when i entered med school, i thought i'd become a pediatric geneticist, so i can diagnose all the williams and angelman and opitz syndromes out there. now i am not sure...but you gotta love kids. at least they don't INCUR most of their diseases unlike some of the chronic things you see in adult pts. that can be readily controlled by will-power and a little dedication (HTN, obesity caused by eating too many cheesy poofs, uncontrolled DM by not doing at home AccuChecks, COPD caused by smoking, etc.) sure there's juvenile obesity, but most of the other kiddie diseases out there are beyond their control (strep throat, OM, congenital heart defects, coarc, cystic fibrosis, etc.).
And in a related question...do fellowships in areas like e.r. ped.'s follow a ped's residency or an emergency med. residency...or either? Did you guys read Intern Blues? I thought it was a pretty good read. I am tentatively planning on ped's, but who knows what will happen.
there are peds/emergency medicine, peds/psych/chid psych, psych/child psych, and peds/IM combined residencies; there are also a few peds/genetics integrated programs (UCLA, CWRU, Mt. Sinai, CHP, UCONN, NCH).
as for subpsecialties, there are peds pulm/critical care, peds cardiology, adolescent medicine, peds GI, peds infectious disease, peds endocrinology, and others, I'm sure.
Child psych is normally a fellowship after psych residency except for the combined programs listed above. it depends if you want to practice peds in addition to child psych.
Peds surgery is a subspecialty of surgery.
I think there's also peds pathology and i've yet to see a pediatric pathologist.
As for lifestyle/income, peds, on average, make less money than any other field (avg. is usually $110,000, i think), not including those who specialize. it depends what setting you want: private practice, regional hospital, university. what i saw in suburban practice and what i saw at the university clinics are two different things.
also, if you want to go into peds, you must understand that a good chunk of your time will be doing "well child" visits at certain milestone ages, especially in private offices and suburban clinics.
in the suburbs, you see mostly strep throat, OM, URI, asthma, ADHD checks, etc. once in a while you'll see hernias, heart defects, STD's, and other infections like pinworm or intertrigo. at the university, you'll also see rheumatic fever, HIV, cystic fibrosis, PKU, etc.