvement science, medical education, health disparities, health services, health policy, and other fields. Residents get to be active participants in the program’s research efforts.
There are three special training tracks within the program, which include the Physician-Scientist Program (PSP), Global Health Track, and Leadership in Equity, Advocacy, and Policy (LEAP) Track. The PSP offers multiple pathway options to residents, as follows:
Traditional (3+3): 6 years
- Residency for 3 years (3 clinical)
- Fellowship: 3 years (1 clinical, 2 research)
- Research time: 2 years (during fellowship)
Modified Traditional (3+3): 6 years
- Residency: 3 years (3 clinical except for 3 research elective blocks)
- Fellowship: 3 years (1 clinical, 2 research)
- Research time: 2.25 years (0.25 during residency, 2 during fellowship)
Accelerated Research Pathway (2+4)
- Residency: 2 years (2 clinical)
- Fellowship: 4 years (1 clinical, 3 research)
- Research time: 3 years (all during fellowship)
Integrated Research Pathway (1+2+3)
- Residency: 3 years (2 clinical, 1 research)
- Fellowship: 3 years (1 clinical, 2 research)
- Research time: 3 years (1 during residency, 2 during fellowship)
The Global Health Track helps residents understand the principles related to health care of children in developing countries. Note that every year, only one first-year resident position is offered for the global health track application. Residents get global health faculty mentorship, at least two 4-week clinical rotations at an international site, and opportunities to take part in global health educational sessions.
The LEAP Track is designed for emerging agents of change in areas of pediatric equity, advocacy, and policy. It gives residents the foundational skills necessary to ensure that they use their platform to advance issues of pediatric equity, advocacy, and policy for marginalized children, families, and communities.
At the end of their training, CHOP residents can pursue a subspecialty fellowship or a career in academic general pediatrics or in primary care pediatrics, including academic and general practice. A majority of residents (44%) go for a subspecialty fellowship, while 36% choose a career in academic general pediatrics. The remaining 20% typically pursue a career in primary care pediatrics.
Along with the diverse patient experience offered at CHOP, the pediatric residency program stands out due to the support given to residents. The department chairs, chief administrators, and faculty believe in taking and implementing feedback from residents using mentoring systems, regular housestaff meetings, resident representation on committees, annual retreats, and more. Residents at CHOP consistently report that they feel supported by their peers and administrators, according to the hospital.
Want to know the most competitive and least competitive residencies? Watch this video:
2. Children’s Hospital/Boston Medical Center
The Boston Combined Residency Program in Pediatrics and the Harvard Medical School Residency Program in Medical Genetics together offer the Pediatrics-Medical Genetics Residency Training Program. It is a four-year program in pediatrics and medical genetics. The combined nature of this program gives residents access to one of the leading pediatric subspecialty and research hospitals as well as one of the leading centers in urban pediatrics and patient advocacy.
The Pediatric training included in this program is designed to make sure that the resident can effectively care for infants, children, and adolescents. Half of this training is in an ambulatory setting, which includes rotations in oncology, emergency medicine, child development, well baby nursery, adolescent medicine, renal medicine, pulmonary, and gastroenterology, among other fields. The Medical Genetics training covers dysmorphology, inborn errors of metabolism, prenatal diagnosis, genomics, adult genetic disease, and cancer genetics.
Over the course of three years, residents will get six months of an individualized curriculum, which includes three months of the Academic Development Block and three months of other relevant rotations. It offers two tracks: the Categorical Track and the Leadership in Equity and Advocacy Track.
The Categorial Track is for students who want to pursue academic general or specialty pediatrics. They are educated in principles of academic leadership throughout the program. It also has options for two research tracks: the Integrated Research Pathway (IRP) and Accelerated Research Pathway (ARP). The IRP allows residents with MD/PhDs to combine 24 months of clinical residency with up to 12 months of research, beginning after the PL-1 year. The ARP allows residents to complete their training in two years, but they must add an extra year of research as a fellow.
The Leadership in Equity and Advocacy (LEAD) Track is designed for students who wish to become leaders in pediatrics dedicating their careers to health equity and advocacy. It focuses on how sociodemographic and physical environment features affect health.
There is also a Global Health Pathway, but only three residents are chosen for it each year, following a competitive application process.
Residents will experience working at Boston Children’s Hospital, where they will participate in inpatient and outpatient care for three months. They will also get to spend time at Massachusetts General Hospital and two months rotating through Brigham and Women’s Hospital, the Veteran’s Hospital, and Dana Farber Cancer Institute. This Pediatrics-Medical Genetics Residency Training Program offers the opportunity for a wide range of hands-on experience in pediatrics.
