Gynecology is a medical specialty that focuses on the female reproductive system. Gynecologists are, therefore, doctors who are trained to treat and diagnose diseases that affect the vagina, ovaries, uterus and, often, breasts. Becoming a gynecologist requires more than just wanting to pursue a lucrative a career. Far from it, you should be keen on serving women and promoting their health.
What do gynecologists do?
Their duties include:
- Physically examining patients’ reproductive organs and harvesting samples of fluids
- Conducting laboratory experiments to detect the presence of disease-causing micro-organisms in the fluids
- Diagnosing diseases, including cancers and sexually-transmitted illnesses, and administering suitable treatment methods – This may involve performing surgery or vaginal therapy
- Referring clients with certain diseases to other medical specialists, such as radiation therapists
- Counseling women on caring for their genitals and preventing diseases
- Performing research on various reproductive health topics
Like many physicians, gynecologists work long and irregular hours. They are often on call, ready to respond to emergencies. Those in private practice, however, have more control over their hours.
While at work, gynecologists spend their time in a clean, sterile environment where they attend to clients.
Gynecologists can spend a large part of a workday on their feet, especially when performing surgeries. So the job can be physically demanding.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual wage for gynecologists (and obstetricians) is $212,570. The following table highlights their annual wage in various settings:
Offices of physicians
Ambulatory Healthcare services
Outpatient care centers
To become a gynecologist, you must complete the following steps:
- Pursue a bachelor’s degree in any science field, preferably biology, nursing, public health or nursing (3-4 years)
- Take the Medical College Admission Test
- Join medical school and obtain a medical degree (4 years)
- Pursue a residency program in gynecology – In many schools, gynecology programs are combined with obstetrics (a specialty that deals with pregnancy and childbirth) 4 years
- Obtain a medical license from your state’s board of medicine.
Some of the top medical schools for gynecology include:
- Stanford University School of Medicine, California
- Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Maryland
- Cooper Medical School, New Jersey
To be a competent gynecologist you need:
- An interest in promoting women’s health
- Strong practical and technical skills to use treatment devices
- Excellent analytical and observation skills
- Strong problem-solving skills
- Strong communication skills for counseling clients
- Good teamwork skills for collaborating with skills
- Empathy, compassion and emotional resilience
- Physical stamina
- Organizational skills
- The drive to engage in continuing education
After finding work, you can engage in the following activities to enhance your career progression prospects:
- Obtain a board certification from the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology
- Join a professional association, such as the American Gynecological and Obstetrical Society
- Pursue a graduate degree in gynecology.
Apart from the employers listed at the salary section, gynecologists can also find jobs in:
- Women’s health clinics
- Gynecology associations
With vast experience in the field, you can move into private practice and establish your own gynecology clinic. With a graduate degree, you may secure teaching jobs in medical schools.
Finally, the BLS notes the employment of health diagnosing and treating practitioners will grow by 20 percent through 2022, an impressive growth rate given that the nation’s average for all occupations is 11 percent.
Simply, this career gives you an opportunity to serve women. The salaries are high, but you must invest your time and energy into receiving the right training. Good luck!