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Obstetrician/Gynecologist Job Description, Career as a Obstetrician/Gynecologist, Salary, Employment

Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

Education and Training:— Advanced degree and specialized training in obstetrics and gynecology.

Salary: Median— $192,780 annually

Employment Outlook:— Very good

Obstetricians are physicians who have specialized training in pregnancy management, prenatal care, labor, and pueperium. Gynecologists are physicians who are trained in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders related to the female reproductive system. Since training in both fields occurs concurrently, obstetricians and gynecologists provide surgical or medical care to women during child birth, detect sexually transmitted diseases, conduct Pap test screening, and offer family planning advice.

Obstetrician/Gynecologists are commonly referred to as OB/GYN. They may further specialize in the fields of acute and chronic medical conditions, adolescent gynecology, behavioral problems, cancer, endocrinology, health maintenance during pregnancy, infertility, operative gynecology, pregnancy and delivery, and urinary tract disorders.

Education and Training Requirements

The process of becoming an Obstetrician/Gynecologist begins with graduation from an approved medical school. To be accepted by a medical school, students must consistently maintain high grades in college. They should opt for programs in biology, organic chemistry, math, and English at the undergraduate level. Admission to medical school is highly competitive. It is based on the candidate’s undergraduate examination result and the Medical College Admission Test score.

After obtaining the MD degree, one must acquire certification from the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ABOG). For this, one needs to complete a 4-year OB/GYN residency program, work in reproductive endocrinology, ultrasonography, gynecology, gynecologic oncology, and obstetrics, and have at least 6 months of residency experience in preventive and primary care. Furthermore, candidates must have served as a senior during the last year of their residency.

Certification is granted to doctors who pass the test administered by ABOG. This certification has to be renewed every 10 years. After certification, obstetricians and gynecologists may begin practice or acquire further training in a sub-specialty like maternal-fetal medicine, urogynecology and pelvic reconstructive surgery, or menopausal and geriatric gynecology. To obtain the Certificate of Added Qualifications, candidates must complete a fellowship accredited by the Accredited Council of Graduate Medical Education.

Getting the Job

Obstetricians and gynecologists are employed in the offices of physicians, general medical and surgical hospitals, outpatient care centers, colleges, universities, professional institutes, as well as the government. Information about suitable job openings is often advertised in newspapers and job sites on the Internet. Professional organizations and hospitals may also take on doctors through on-campus recruitment programs.

Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook

Certified obstetricians and gynecologists begin their careers by working under experienced doctors in hospitals and networks of medical care givers. As they acquire seniority, they are promoted to managerial or supervisory positions. Some doctors establish their own clinics while others become instructors at medical schools or university hospitals. Those who choose to become a part of the academia can receive doctoral degrees by conducting research.

Employment opportunities for physicians and surgeons on the whole are expected to increase by 14% in the next decade. Prospects will be particularly favorable for obstetricians and gynecologists willing to work in low-income and rural areas.

Working Conditions

Obstetricians and gynecologists work in clean and sterilized environments. They have to work for long hours and the nature of the job requires them to be on call at all hours. In fact, the internship period is particularly stressful as doctors have to be available for rotating shifts. Later in their careers, obstetricians and gynecologists enjoy more flexible work hours. Doctors and surgeons employed in hospitals or health care chains may have the benefit of more structured working hours in comparison to those who are self-employed.

Where to Go for More Information

American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology
2915 Vine Street
Dallas, TX 75204

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
409 12th St., S.W., PO Box 96920
Washington, D.C. 20090-6920

International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics

Central Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
P.O. Box 3010
Minot, North Dakota 58702-3010

American Gynecological and Obstetrical Society
409 12th St SW
Washington, DC 20024

American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Journals Customer Service

Salary, Earnings and Benefits

According to the statistics of 2008, the mean annual salary of obstetricians and gynecologists in the United States is $192,780. Those working in psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals and health care facilities are among the highest earners with a mean annual salary of $201,920. On the other hand, those in outpatient care centers report a mean yearly salary of $163,650.

Obstetricians and gynecologists enjoy a host of benefits including paid leaves and vacations, bonuses, social security facilities, and healthcare and pension plans. However, private practitioners have to make such arrangements themselves.

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