How to Become an OBGYN
OBGYN Careers & Degrees

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An OBGYN is an Obstetricians and Gynecologist doctor who specializes in women’s health.

Their specialization can range from preventative health care to diagnosing and treating a variety of diseases and disorders affecting a woman’s reproductive system.

In addition, OBGYNs will monitor pregnancies starting with the initial appointment up to the birth of a child.

Individuals interested in this path will have a passions for women’s health and treating pregnant women.

These physicians work with a variety of women at different points in their lives and have a thorough knowledge of a woman’s reproductive system.

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Education Requirements to Become an OBGYN

Individuals who want to become an OBGYN will need several years of education, complete a residency and become licensed in order to practice medicine in this field.

Individuals who want to become an OBGYN must first begin their career by focusing their undergraduate degree in the life sciences, most preferably Biology, Chemistry or Pre-med.

During their undergraduate studies, individuals will take classes in Biology, Chemistry, Anatomy and health.

Depending on the program, individuals may also gain hands on experience working in a laboratory setting where they will become familiar with lab equipment and procedures.

The next step after securing an undergraduate degree is to take the entrance exam to get into medical school.

This comprehensive exam is called the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT).

Individuals may visit AAMC for more information on the exam.

Medical school takes an additional 4 years to complete.

During this time, an individual may opt to take general medical classes or may focus their curriculum in obstetrics and gynecology.

Some medical programs may also provide hands on experience by requiring students to attend clinical rotations.

After completing medical school, like all doctors, an individual who wants to become an OBGYN will need to complete an internship and a residency in order to gain in depth hands on experience in their chosen field.

This type of residencies are mainly completed in a hospital setting.

The last step to enter this profession is to seek licensure in order to practice medicine.

OBGYNs must be able to pass the United States Medical Licensing Examination.

Individuals who would like specific information on licensure may visit the USMLE website.

OBGYN Job Description

An OBGYN’s primary responsibility is to meet with their female patients with concerns related to their reproductive system.

The range of service can start with preventative measures, such as performing yearly female exams to providing preventative care to pregnant woman, diagnosing reproductive related illnesses or disorders to delivering newborns.

Exact responsibilities will depend on whether a physician is an Obstetrician or a Gynecologist.

Obstetricians mainly handle preventative health care for pregnancies and deliveries, while Gynecologists will work with women who are not pregnant, but need health care related to their reproductive system.

OBGYN’s are responsible for reading a patient’s medical history, performing routine health care, such as pap smears, diagnosing any female related disorders and recommending a treatment for any such ailments.

OBGYN Salary and Career Path

The average annual salary for OBGYN doctors was approximately $212,570 in 2013.

Exact wages will depend on the level of experience, industry and the type of practice an individual works in: whether an OBGYN has their own practice or works for a clinic or hospital.

The top paying industries for OBGYN doctors include physicians’ offices where these professionals can expect an average annual wage of $216,740.

Job projections for Physicians and Surgeons, which includes OBGYNs, is expected to grow by 18 percent through 2022.

This growth is considered faster than average and is attributed to the new health care laws that make health care services easily accessible.

Job prospects are even higher for individuals who are willing to relocate to rural or low income areas where there are higher demands for these positions.

The OBGYN profession is a good fit for someone who is interested in women’s health, the female reproductive system and pregnancies.

OBGYNs are physicians who are well versed with the female human body, especially the reproductive system, and whose knowledge is used to assist in the births of newborns.

The below information is based on the 2019 BLS national averages.
  • Annually
  • Monthly
  • Hourly

National Average Salary


Average Salary by State

StateAvg. Annual Salary
District of Columbia$214,000
New Hampshire$252,720
New Jersey$275,680
New Mexico$258,380
New York$216,760
North Carolina$241,050
North Dakota$266,010
Rhode Island$264,550
South Carolina$266,840
South Dakota$268,690
Vermont- NA -
West Virginia$276,990

The top earning state in the field is Iowa, where the average salary is $283,280.

These are the top 5 earning states in the field:

Iowa - $283,280
West Virginia - $276,990
New Jersey - $275,680
Colorado - $274,680
Wisconsin - $274,410
* Salary information based on the May 2019 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Obstetricians and Gynecologists, OCC Code 29-1218, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

QuestionWhat is an OBGYN?

An OBGYN is a physician who delivers babies and is specialized in diagnosing and treating diseases of the female reproductive organs.

Their responsibilities include examining patients, ordering and performing tests, interpreting diagnostic tests and prescribing medication.

OBGYNs treat and counsel women throughout pregnancy and deliver babies.

They work in teams with other healthcare staff, such as registered nurses, physicians of other specialties in order to treat patients.

Many obstetricians and gynecologists work long, irregular hours and overnight schedules are very common.

They may also be on-call in order to accommodate their patient’s needs.

OBGYNs need a variety of skills, including compassion, dexterity, patience, and good communication skills.

QuestionHow much does an OBGYN make?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the mean annual wage for obstetricians and gynecologists was $238,320.

Salaries in this field vary depending on the region, the OBGYN’s level of experience and the place of employment.

QuestionHow much does it cost to become an OBGYN?

All states require physicians to be licensed; licensure requirements vary by state.

In order to qualify for a license you will need a degree from an accredited medical school and to complete a residency.

One year at a public medical school costs, on average, around $58,000 for out of state students.

To be able to enroll at a medical school, you will first need to complete a four-year undergraduate program, which will cost around $41,000 a year and you must also take and pass the MCAT exam.

The registration fee for MCATs is $320.

Although certification is not required, it may increase your employment opportunities.

The American Board of Medical Specialties and the American Board of Physician Specialties are two of the boards that offer certification for physicians.

QuestionWhat is the demand for OBGYNs?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment for obstetrician-gynecologists is expected to grow 2 percent from 2018 to 2028, slower than the average for all occupations.

New technologies make possible for physicians to treat more patients and this may allow healthcare providers to provide the same quality of service while employing fewer physicians.

However, employment opportunities depend on the region and job prospects for physicians, in general, are expected to be good especially in rural and underserved areas.

QuestionHow long does it take to become an OBGYN?

In order to be able to practice as an OBGYN, you will need a state license.

Exact licensure requirements vary by state but all states require physicians to hold a degree from an accredited medical school and to complete residency training.

Medical school is usually four-year-long but in order to be accepted at a med-school, typically you must complete an undergraduate program which is also four-year-long.

After graduating from medical school, the residency period will help you gain hands-on experience in your specialty; gynecology residencies usually last 4 years.

If you want to specialize in a particular field, such as maternal-fetal medicine or family planning, you can also choose to complete a three-year fellowship which will allow you to conduct research and to gain experience in that particular field.

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