OB/GYN School Requirements

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OB/GYN education costs are high.
OB/GYN education costs are high. (Image: Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images)

An obstetrician and gynecologist, commonly referred to as an OB/GYN, specializes in women’s reproductive health, diagnosing and treating disorders such as urinary tract infections, yeast infections, sexually transmitted diseases and female reproductive cancers. An OB/GYN also specializes in childbirth. The education requirements for an OB/GYN are extensive, requiring at least eight years of schooling beyond high school. An OB/GYN must also pass several exams.

Undergraduate Degree

Individuals desiring a career as an OB/GYN usually start undergraduate school in a pre-medical program. Undergraduate students take a wide array of classes, and enter into specializations in medical school. Undergraduate programs typically last four years, but the minimum is three years for acceptance into medical school. Common courses taken during undergraduate studies include physics, biology, mathematics, English, and inorganic and organic chemistry. Students must also take social science and humanities classes. Some students obtain internships in clinics and hospitals to gain work experience.

Medical College Admission Test

Once students complete undergraduate studies, they must take the Medical College Admission Test, called MCAT, to enroll in medical school. Students are advised to study hard and obtain high scores because admission into medical school is extremely competitive. The MCAT is a day-long test that covers extensive information on topics such as biology, chemistry and physics. There are also sections of the exam that test students’ writing and reading skills. You can choose from a variety of study guides to help prepare for the exam. Many study guides offer example exam questions and online practice tests similar to the real test.

Medical School

The next step on the OB/GYN career path is to attend medical school. As a medical school applicant, you must submit your undergraduate transcripts and MCAT scores to your medical schools of choice. Most medical schools require students to submit a written essay and participate in an admission interview. OB/GYN students usually take the same classes as general physicians in the beginning of their medical school enrollment. Eventually students take specific obstetrics and gynecology courses to prepare for an OB/GYN career. Common classes taken in medical school include pharmacology, neuroscience, internal medicine and family medicine.

Residency and Licensing

After eight years of schooling, students start their internship and residency programs. Internships typically last twelve months and residency programs can last from two to six years. Students typically rotate through different departments within the hospital while completing their internship program. An OB/GYN is required to receive a state certification from the American Board of Medical Specialties to legally practice medicine. An OB/GYN must also successfully pass the United States Medical Licensing Examination.

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