OBGYN Training Programs and Requirements

An OBGYN, or obstetrician and gynecologist, tends to women's health concerns, such as pregnancy and reproductive issues. They must earn a bachelor's degree, finish medical school and complete a residency program in obstetrics and gynecology before they can obtain a license to practice medicine.

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Training Requirements and Recommendations

To become an OB/GYN, individuals must earn a bachelor's degree, complete medical school and fulfill a 4-year residency requirement. During residency, students spend at least 50 hours per week attending to patients and learning from doctors. After they complete their residency, applicants must then take boards or licensing examinations before they can legally practice medicine.

OB/GYNs need to have strong communication skills, make quick decisions, be self-motivated and be able to work long hours. Since advances are often made to medical technology, OB/GYNs must also be willing to keep abreast of changes through continued education or workshops and seminars.

Formal Education

All OB/GYNs complete intensive formal education programs, including undergraduate school, medical school and residency requirements. The specialized residency program allows candidates to learn about preconception, pregnancy, labor and delivery, postpartum and genetics.

Bachelor of Science in Pre-Medicine

The core coursework of a 4-year pre-med program includes studies of biology, genetics, physics, physiology and chemistry. Students spend as much time inside the classroom learning instruction as they do practicing in the laboratory. Students spend the last two years of a pre-med program preparing for the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT).

Doctor of Medicine

Students spend a majority of their first two years of medical school in laboratories and classrooms completing a multitude of science-based courses, including microbiology, anatomy, pathology and biochemistry. During the third and fourth year, students work in clinics or hospitals where they deal with patient care. Toward the end of their fourth year, students interview for residency positions at hospitals, where they choose a field of specialty, like obstetrics and gynecology.

Job Experience

OB/GYNs need years of experience before they can earn their license. During residency, students learn how to treat patients and perform infant deliveries and surgeries. They also learn how to execute medical procedures, including hysterectomies, laparoscopies, ultrasounds, Cesarean sections and breech extractions.

Many employers require potential OB/GYN candidates to have at least a year of experience after residency. Most group practice employers require that OB/GYNs be on once or twice a week, depending upon how many other doctors are in the practice. Additionally, some employers state that applicants will work 60-hour work weeks.

Licenses and Certifications

After they complete their residency, applicants can seek certification from the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Applicants can choose a specialized area to become certified in, which include maternal-fetal medicine, reproductive endocrinology and infertility, female pelvic medicine or gynecologic oncology. To become certified, applicants must pass a written and oral examination. Applicants must take recertification exams every six years.

Workshops and Seminars

During medical school or while completing their residency, students can partake in workshops or conferences to learn directly from experts in the field. These meetings can be found at a campus lecture hall or at a large meeting facility on behalf of a medical school or professional OB/GYN organization. Many physicians, including OB/GYNs, travel to conferences where they discuss recent research advancements and other current issues facing health care providers and patients.

Workshops at Universities

Half-day workshops are common on university campuses. These sessions are held on behalf of the school's medical department and feature renowned speakers. Attendees can learn about delivery techniques, fetal monitoring and surgical obstetrics.

Medical Conferences

Medical schools and professional organizations host annual conferences or meetings that are 3-4 days long. Lectures focus on evaluating pelvic pain in patients, managing pregnancy complications and diagnosing gynecologic tumors. Certain conferences can qualify for continuing education credit hours.

Professional Development

If OB/GYNs don't join a group practice after they have completed their residency program, they can partake in fellowships to become specialized teachers or researchers. These fellowships take 2-4 years to complete. Some areas of specialty include gynecology oncology, reproductive endocrinology or maternal fetal medicine.

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