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Pediatrician vs. Pediatrist: What's the Difference?

Edited by Harlon Moss || By Janet White || Updated on October 27, 2023
A "Pediatrician" is a medical doctor specializing in children's health, while "Pediatrist" is an archaic term rarely used today, often mistaken for "Podiatrist," a foot specialist.

Key Differences

"Pediatrician" and "Pediatrist" are terms within the medical field, but their usage and recognition vary significantly. A Pediatrician is a recognized and frequently used term, referring to a doctor specializing in the health and diseases of children and adolescents. In contrast, "Pediatrist" is a term that is seldom used today.
The practice of a Pediatrician encompasses a wide range of health services for children, from preventive health care to the diagnosis and treatment of acute and chronic diseases. On the other hand, "Pediatrist" has often been mistakenly used in place of "Podiatrist," a doctor who specializes in foot care.
While the prefix "Ped-" typically relates to children, as seen in words like "Pedagogy" (the method and practice of teaching children), it's essential to be aware of the specific terminology in medical contexts. In the case of "Pediatrist," its limited use and potential confusion with other medical terms make it less prevalent in modern medicine.
Conclusively, when referring to a medical professional who caters to the health needs of children, "Pediatrician" is the accurate and universally accepted term. On the contrary, "Pediatrist" should be approached with caution due to its archaic nature and potential for confusion.
Therefore, it's always recommended to use "Pediatrician" when discussing child health specialists and ensure that "Pediatrist" is not mistakenly used in place of other medical terms, like "Podiatrist."

Comparison Chart

Field of Specialization

Children's health
Archaic term; not in regular use

Common Usage

Frequently used
Rarely used

Relation to Other Terms

Distinct and recognized
Often confused with "Podiatrist"

Medical Recognition

Recognized medical specialty
Not a recognized medical specialty

Contextual Application

Pediatrics (branch of medicine)
Lacks a specific context in modern medicine

Pediatrician and Pediatrist Definitions


A medical doctor specializing in children's health.
The parents consulted the pediatrician about their son's fever.


Historically, someone who might have been involved in child care.
The pediatrist in the old texts might have been a caretaker or healer.


A specialist in the medical field of pediatrics.
The pediatrician recommended annual check-ups for the child.


An older term, often mistakenly used in place of pediatrician.
They were looking for a pediatrist, but they actually meant a pediatrician.


A medical professional trained in child health care.
The pediatrician provided guidance on child nutrition.


A term lacking clear definition in modern medicine.
In medical school, they rarely discussed the term pediatrist.


A physician who treats infants, children, and adolescents.
They scheduled an appointment with the pediatrician for their newborn.


A term that can be confused with "Podiatrist."
He said pediatrist, but was referring to the foot doctor.


A doctor who manages the physical, behavioral, and mental health of children.
She is a renowned pediatrician in the city.


An outdated or less commonly known term related to child care.
Some ancient manuscripts mentioned a pediatrist as a child specialist.


A physician who specializes in pediatrics.


A physician who specializes in pediatrics.


(American spelling) A physician that specializes in pediatrics; the medical care of infants, children, adolescents, and young adults.


A specialist in the care of babies


A specialist in the care of babies


Do Pediatricians only treat illnesses?

No, Pediatricians provide a range of services, including preventive health care.

Is the term "Pediatrist" commonly used?

No, "Pediatrist" is an archaic term and is rarely used today.

Is a Pediatrician a child doctor?

Yes, a Pediatrician specializes in children's health.

Is "Pediatrist" recognized in modern medicine?

No, "Pediatrist" is not a recognized term in contemporary medicine.

What does pediatrics encompass?

Pediatrics involves the health and diseases of children and adolescents.

Can "Pediatrist" refer to a foot specialist?

No, that's a "Podiatrist." "Pediatrist" can be mistakenly used in its place.

Why is "Pediatrist" not commonly used?

It's archaic and can be confused with other terms, reducing its clarity.

Are there subspecialties within pediatrics?

Yes, Pediatricians can specialize in areas like cardiology, endocrinology, and more.

When should I consult a Pediatrician?

For any health concerns related to infants, children, or adolescents.

Can a "Pediatrist" prescribe medicine?

The term "Pediatrist" is not recognized, so it lacks specific rights or duties in modern medicine.

What age range does a Pediatrician typically cater to?

From birth to adolescence, often up to 18 years.

Does "Pediatrist" have a Latin origin?

The prefix "Ped-" does come from Latin, meaning "child," but "Pediatrist" as a term is not well-defined.

Do all hospitals have Pediatricians?

Most larger hospitals have pediatric departments with Pediatricians.

Are "Pediatrician" and "Pediatrist" synonymous?

No. While "Pediatrician" is a child doctor, "Pediatrist" is an archaic term with ambiguous meaning.

Do Pediatricians perform surgeries?

General Pediatricians typically don't, but there are pediatric surgeons.

Can adults consult a Pediatrician?

Pediatricians specialize in children, so adults typically see other specialists.

Is it essential to differentiate between Pediatrician and Pediatrist?

Yes, to avoid confusion and ensure proper medical consultation.

Is "Pediatrist" a mistake in spelling?

It's a real but outdated term, though it can be mistakenly used for other words.

Does a Pediatrician treat only physical ailments?

No, a Pediatrician manages physical, behavioral, and mental health.

Is "Pediatrist" related to "Pediatric?"

Historically, it might have had a relation to child care but lacks a clear modern definition.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.

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