An OB-GYN is an obstetrician and gynecologist, a physician who specializes in the female reproductive system. The doctor treats women during pregnancy and childbirth and for some women serves as their primary care physician. The median annual salary for an OB-GYN was more than $187,199 in 2012, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The doctor must meet state medical board requirements to practice as an OB-GYN.
A physician must complete a medical degree to meet state requirements for a license to practice medicine. The admission requirements for medical school include an undergraduate education. While entry to a medical school may not require a bachelor's degree, most students complete one. For example, the University of Michigan Medical School requires applicants to complete a minimum of 90 hours of undergraduate coursework to qualify for admission. Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine requires students to complete the equivalent of three years of undergraduate education, but expects students to apply with a bachelor's degree. Courses in an undergraduate program should include biology, physics, chemistry and mathematics to prepare for medical school.
Medical school takes four years to complete. The first two years of a medical degree program include courses in anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, biochemistry and medical law. The final two years of the program require students to complete clinical rotations in a variety of medical areas such as family practice, pediatrics, surgery and obstetrics and gynecology. Clinical rotations provide students with hands-on training in direct patient care under the supervision of trained physicians. Students do not specialize in an area of medicine during medical school.
Residency training takes place after students graduate from medical school. For aspiring obstetricians and gynecologists the residency program provides specialized training in health care for women. A general obstetrics and gynecology residency program requires four years of training and allows residents to explore some of the subspecialties in the field such as gynecologic oncology, maternal fetal medicine and reproductive endocrinology and infertility.
Board certification is not a requirement to obtain a medical license as an OB-GYN, but the credential demonstrates the physician's knowledge and skill in the field. The American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology Inc. offers a basic certification for generalists and certifications in subspecialties in the field. To qualify for the basic certification, applicants must have a medical degree and an unrestricted medical license. The board also requires applicants to complete a four-year residency program. Applicants must pass a written and oral examination to earn the credential.