OBGYN Training Programs and Requirements

An obstetrician and gynecologist (OB/GYN) must earn a bachelor's degree, finish medical school and complete a residency program before they can obtain a medical license. They tend to women's health concerns, such as pregnancy and reproductive issues.

Essential Information

To become an OB/GYN, individuals must earn a bachelor's degree, complete medical school and fulfill a 4-year residency requirement. During residency, students spend at least 50 hours per week attending to patients and learning from doctors. After they complete their residency, applicants must then take boards or licensing examinations before they can legally practice medicine.

OB/GYNs need to have strong communication skills, make quick decisions, be self-motivated and be able to work long hours. Since advances are often made to medical technology, OB/GYNs must also be willing to keep abreast of changes through continued education or workshops and seminars.

Bachelor of Science in Pre-Medicine

Students spend as much time inside the classroom learning instruction as they do practicing in the laboratory. Students spend the last two years of a pre-med program preparing for the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT). The core coursework of a 4-year pre-med program includes:

  • Biology
  • Genetics
  • Physics
  • Physiology
  • Chemistry

Doctor of Medicine

Students spend a majority of their first two years of medical school in laboratories and classrooms completing a multitude of science-based courses. During the third and fourth year, students work in clinics or hospitals where they deal with patient care. Toward the end of their fourth year, students interview for residency positions at hospitals, where they choose a field of specialty, like obstetrics and gynecology. Course topics in these programs typically include:

  • Microbiology
  • Anatomy
  • Pathology
  • Biochemistry

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The BLS states that obstetricians and gynecologists make a mean annual wage of $222,400 as of May 2015. The employment for general physicians and surgeons from 2014 to 2024 is expected to grow 14%, which is much faster than average.

Continuing Education

After they complete their residency, applicants can seek certification from the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Applicants can choose a specialized area to become certified in, which includes maternal-fetal medicine, reproductive endocrinology and infertility, female pelvic medicine or gynecologic oncology. To become certified, applicants must pass a written and oral examination. Applicants must take recertification exams every six years.

During medical school or while completing their residency, students can partake in workshops or conferences to learn directly from experts in the field. These meetings can be found at a campus lecture hall or at a large meeting facility on behalf of a medical school or professional OB/GYN organization. Many physicians, including OB/GYNs, travel to conferences where they discuss recent research advancements and other current issues facing health care providers and patients.

Half-day workshops are common on university campuses. These sessions are held on behalf of the school's medical department and feature renowned speakers. Attendees can learn about delivery techniques, fetal monitoring and surgical obstetrics. Medical schools and professional organizations host annual conferences or meetings that are 3-4 days long. Lectures focus on evaluating pelvic pain in patients, managing pregnancy complications and diagnosing gynecologic tumors. Certain conferences can qualify for continuing education credit hours.

If OB/GYNs don't join a group practice after they have completed their residency program, they can partake in fellowships to become specialized teachers or researchers. These fellowships take 2-4 years to complete. Some areas of specialty include gynecology oncology, reproductive endocrinology or maternal fetal medicine.

OBGYNs must go through an extensive amount of training before they are able to work as this type of doctor including pre-medical school, medical school and a residency program. After all of the schooling is complete, a student is able to sit down and take his or her board exam.

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