What makes this program stand out is the fact that residents get access to the combined resources of the Boston Combined Residency Program in Pediatrics and the Harvard Medical School Residency Program in Medical Genetics. Not only do residents spend time at Boston Children’s Hospital and Boston Medical Center, they also get to spend time at leading hospitals like Massachusetts General Hospital and carry out their research in the Harvard Medical School system.
3. Cincinnati Children’s Hospital University of Cincinnati
The Cincinnati Children’s Hospital offers a Pediatric Residency Training Program that aims to provide broad and rigorous exposure to general and subspecialty patients, research and quality improvement opportunities, strong mentorship, and a supportive environment. The core categorical pediatric residency, along with several combined training programs, delivers a breadth of experience in general pediatrics and various subspecialties.
The PL-1 year focuses on broad practical experiences in inpatient and ambulatory settings. PL-2 and PL-3 years focus on further strengthening clinical skills. Residents take on subspecialty electives and rotate through the emergency department and intensive care units (ICU).
This three-year program offers six unique pathways for the six months of protected rotations every student must cover:
These unique pathways for career development make the Pediatric Residency Training Program at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital stand out. These Individualized Residency Pathways are part of the six-month protected rotations offered by the program.
Best Pediatric Residency Programs in Canada
Canada uses the Canadian Resident Matching Service (CaRMS), a not-for-profit organization and residency match service that provides a computer-based match for students to enter a residency program of their choice. The application process also includes creating an ROL or residency rank order list.
1. University of Toronto
The Core Pediatric Resident Program offered at the University of Toronto is designed to produce residents who excel in patient care, education, and scientific investigation. It boasts a diverse resident population from around the world that is dedicated not only to patients, but to the program as well. It also gives residents the opportunity to experience working with diverse patient populations owing to the multiculturalism of Toronto. The Core Pediatric Resident Program faculty believes in student feedback and supporting residents as they deal with complex patients.
This four-year program is designed to offer core knowledge in Adolescent Medicine, Care of the Newborn, Community Pediatrics, Pediatric Emergency, and other subjects. The second year offers pediatric subspecialty experience in pediatric cardiology, endocrinology, oncology, neurology, gastroenterology/clinical nutrition, and developmental pediatrics, among others. The third year focuses on graded responsibility and supervisory experiences in a CTU setting, while the fourth year offers general pediatrics training.
Residents also get the opportunity to work at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, which is among the biggest pediatric care hospitals in the country. They get to see common pediatric problems in large numbers, which makes them more efficient and proficient. Along with the Hospital for Sick Children, Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation, Michael Garron Hospital, and North York General Hospital are some of the other training sites that residents may be exposed to.
Part of the curriculum is a Competence Committee that evaluates each resident’s progress twice a year. At the beginning of each year, pediatric residents must write the In-Training Examination of the American Board of Pediatrics. MCQ and SAQ examinations are organized during the academic half-day twice a year. Once a year, there is a 10-station OSCE. Toward the end of each rotation, electronic In-Training Evaluation Reports (ITERs) are sent to supervisors. The faculty also uses clinical skills and work-based assessments to evaluate residents and help them improve.
The friendly atmosphere is what the current residents of the Core Paediatric Residency Program appreciate, as shared in testimonials. They feel supported by the faculty and have a sense of family as part of their residency. Even though it gives residents access to one of the largest pediatric hospitals in Canada, the learning environment is very warm and supportive, which makes this program stand out. The resident engagement committee also organizes social functions, including a baseball game, holiday party, annual fundraising gala, and many other activities, thereby creating a wholesome learning environment.
2. University of British Columbia
The University of British Columbia offers a General Pediatric Residency Training Program under its Department of Pediatrics. This four-year program, and the department as a whole, has a strong focus on social pediatrics and care of vulnerable children and youth. Residents get the opportunity to work on local health advocacy projects, participate in outreach programs, as well as take part in global child health initiatives. It also has partnerships with multiple countries including Australia and South Africa.
The four-year program curriculum follows the Royal College’s Competence By Design (CBD) required and recommended training experiences for pediatrics. The four stages of CBD are spread over four years, and residents can choose to apply to a subspecialty after completion. These include Transition to Discipline, Foundations, Core, and Transition to Practice. During the Transition to Discipline stage, residents will get to spend four weeks at BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver. The Foundations stage involves 10 weeks spent at BC Children’s Hospital and/or in a rural center. As part of the Core stage, residents are educated in Neonatal care: level II-III nursery, pediatric intensive care, emergency medicine BCCH, psychosocial, anesthesia, and two electives. The Transition to Practice stage involves becoming a junior consultant, exposure to emergency medicine BCCH, complex care BCCH, two subspecialty “selectives,” and five electives.
