The Scoop on OB/GYNs

Lots of women say "I've got to go to see my OB" and we just assume she's dealing with "woman stuff" but in reality an Obstetrician and a Gynecologist do much more than "woman stuff".

The field should grow (with the rising population) and jobs opportunities look especially good in rural or low income areas where you might be "The OB". When 14.1% of women, in 2008, are in fair or poor health you know that this field should and will grow with the rising tide in women's illnesses.

What in the World Does an OB/GYN do?

Just like a "regular" Doctor an OB/GYN diagnoses and treats women's health conditions and also treat a variety of issues that are more specific to women (breast and ovarian cancer, etc.) OB/GYNs also provide reproductive care for women whether that be prescribing birth control or caring for pregnant mothers. Counseling women through pregnancy is the best way to insure her health and the health of her unborn child.

If you are working as an Obstetrician you were trained as a surgeon so you can perform C-Sections and circumcisions as well as deliver babies (whereas Gynecologists care for women's health needs and deliver babies but do not perform surgeries.)

As the title implies, many Doctors receive training in both fields so as to grow their client base and have the ability to help all of their female patients without having to refer them to another Doctor or send them across town which might not be in the patient's best interests.

What Kind of Training do I need (A.K.A. - Will I have to go to School?)

Schooling for this specialty would be like that of any other Doctor. After completing a Bachelor's degree (usually in a science like Biology or Chemistry) you would have to gain acceptance to one of the 146 Medical Schools in the U.S. Though admission to Medical School is competitive there are many Medical Schools and you may not have to travel away from home to get your education. After completing 4 years of Medical School (where they teach you everything a Doctor generally needs to know) you must obtain a license to practice medicine from the State Medical Board (which requires continuing education to renew.) Then, you can get an internship or apprenticeship (which usually lasts 3-7 years) at a hospital or large practice in your chosen specialty (OB/GYN) and after you have completed your (paid) internship you may need to get another license form the State Medical Board as an OB/GYN.

How Do I get One of These Jobs Anyways?

An OB/GYN typically works in private practice or as part of a larger practice in women's health care. Owning your own practice is a great way to set your own hours, hire a staff (giving people jobs) and establish yourself as "the OB" in community. If you are not the social type you must remember that recruiting a client pool is vital to owning your own business and that you will need to continue to recruit patients as women age and need less specific health care (especially after menopause.)

If you are not keen on owning your own business you could easily work as a salaried partner at a larger OB/GYN practice where you may have many other Doctors and/or nurses/midwives in your offices. You might also be able to work in a Hospital as "the OB" or in a health clinic or women's health center as "the OB."

Advancing your career usually involves rising in ranks to a supervisory role perhaps as the "Director of Obstetrics" at a Hospital or as the Director of a Women's Health Clinic. You could also do research in women's health or teach Obstetrics or Gynecology at a Medical School. Many of these advanced opportunities suit better those who have older children, are retired, or who are considering retirement.

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Obstetricians and Gynecologists Overview

Obstetricians and Gynecologist Salary:$243,646
Job Prospects:A+
Education after high school:12 years
# Employed in US:19,750
% Who work Part Time:8%
Physical Difficulty:+ + +
Intellectual Difficulty:+ + +
Emotional Difficulty:+ + + + +

The Pros of being an OB/GYN

  • You can go into business for yourself and set your own hours
  • You could also work in a hospital or women's health clinic
  • The work is very specific and allows you to focus on one group of people
  • If you enjoy children you might REALLY enjoy working in Labor and Delivery (L&D)

The Cons of being an OB/GYN

  • The schooling requires takes 8 years plus a 3-7 year internship
  • Your license requires continuing education to renew
  • It is now much harder for male OB/GYNs to build a practice.
  • It may be hard to work with women who have chronic diseases (cancer) or who might be infertile or who have miscarried