Becoming an OB/GYN: How to Specialize in Obstetrics & Gynecology

Debra Riley


Becoming an OB/GYN is an exceptionally rewarding career path. Why? It enables specialists in the field to focus their careers on helping and supporting women at all stages of life and health. 

The best part?

For the chief of the Division of General Obstetrics and Gynecology at New York Presbyterian Lawrence Hospital Dr Anna Burgansky, specializing in obstetrics and gynecology has allowed her to build ‘lifelong connections’ with her patients – allowing her to follow them from adolescence through to adulthood.

The meaningful difference an OB/GYN can make in the lives of their female patients is, undoubtedly, both invaluable and fulfilling. 

So, how to become a family nurse practitioner – specifically, one who specializes in obstetrics and gynecology? Stay with us to learn more. 


Step 1: Complete Your Bachelor’s Degree 

What is the first step on your journey to becoming a specialized OB/GYN? Attaining a bachelor’s degree at university. Often, the assumption is that you need to set yourself up for your OB/GYN career by starting with medical-related undergraduate studies. But the truth? There is no set requirement for your bachelor’s major to pursue a career as an OB/GYN. 

Yes, it often helps to undertake a science-related or pre-medical bachelor’s degree, but specialization in medicine is not strictly required at the bachelor’s level.

More important? Passing the MCAT exam enables you to attend medical school after completing your bachelor’s degree.  

Step 2: Pass the MCAT Exam

So you’ve attained your bachelor’s degree. The next step? You’ll need to pass the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) to get into medical school. The MCAT is utilized as part of the admissions program for almost all medical schools in the US.

For that reason, passing the MCAT is essential to progress in your OB/GYN career.  

So, how do you pass the MCAT? First of all, you might be relieved to know that the MCAT is multiple-choice, which means you won’t need to complete any wordy essays or assessment tasks.

As the MCAT is computerized, you’ll also need to be tech-savvy and comfortable with a computer. Consider doing some practice tests online before you sit the real MCAT exam.

That way, you’ll be prepared to resolve some of the most common questions you’ll be asked to answer during the test.

Step 3: Attend Medical School 

Attending medical school. It’s a crucial stepping stone toward becoming a specialized OB/GYN. 

But to be sure, this is a real commitment – a 4-year commitment, no less. Yes, you’ll need to complete 4 years of general medical school before you can specialize in your true passion of obstetrics and gynecology. 

So, what will you study in medical school? Some of the areas of study you will cover will include units focusing on basic sciences – including biology, biochemistry, and anatomy, to name a few.


Step 4: Complete Your OB/GYN Residency

Graduated from medical school? Now, you’ll need to complete your OB/GYN residency. What does this look like? It’s a rotational clinical placement of hands-on, real-world, on-the-job OB/GYN training.

But be aware: just like your medical school commitment, your residency will take another 4 years to complete. 

For this reason, you need to be absolutely sure that a career in obstetrics and gynecology is right for you.

Once you’ve committed to the years of study and completed your OB/GYN residency, the only step remaining will be to pass your OB/GYN Board Certification Exam. 


Step 5: Pass Your OB/GYN Board Certification Exam

You’ve put in the years of study and training. You’ve attained your medical qualifications and completed your specialized OB/GYN residency. The last step? You’ll need to pass your OB/GYN board certification exam to practice in clinical settings. 

Keep in mind that this is an oral exam, conducted in person at the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ABOG) facility. Just like the MCAT exam, you’ll need to be adequately prepared to pass.

The good news? Having completed your OB/GYN residency, you’ll already be well-versed in the practical requirements of the role, as well as the realities of your duties and responsibilities as a specialist in obstetrics and gynecology.