Gynecologic Surgeon: Job Duties & Career Info

Mar 18, 2019

Learn about the work a gynecologic surgeon performs. Explore the educational and certification requirements, necessary skills, employment outlook and salary to make the right career decision.

Career Definition for a Gynecologic Surgeon

A career in gynecologic surgery focuses on the care of women's health, combining general surgical skill with specialized knowledge of obstetrics and gynecology, maternal and fetal medicine, gynecologic oncology, reproductive endocrinology, and other topics, according to New York's Continuum Health Partners' Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Gynecologic surgeons work for hospitals and private obstetrics and gynecology (OB/GYN) centers, putting their medical and surgical expertise to use in treating illnesses and injuries specific to female anatomy, as well as reproductive and childbirth issues.

Required Education Bachelor's degree; four years of medical school; residencies in both general surgery and obstetrics and gynecology
Job Duties Includes treating illnesses and injuries specific to the female anatomy
Median Salary (2017)* $251,890 (for all surgeons)
Job Outlook (2016-2026)* 13% growth (for all physicians and surgeons)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education Required

After receiving a bachelor's degree in pre-medicine or biology, students must enroll in four years of medical school and then complete a five-year residency in general surgery before embarking on a four-year specialty residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology. Gynecologic surgeons must pass an American Board of Medical Specialists (ABMS) certification exam for general surgery, followed by a specialty certification exam for Obstetrics and Gynecology before they may practice independently, according to the ABMS.

Skills Needed

Gynecologic surgeons must be well-versed in women's health and reproductive issues, including the latest developments in surgical techniques and treatment methods, so continuing education through seminars, reading, and participation in specialty groups is essential, according to the Society of Gynecologic Surgeons. Comprehensive knowledge of female anatomy and physiology, fertility, fetal care and treatment, pregnancy health, and pharmacology are as crucial to the gynecologic surgeon as general surgery expertise.

Career Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected faster-than-average growth for surgeons and physicians of 13% from 2016 to 2026. The BLS published that the median annual salary among all surgeons was $251,890 in May 2017. The potential for the highest income for gynecologic surgeons is often found in local government and private OB/GYN centers and practices. With cutting-edge treatments for gynecological conditions being developed on a consistent basis, as well as record numbers of births in the United States in recent years, a career in gynecologic surgery is sure to remain vital and challenging for qualified surgeons.

Alternative Careers

Here are some examples of alternative career options:

Registered Nurse

Although the education and training for nurses is significantly less than surgeons, nurses are found in operating rooms and clinics, assisting gynecological surgeons with treatments and procedures. A diploma or undergraduate degree in nursing is required in order to enter the field, and all nurses must be licensed by the state in which they want to work. Nursing specialties like surgery or labor and delivery will require additional education and training. The BLS estimated the median salary of registered nurses in 2017 to be $70,000 and also projects a 15% increase in job opportunities during the 2016-2026 decade.

Surgical Technologist

If assisting with surgery is of interest, but spending all those years in medical school isn't, a career as a surgical technologist is an option. These professionals prepare the operating room for procedures, care for the equipment being used and make sure the surgeon has the right instruments at the right time. Programs in surgical technology are found at career and vocational schools, and a degree or certificate is usually necessary in order to gain employment. Some states also may require professional certification. The BLS predicted that surgical technologists should see a 12% increase in employment between 2016 and 2026. It also estimated that these technologists earned a median of $46,310 in annual wages, as reported in 2017.

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