What Does Your Future Hold?
My Life, My Career
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.
Many people pursuing a medical career recognize their ambitions from an early age. It is important to get high grades in high school to get accepted into a prestigious four-year college or university. There are also fast track programs to medical school that are even more difficult to get into. High grades, extracurricular activities, volunteer work, a 1990 or higher on the SAT and a 29 or higher on the ACT can all improve your chances at acceptance into a fast track program.
Upon entering college, a prospective OB/GYN needs to enroll in a pre-med program or take all of the prerequisite courses for medical school. Coursework includes chemistry, biology, physics, genetics and organic chemistry. Performing well in each course, with an average GPA of 3.5 or higher, will factor significantly in your acceptance into medical school. During the last two years of college, you prepare for the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) and aim to score an 11 or higher. The MCAT is typically required along with the application to medical school.
Medical school is the next four years of higher education for an OB/GYN. Generally, the first two years of medical school take place in the classroom, and the last two are spent in a clinic or hospital. Courses in medical school include biochemistry, anatomy and pathology. During the third and fourth years, students rotate through different departments in a clinic or hospital, including internal medicine, surgery, pediatrics and OB/GYN. The fourth year primarilyinvolves OB/GYN clinical electives, such as high-risk obstetrics, endocrinology and ambulatory OB/GYN. During the fourth year, you apply for a residency program through a computer matching method. "The match" helps pair your top choices with various residency programs. This is sometimes the hardest part of the whole education process as oftentimes there are 1,000 applicants for a residency program that only has five or six openings.
The last four years of education involve a residency in a hospital or clinic, performing OB/GYN duties and overseeing medical students. As a resident, you must be on-call and respond to emergencies and births at any time. Once residency is completed, the prospective OB/GYN must apply for a state license through the American Association of Medical Colleges and pass two different national board exams. On exam is a written exam and the other an oral exam.