Gynecologist: Employment & Career Information

Learn about the medical specialty of gynecology and find out what these physicians do for patients. Read about the education needed to become a gynecologist, and check the job outlook for the next few years. See salary projections and information on similar careers.

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Job Description of a Gynecologist

Gynecologists provide medical treatment to women, focusing on issues related to the reproductive system. They may perform annual testing and exams, diagnose illnesses and infections, treat hormonal abnormalities, prescribe medication and counsel patients about birth control or fertility options. In addition to delivering babies, obstetricians and gynecologists (OB/GYNs) provide prenatal and postnatal care throughout pregnancy and after childbirth. Gynecologists may choose subspecialties, such as gynecologic oncology, which focuses on cancer related to women's reproductive organs. Gynecology is one of the highest paying specialties in medicine, with employment opportunities in private practice, clinics, hospitals, universities and government agencies.

Education Completion of medical school and a 4-year residency program, including internship
Job Skills Up-to-date medical knowledge, good communication and decision-making skills
Average Salary (2015)* $222,400 (for obstetricians and gynecologists)
Job Outlook (2014-2024)* 18% increase in jobs (for obstetricians and gynecologists)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education Requirements

In addition to obtaining a bachelor's degree, gynecologists must complete four years of medical school and a 4-year residency program, which includes a year-long internship. Subspecialties may require up to three additional years of residency. Undergrads generally major in pre-med or a related field, with coursework in biology, physics, chemistry, mathematics, English and humanities. Acceptance to medical school requires a high score on the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) and a strong undergraduate grade point average. Gynecologists must also pass a licensing exam in order to practice. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) offers continuing education courses for postgraduates, residents and resident educators (www.acog.org).

Job Skills

Gynecologists must have excellent communication skills and an ability to interact with patients and their families, as well as colleagues, administrators and co-workers. They must have up-to-date knowledge of medical and technical advances, a thorough understanding of medical terminology and coding specific to gynecology, and always-current certification and licensure. They need to be able to make decisions quickly and stay calm under pressure. Gynecologists in private practice must also have good business management skills.

Career Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected job opportunities for gynecologists to increase by 18%, faster than the average of most occupations, between 2014 and 2024. The BLS published that gynecologists and obstetricians working in May 2015 earned a mean annual salary of $222,400.

Alternative Career Options

Similar careers to consider in this field include:

Pediatrician

Specializing in the care, diagnosis and treatment of medical problems associated with children, pediatricians must attend medical school and complete a residency like gynecologists, as well as being licensed to practice. A faster-than-average job growth of 10% was also predicted for this career option, based on BLS data. The mean salary of pediatricians was $183,180, per 2015 information from the BLS.

Family and General Practitioner

This career option works with the general population in diagnosing and treating medical illnesses and injuries. The BLS projected 10% job growth for family doctors and general practitioners. Medical school, residency and licensure also apply to family and general practitioners. The BLS noted that in 2015, these professionals earned a mean salary of $192,120.

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