Growth Trends for Related Jobs
Medical Specialists Attend to Women's Health Needs
A gynecologist is a medical doctor who specializes in women’s health, especially the reproductive system. The median annual salary is $271,414, and pay typically ranges between $235,463 and $362,642. Part-time opportunities are available in the field, making it easier for working moms to balance work with family life.
Gynecologist-obstetricians, or OB-GYNs, specialize in female reproductive health. Their training includes obstetrics, which concerns the care and treatment of women before, during and after pregnancy. OB-GYNs perform routine medical services and screening exams like primary care physicians. Unlike primary care physicians, however, OB-GYNs can perform surgery. They may assist during labor and delivery. Some specialize in gynecological oncology, which is the diagnosis and treatment of cancers of the reproductive system. These specialists spend a high percentage of their working time in hospital operating rooms.
Although OB-GYNs receive training in both sub-specialties, some doctors choose to limit their practice to gynecology to have more regular hours. OB-GYNs involved in labor and delivery will be on-call and sometimes work nights and weekends. As every mother knows, a baby’s arrival can often be unpredictable. Some practitioners work part-time and may enter into a job-share arrangement with another physician to accommodate the needs of their patients.
The first step toward becoming a gynecologist is to earn a medical degree, which requires four years of study after the bachelor’s degree. Although a specific undergraduate major is not required, successful medical school applicants usually hold a degree in one of the life sciences, chemistry, physics or mathematics. Admission to medical school is competitive, requiring an undergraduate grade point average of 3.65 or higher and a score of at least 507 on the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT).
After medical school, a four-year residency is required. The residency is specialty training that includes lectures, supervised clinical practice and surgical rotations. Practitioners who want to further specialize complete post-residency training, called a fellowship, in fields such as family planning, reproductive endocrinology and maternal-fetal medicine. Typically, the fellowship lasts three years.
All physicians must be licensed by a state medical board to practice. Board certification by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology is not required, although it is a very desirable credential that attests to a doctor’s high level of training and professional skill. Many patients prefer OB-GYNs who are board-certified, as do employers. You’ll have an easier time getting hospital privileges, which are necessary to perform surgery or deliver babies.
Continuing education is required to maintain board certification and to ensure a physician stays abreast of the latest medical research and technology. Physicians can earn hours at conferences and seminars sponsored by medical schools, health care facilities and professional organizations.
About the Industry
OB-GYNs work in private practice, either as solo practitioners or in a group practice. They also treat patients in hospitals, clinics and other health facilities, working with various health care professionals to provide routine and emergency services, including surgery. Some OB-GYNs lecture in medical schools and supervise doctors in residency training.
Because of the sensitive nature of the work, many women prefer a female doctor. Practitioners should have a reassuring bedside manner and be able to work well in stressful situations.
Years of Experience
Geographic location, specialty practice and other factors affect how much a gynecologist can earn. Based on years of experience, some typical salary ranges include:
- Less than 1 year of experience: $245,122–$266,048
- 5–6 years of experience: $247,805–$268,731
- 10–14 years of experience: $258,000–$281,306
- 20+ years of experience: $267,658–$296,143
Job Growth Trend
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics foresees an upward trend in job growth for all physicians and surgeons, including gynecologists. As the population increases, there will be a greater demand for women’s health care professionals.
Denise Dayton is a a freelance writer who specializes in business, education and technology. She has written for eHow.com, Library Journal, The Searcher, Bureau of Education and Research, and corporate clients.