OBGYN Degree Programs
In order to become an obstetrician/gynecologist (OBGYN), you must enroll in an OBGYN residency program. Read on to learn the prerequisites for such a program, what to expect in the curriculum, and what OBGYN doctors do.
How Do I Obtain an OBGYN Degree?
In order to become an OBGYN, you need to complete a bachelor's degree program and then attend medical school before completing a residency program, although some medical schools do accept applicants that only have three years of college education. Undergraduate programs do not offer an OBGYN degree and medical schools confer a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.) degree that includes OBGYN education. In-depth, hands-on training and education in obstetrics and gynecology begins with a residency.
Medical schools typically require you to take the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) before applying, and a medical school program takes four years of study. While you may be able to take some classes online, in general, medical degrees cannot be earned online because of the hands-on work necessary. You'll begin with classes such as pharmacology, biology, anatomy and physiology, medical terminology and psychology, and you'll take lab classes, too. You will also learn basic patient care practices, including making diagnoses and learning how to interact with patients.
The latter half of your medical school education will include work under a practicing physician, usually in a hospital, to learn not only general care practice, but also explore specialty areas of medicine such as pediatrics, internal medicine, psychiatry, surgery or obstetrics and gynecology through rotations. Your rotation will typically include clinical care of OBGYN patients and topical lectures.
Before you begin your residency, you'll need to obtain your medical license. In order to become licensed, you will need to successfully pass the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) if your medical school degree is an M.D. and the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Exam (COMLEX) if your medical school degree is a D.O.
|Education Path|| 1) Bachelor's degree and MCAT |
2) Medical school and professional licensure
3) Residency training in obstetrics/gynecology leading to board certification
|Residency Sub-Specialties|| Reproductive endocrinology and infertility treatment; |
Low- and high-risk maternal fetal medicine;
Vaginal surgery and gynecologic oncology
|Job Duties||Give physical exams, diagnose and develop treatment plans, pre- and post-partum care|
|Median Salary (2018)||$238,320* (for obstetricians and gynecologists)|
|Job Outlook (2016-26)||16%* (for all obstetricians and gynecologists)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
What Will I Learn In a Residency Program?
You'll spend about four years as a resident, and you will focus on women's health and obstetrical and gynecological care. In a residency program, you will be paid, work in a hospital, receive extensive clinical training and work closely with patients. Your responsibility for patient care will increase as your program progresses so you will be prepared to work independently as an OBGYN when you have completed your residency.
As a resident, you may gain experience participating in several sub-specialties of obstetrical and gynecological care, including primary care, reproductive endocrinology and infertility treatment, urogynecology, low- and high-risk maternal fetal medicine, vaginal surgery and gynecologic oncology. In addition to your patient care duties, you'll participate in didactic learning experiences with your peers and instructors, and some programs may require you to complete a research or other project.
States may require additional certifications or licenses for work in a particular specialty, and these may vary by state, even among the same specialty (www.usmle.org). Your OBGYN residency will prepare you for voluntary board certification. Physicians who hold an M.D. may earn certification through the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology, a certification board recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties, and physicians who hold a D.O. may earn certification through the American Osteopathic Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology, recognized by the American Osteopathic Association.
What Can I Do with This Degree?
Your medical degree and OBGYN education and training will prepare you to deliver general and reproductive healthcare services to women. You may give physical examinations, perform medical tests, diagnose and develop treatment plans for certain conditions and refer patients to specialists as needed. You may also provide family planning care, a broad range of pre- and post-partum care that includes delivery of infants and pelvic organ care that includes urinary tract conditions.