How to Become an OBGYN in 5 Steps

Research what it takes to become an OBGYN or an obstetrician/gynecologist. Learn about education, training and licensure requirements to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Health Science degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Information at a Glance

Experts in female anatomy and physiology, OBGYNs work exclusively with women to provide care related to the reproductive system and pregnancy. The following chart provides an overview about becoming an OBGYN.

Degree Required Doctor of Medicine (M.D.)
Training Required 4-year OBGYN residency
Key Responsibilities Conduct physical examination and provide medical care for women's reproductive health; diagnose reproductive health issues and prescribe medication and treatments; monitor pregnancy and attend childbirth; counsel women on reproductive issues such as birth control
Licensure or Certification All states require doctors to be licensed; board certification in obstetrics and gynecology is available
Job Growth (2012-2022) 18% for all physicians and surgeons*
Median Salary (2014) $256,635**

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS); **Salary.com

What is an OBGYN?

An OBGYN specialty allows them to deal with such medical issues as breast cancer and childbirth. They typically perform hysterectomies, ultrasounds and laparoscopies, as well as treat conditions like mesothelioma, menopause, infertility and fibroids.

Step 1: Graduate From High School

Preparing to become an obstetrician and gynecologist begins with a high school education. Taking science and math classes like physics, chemistry and biology can help lay the foundation for your undergraduate studies. You'll want to maintain high grades to qualify for undergraduate programs.

Step 2: Earn a Bachelor's Degree

You can focus many undergraduate majors on a pre-medicine track to prepare for medical school with courses in anatomy, chemistry, biology, genetics and physics. If you take enough science electives to satisfy medical school prerequisites, you won't necessarily need a science-related major.

Step 3: Go to Medical School

In order to enroll at a typical U.S. medical school, you must score high on the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), a program of the Association of the American Medical Colleges. Taken electronically, it contains four sections dealing with physical sciences, verbal reasoning, writing and biological sciences (www.aamc.org).

For the first two years of medical school, you'll take in-depth science courses and learn medical terminology and practices. In the third and fourth years, you'll undergo hands-on training at a clinic or hospital. A rotation in obstetrics and gynecology will be a part of your clinical experience while earning your M.D.

Step 4: Complete Your OBGYN Residency

You'll apply to and complete a 4-year residency in obstetrics and gynecology to gain experience in preventive and primary care, patient diagnosis and surgical procedures. As a resident OBGYN, your responsibilities and duties will increase each year. You'll likely spend long hours at the hospital or clinic and respond to unexpected emergencies, such as births, at all hours of the night.

Step 5: Become Licensed and Certified

All physicians, including OBGYNs, must become state licensed. Prior to becoming licensed, you'll need to be supervised in order to practice medicine. You'll need to pass the United States Medical Licensing Exam. For certification through the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology (www.abog.org), you must pass two board exams. The first exam is a lengthy written exam, taken immediately after completing residency. Upon passing it, you must practice in women's health care before taking an oral exam given by a panel of professors. You also may consider seeking a fellowship and certification in a subspecialty, such as maternal-fetal medicine or gynecologic oncology.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:

Popular Schools

  • Kaplan University

    Kaplan University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Kaplan University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Strayer University

    Strayer University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Strayer University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Southern New Hampshire University

    Southern New Hampshire University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Southern New Hampshire University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Saint Joseph's University

    Saint Joseph's University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Saint Joseph's University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Penn Foster High School

    Penn Foster High School responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Penn Foster High School:

    Online Programs Available

  • Grand Canyon University

    Grand Canyon University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Grand Canyon University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Colorado Technical University

    Colorado Technical University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Colorado Technical University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Abilene Christian University

    Abilene Christian University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Abilene Christian University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Rasmussen College

    Rasmussen College responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Rasmussen College:

    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Associate Programs

    Campus Locations:

    • Anywhere:
  • Capella University

    Capella University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Capella University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. Next »