How long does it take to become an OBGYN? Research what it takes to pursue this career. Learn about education, training, and licensure requirements to find out if this is the career for you.
How to become an OB/GYN
What does a gynecologist do?
A gynecologists primary medical focus is evaluating, diagnosing and treating reproductive and sexual health issues for female patients. Gynecologists work with diverse patients whose ages range from adolescence to advanced ages, where they provide medical care and treatment for a range of health conditions. Gynecologists also provide well-care services, where they perform routine evaluations and provide routine care in the prevention of disease. Several more responsibilities of a gynecologist include:
What is a gynecologist?
Gynecologists or obstetrician-gynecologists (OB/GYNs) provide medical and health care in womens health. These medical professionals work with female patients and provide support, education and medical care focused on womens reproductive and sexual health. Gynecologists who specialize specifically in gynecology provide mainly womens reproductive health care while OB/GYNs focus on health care and issues related to birth and pregnancy.
How to become a gynecologist
The following steps outline what you need to do to become a gynecologist:
1. Earn your undergraduate degree
Before you can earn your medical degree, you must first complete your bachelors. Most prospective medical students complete pre-med coursework or focus on subjects like biology, human anatomy and physiology, microbiology and mathematics. These focuses can help prepare you for taking the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), which is a requirement for applying to and enrolling in your medical degree program.
2. Take and pass the MCAT
The MCAT is necessary for acceptance into medical school. This exam covers four sections that focus on critical analysis and reasoning, biological and biochemical foundations, chemical and physical foundations and biological, psychological and social foundations of behavior. Medical schools look for passing grades on the MCAT and often require exceptional scores for acceptance.
3. Obtain your medical degree
The first half of your medical degree program focuses on topics in biological systems, immunology and infectious diseases and other core academic coursework. In the second half of the medical program, students complete clinical rotations, where they work with patients under supervising physicians in different fields of medicine, including gynecology. After completing your medical program, you receive your degree and youre eligible to attend a residency program.
4. Obtain your medical license
Depending on your states requirements, you may need to take the first part of the United States Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE) before you can complete your residency. Most medical students typically complete this requirement during their medical school program. Graduates of accredited medical schools are eligible to take the USMLE, and many students take part one of the exam during the first half of their medical degree program. During the second half of medical school, students then take the second part of the exam. Additionally, there is a seven-year period for completing all parts of the medical licensing examination.
5. Complete your residency program
In a residency program, prospective gynecologists gain hands-on experience studying concepts and applications in gynecology, obstetrics, emergency medicine and medical ethics. Many residents perform research studies during their programs, where they collaborate with physicians and health care teams and contribute to innovative studies or research projects. Residents also work in a series of clinical rotations, where they work as physicians under supervising colleagues to apply their training and gain experience.
6. Become board-certified
The American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ABOG) offers certification for gynecologists and obstetricians. To obtain ABOG certification, you must pass both an oral and a written exam. You can also pursue additional certification in subspecialties of gynecology and obstetrics, including gynecologic oncology, fertility and reproductive endocrinology, female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery and maternal-fetal medicine.
7. Complete your fellowship training
Because of their specialty, gynecologists must complete further training in their field to practice. Fellowship programs for gynecology (and obstetrics) allow doctors to gain in-depth understanding of their field of medicine and contribute to research in their specialty. Gynecologists completing fellowships commonly conduct research on subjects like family planning, gynecologic ontology, oncology, adolescent gynecology and maternal-fetal medicine. Once you have completed your fellowship training, you can specialize further in gynecological fields and enter your career.
FAQs about becoming a gynecologist
For additional information about becoming a gynecologist, consider the following frequently asked questions:
How long does it take to become a gynecologist?
The required education to become a gynecologist can take students anywhere from 11 to 15 years, depending on whether they choose to specialize in a subfield of gynecology. From start to finish, students typically take four years to complete an undergraduate degree, four years to complete medical school, three years to complete a residency program and three or four years to complete a fellowship.
How can gynecologists advance in their careers?
Many gynecologists enter their careers after a three to seven year residency, where they specifically focus on gynecology and womens health. Physicians who pursue fellowship training can advance in subspecialties of gynecology, including fertility, adolescent gynecology and gynecological ontology. Advanced certifications are available to gynecologists who dedicate additional time to pursuing advanced education and training.
What is the work environment like for gynecologists?
Gynecologists usually alternate between a clinical or hospital environment and an office setting, depending on their employer. For instance, in hospitals, gynecologists may be responsible for providing routine and emergency evaluations and treatments and in private health care facilities they may take on more administrative tasks in addition to clinical tasks. They also frequently have irregular schedules and may work evenings, early mornings and over the weekends, depending on their patients needs. Many gynecologists also work on-call, where they are ready to respond to emergency situations and unexpected medical needs.
Is it hard to be gynecologist?
One of the toughest aspects of career in gynecology is helping women sort through tough treatment decisions. Uterine bleeding, fibroid tumors and cysts are all common and challenging issues for women.
How can I be a Gynaecologist?
- Earn your undergraduate degree. Before you can earn your medical degree, you must first complete your bachelor’s. …
- Take and pass the MCAT. …
- Obtain your medical degree. …
- Obtain your medical license. …
- Complete your residency program. …
- Become board-certified. …
- Complete your fellowship training.