Gynecologist - How to Become a Gynecologist


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Gynecologist Job Description


Obstetrician-gynecologists (OBGYNs) specialize in woman's reproductive health. They help their patients with family planning, pregnancy, childbirth, and other woman's issues. They screen patients and test them for a list of complications and provide preventative care to catch cancer and other problems before they become serious. They administer tests to help patients deal with complications that include fibroid tumors, infertility, preterm labor, and caesarean births.




OBGYNs conduct a series of physical examinations and provide medical care for women's reproductive health. Their responsibilities include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Diagnose reproductive health issues

  • Prescribe medication

  • Administer treatments

  • Monitor pregnancy

  • Attend childbirth

  • Counsel women on reproductive issues




Communication Must be able to clearly convey thoughts and ideas about patient's treatment plans and diagnoses. Must correspond with other medical professionals to ensure patient care. 
Monitoring Monitoring/Assessing patient to make sure they are responding well to treatment plans and make improvements or take corrective action when necessary. 
Critical Thinking Must use logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Judgment and Decision Making Needs to be able to act autonomously and make difficult decisions that would benefit the patient or make corrections. Must consider all benefits and repercussions of potential actions and choose the appropriate one. 
Complex Problem Solving Must be able to identify complex problems and develop and evaluate corrective options and implement solutions. 
Empathy Must be able to empathize with a patient's pain and difficulties. Need to make people feel comfortable and meet them at their emotional level to humanize themselves since they deal with sensitive issues.
Trustworthiness Must be trustworthy because you have people's lives in your hands and what you do could help or hurt them. They are entrusted with a great responsibility and must live up to it. 
Operation Monitoring Must be able to monitor gauges and dials and use medical software to give the best updated medical care. 


Working Conditions


OBGYN doctors generally work in private practices and hospitals; sometimes they go back and forth between the two. OBGYNs can have irregular schedules and can work nights, weekends, and early mornings depending on the need and their on-call schedules. Typically the work week for someone working full-time is 40 – 60 hours plus one to two nights of call per month. Many OBGYNs work 4 days per week, but those hours are longer. 



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

Freshman Year


  • General Chemistry I & Lab
  • General Chemistry II & Lab
  • Biology & Lab
  • Calculus I
  • English 101
  • English 102
  • Humanities Requirement
  • Physics I & Lab
  • Physics II & Lab

Sophomore Year

  • Organic Chemistry I & Lab
  • Organic Chemistry II & Lab
  • Fundamentals of Microbiology & Lab
  • Genetics
  • Physiology 
  • Humanities Requirement
  • Electives

Junior Year


  • Cell Structure & Function
  • General Virology & Lab
  • Microbial Genetics & Lab
  • Biochemistry I
  • Biochemistry II
  • Physics
  • Electives

Senior Year

  • Upper Level Biology
  • Upper Level Chemistry
  • Upper Level Physics
  • Upper Level Psychology
  • Upper Level Kinesiology 
  • Electives


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:


Section/Category  Section Breakdown
Biological & Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems
  • 59 multiple-choice questions
  • 95 minutes
  • Tests biology, organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry, and biochemistry
Chemical & Physical Foundations of Biological Systems
  • 59 multiple-choice questions
  • 95 minutes
  • Tests biochemistry, biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, and physics

Psychological, Social, & Biological Foundations of Behavior

  • 59 multiple-choice questions
  • 95 minutes
  • Tests introductory psychology, sociology, and biology
Critical Analysis & Reasoning Skills
  • 53 multiple-choice questions
  • 90 minutes
  • Tests reading comprehension, humanities, and social sciences


You can find study materials, MCAT registration, and your test scores on the AAMC website here.


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
  • Anatomy
  • Biology
  • Immunology
  • 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.


Salary Outlook