OBGYN: Job Duties, Employment Outlook, and Educational Requirements
An obstetrician and gynecologist (OB/GYN) is a physician who specializes in women's reproductive health and pregnancy. Learn about educational requirements, typical job duties, employment outlook and salary. Schools offering Health Science degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
What Job Duties Will I Have as an OB/GYN?
As an OB/GYN, you specialize in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of diseases and disorders that affect women, such as breast cancer, cervical cancer and menopause. Additionally, you work with expecting mothers throughout their pregnancies, during childbirth and into postpartum. As a doctor, your responsibilities also include performing annual examinations, collecting and documenting patient medical histories and providing counseling on diet, hygiene, sexual health and disease prevention.
What Is the Employment Outlook?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment outlook for physicians and surgeons is positive, with a growth rate that's expected to be much faster than average. The BLS projected an increase in employment of around 22% from 2008 to 2018 (www.bls.gov). Your compensation as an OB/GYN will vary by state and industry. However, the BLS reported in 2010 that the average salary of OB/GYNs was $210,340.
What Education Do I Need?
In order to become an OB/GYN, you must generally obtain your bachelor's degree, earn a 4-year medical degree and complete a 4-year residency. Additionally, every state requires licensing in order to practice medicine. Then, depending on whether you graduated from an allopathic or osteopathic medical school, you have the option of passing an examination to become board certified in obstetrics and gynecology from either the American Board of Medical Specialists (ABMS) or the American Osteopathic Association (AOA).
In order to prepare for medical school, your undergraduate coursework should include chemistry, physics, biology and other science courses. Once accepted into medical school, you spend the first two years taking courses in genetics, human anatomy, microbiology, pharmacology, pathology and more. Your second two years of medical school are spent gaining hands-on experience in hospitals and clinics under the supervision of licensed physicians. During this time, you rotate through different specialties, including obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, internal medicine and more. Once you move into your residency phase, you'll gain more extensive training and experience in your specialty with a focus on pregnancy management and labor, the female reproductive system and other healthcare issues unique to women.
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