The first three stages include exposure to acute care and ambulatory pediatrics as well as the subspecialties. The foundational education for a junior resident includes CTU, night float, community general pediatrics, neonatal care: level II NICU and community level III NICU, as well as subspecialties.
A strong focus is put on research as well. The research program is fully integrated into the General Pediatric Residency Training Program and all residents have to work on basic science, clinical, or medical education research. They will also get to present their research at Celebrate Research Day or at a conference. There is also a resident Journal Club that exposes residents to clinical research methodologies and critical appraisal of the literature.
The program’s focus on research is what makes it stand out among the rest. If you are looking to participate in research or carry out your own, the University of British Columbia’s General Pediatric Residency Training Program would be ideal for you.
Tips to Match With the Best Pediatric Residency Programs
You can work on the individual components of your application to improve your chances of getting matched with either a US or Canadian medical school. This means working on your residency CV, personal statement or residency letter of intent, letters of recommendation, Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE), and medical licensing exam scores. Additionally, understanding what residency program directors look for will help you work on the various aspects of your application for a more targeted approach.
Make sure your residency CV shows your academic background in reverse chronological order. State your employment history, including volunteer work, extracurriculars, research, awards, publications, and elective experiences. You can curate a strong CV by benefitting from residency CV editing help.
To prepare a strong personal statement, take a look at some pediatrics personal statement examples, as these will help you decide how to frame your statement. You need to highlight your commitment to the field and state any personal experiences that influenced you to pursue pediatrics. Mention relevant details about your academic and/or professional achievements. You can also give a brief about your goals and aspirations.
Letters of recommendation
ERAS letters of recommendation, or CaRMS reference letters, are a very important part of your residency program application. The number of letters of recommendation required can vary depending on the medical school. Generally, students are required to submit three letters. This means you need to choose your referees smartly as the first step in getting a strong letter of recommendation. Make sure you ask your referees well ahead of time, which should be 2–3 months before starting your residency application. The letters should highlight traits and skills that show your competency for the field of pediatrics.
Medical Student Performance Evaluation
The MSPE tells the admissions committee of the candidate’s noteworthy characteristics, academic history, academic progress, summary, and school information. You can work toward improving your clinical performance by receiving feedback from performance evaluators or supervisors and implementing it in your work.
Getting a high USMLE score will greatly help your application, which means you should start preparing for the USMLE Step 1 exam as soon as you enter medical school.
An interview is part of both the ERAS and CaRMS application processes. It helps the admissions committee select the perfect candidate for their program based on a face-to-face interaction, be it physical or virtual. The interview can make or break your chances of getting selected for a residency of your choice. As part of your ERAS interview prep or CaRMS interview prep, a great way to stand out from the competition and gain confidence is to participate in residency mock interviews. The committee will be assessing your communication skills, interpersonal skills, professionalism, and more, so make sure you share experiences that highlight these skills. You should also review different pediatric residency interview questions to get a better idea of what can be asked.
1. What are the components of the ERAS application?
The ERAS includes your curriculum vitae (CV), letters of recommendation, personal statement, medical school transcripts, Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE), and Licensing exam transcript.
2. What curriculum structure does CHOP follow?
CHOP follows the X+Y scheduling model, which means a six-week + two-week structure. The six weeks include ED, ICU rotations, and floor rotations, while the two weeks include an academic half-day, continuity clinic time, longitudinal advocacy time, and longitudinal individualized educational units (IEUs).
3. What’s unique about the Pediatrics-Medical Genetics Residency Training Program?
The Pediatrics-Medical Genetics Residency Training Program offers the combined resources of Boston Combined Residency Program in Pediatrics and the Harvard Medical School Residency Program in Medical Genetics.
4. Does Canada have a centralized application process for residency programs?
Yes, Canada follows the CaRMS system, a one-stop shop for applying and matching with your preferred residency program.
5. How many letters of recommendation are required by Cincinnati Children’s Hospital for the pediatric residency program?
The Cincinnati Children’s Hospital asks for three letters of recommendation.
6. How can I improve my chances of getting matched?
You can improve your chances of getting matched by working on the individual components of your application, such as your residency CV, personal statement or residency letter of intent, letters of recommendation, Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE), and medical licensing exam scores. Prepare for your interview by taking mock interviews and familiarizing yourself with some sample questions and answers.
7. What does a Supplemental ERAS Application entail?
There are 16 specialties that use the Supplemental ERAS Application. It is a short application that includes a candidate’s geographic information, information about their most meaningful work, volunteer or research experiences, and program preferences.
8. Which medical school offers a three-year pediatric residency?
The University of Pennsylvania Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, and Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis are some of the medical schools that offer a three-year pediatric residency program.
Like our blog? Write for us! >>
Have a question? Ask our admissions experts below and we'll answer your questions!