How to Become a Gynecologist
1. Earn a Bachelor's Degree (4 Years)
To become a gynecologist, you must first earn a Bachelor's Degree. It's good idea to take a pre-med program course in college, or a path that is heavy in math and physical science.
The courses differ depending on which path you choose, but some of the courses are the same, mainly the math, sciences, and some general education courses. You need to make sure you get the proper pre-requisites for medical school.
A course load for pre-med might look like the following:
|Grade Level||Example Courses|
Be sure to keep your grads high, as medical school admissions are very competitive. You need to start prepping for the MCAT as well, because you need to take it to advance.
2. Take the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT)
To be admitted into medical school, candidates must first take the MCAT, or Medical College Admission Test, a 7.5 hour, standardized, multiple choice exam used to assess the applicant's knowledge of science, reasoning, communication, and writing skills.
The MCAT is divided into four sections:
|Biological & Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems||
|Chemical & Physical Foundations of Biological Systems||
|Psychological, Social, & Biological Foundations of Behavior||
|Critical Analysis & Reasoning Skills||
You can find study materials, MCAT registration, and your test scores on the MCAT website. If you are unsatisfied with your score on any of the aforementioned exams, you are free to retake them. Depending on the school, some will average your scores and others will simply take your most recent.
3. Earn a Medical Degree (4 Years)
You have two program choices in medical school to become a gynecologist: a Doctor of Medicine (MD) program or a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) program. Each degree focuses on the same methods of treatment, but a DO degree also focuses on osteopathic manipulative medicine.
Whichever path you choose, you are facing 4-5 years in medical school. Your first couple of years will focus on the following:
- Basic pathology
- Reproductive system
During the second two years, students complete their clinical rotations and work with patients under the supervision of a licensed physician in various areas of practice, including obstetrics and gynecology.
4. Complete a Residency (4 Years)
After medical school, you have to complete a 4-year OBGYN residency. During this time, you will be supervised by other healthcare professionals and get hands on training to build upon your skills and confidence, to allow you independent practice.
During your residency, you can expect to work in a clinical or hospital setting. It's here you can really hone in on your skills and build upon your knowledge. During your residency, you will gain experience in preventive and primary care, patient diagnosis and surgical procedures.
As a resident OBGYN, your responsibilities and duties will increase each year until you can fulfill all the duties of an OBGYN independently. In these years, 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.
5. Earn the Required License & Certification
After you complete your residency you have to apply for your medical license and board certification.
If you graduate from a MD program, you can take the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE). If you graduate from a DO program, you can take the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination (COMLEX-USA).
For certification through the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ABOG), you must pass two board exams: the basic written exam and the oral exam. The first exam is a lengthy written exam that you will take immediately after your residency.
After you pass that, you have to practice for a while 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.