If you want a career helping women, there are few better options than gynecology. A gynecologist is a doctor who specializes in women’s health. They focus primarily on reproductive care, but they also address a broad spectrum of medical concerns.
The field of gynecology is typically combined with that of obstetrics. Obstetrics is a surgical specialty in which physicians care for women just before and immediately after childbirth. Obstetricians also specialize in delivery. OB/GYN is considered one medical specialty, although it contains the two fields of gynecology and obstetrics.
In this article, we’ll go over the average gynecologist salary in the specialty of OB/GYN. We’ll also provide the starting salary of a gynecologist and the top-paying industries and locations for OB/GYN physicians.
Average Gynecologist Salary
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average gynecologist salary is $238,320.
For our research, we relied mainly on the BLS since its data is more all-inclusive and reliable.
Starting Gynecologist Salary
As a gynecologist or OB/GYN, you’ll earn more as you gain working knowledge and experience in the field. When you first start, your salary may be lower.
The BLS shows that the lowest-paid 10% of OB/GYNs earn an annual wage of $92,040. The average starting salary for a gynecologist is likely to fall in this bottom-tenth percentile. As you continue to see patients and add to your resume, you may find yourself in the 25th percentile ($172,130 per year) or higher.
However, the average gynecologist salary also depends on your industry, where you work, and other factors.
Average Gynecologist Salary by Industry
Gynecologists can work in a range of industries, from private practice offices to research facilities. Each of these employer types provides different average salary opportunities for gynecologists and OB/GYNs.
Top-Paying Industries for Gynecologists
If you’re curious about the top-paying industries for gynecologists, refer to the list below.
- Medical and Diagnostic Laboratories – $281,680
- Management of Companies and Enterprises – $256,860
- Offices of Physicians – $246,690
- Outpatient Care Centers – $228,750
- General Medical and Surgical Hospitals – $215,470
Average Gynecologist Salary by State and City
Another crucial factor that affects how much you earn as a gynecologist or OB/GYN is where you live. As a general rule of thumb, you can expect to earn a higher salary in locations where the cost-of-living is higher. If you commute, you can make the most of a lower cost of living and a higher salary.
Top-Paying States for Gynecologists
The states with the highest average gynecologist salary are:
- West Virginia
- New Mexico
Top-Paying Cities for Gynecologists
The cities with the highest average gynecologist salary are:
- Waterbury, CT
- Toledo, OH
- Tampa, FL
- Scranton, PA
- Milwaukee, WI
Top-Paying Rural Areas for Gynecologists
And the top-paying rural areas for gynecologists are:
- Southern Ohio
- Eastern Ohio
- Piedmont North Carolina
- South Georgia
- Southwest Colorado
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Self-Employed vs. Employed Gynecologist Salary
Another choice you have as a gynecologist is whether you work for someone else or for yourself.
According to the 2019 OB/GYN Compensation Report by Medscape, self-employed OB/GYN doctors tend to earn a higher salary than those who are employed.
However, the survey also shows that self-employed gynecologists are generally older than employed gynecologists. With more years of experience under their belts, these physicians would likely earn higher salaries than their younger peers whether they were employed or self-employed.
As a self-employed physician, you can run your own private practice, where you see patients. You can also hire physicians to work in your practice as employees. Alternatively, you might partner with other physicians to operate a group practice.
Whichever way you go about becoming a self-employed gynecologist, you’ll need to think about more than just the average gynecologist salary. You’ll have overhead costs to consider, too.
According to Medscape, self-employed gynecologists put this amount of their revenue to overhead costs per year:
- Owner of a solo practice: 56%
- Owner of a group practice: 50%
- Partner: 41%
Average Gynecologist Salary vs. Other Medical Careers
Gynecology can be a highly rewarding career, both personally and financially. OB/GYN is in the top-three best-paid medical jobs, according to the most recent BLS data.
Below are some of the highest-paying medical specialties for your comparison:
- Anesthesiologist – $267,020
- Surgeon – $255,110
- OB/GYN – $238,320
- Orthodontist – $225,760
- Psychiatrist – $220,380
You can find the top 15 highest paying medical jobs here.
How to Become a Gynecologist
Becoming an OB/GYN requires at least 12 years of school. To become an OB/GYN, you’ll need to follow these steps:
Earn an undergraduate degree. The first step to becoming a gynecologist and obstetrician is earning a bachelor’s degree. Your degree can be in any field, but you need a strong foundation of math and science to gain admission to medical school. It may make things easier to major in a science or enroll in a pre-med program. This step takes most people four years.
Take and pass the MCAT. Next, you have to show that you’re ready for the academic rigor of medical education. You prove that by taking the Medical College Admission Test, or MCAT. The four sections of the MCAT will assess your knowledge in biological science, verbal reasoning, behavioral science, and physical science.
Apply and get into medical school. The MCAT is only part of securing your admission into medical school. You’ll also need good grades in your undergraduate program and a strong application. Working in a medical office or gaining related experience while you’re in college can also help.
Complete medical school. Once you’ve gotten in, prepare for four long years of medical school. You’ll learn the ins and outs of medicine and how to provide care as a physician. Most people complete medical school in four years. The first two years may feel similar to your undergraduate program. But in your third year, you’ll start more hands-on training.
Take and pass the USMLE. To get into a residency program after medical school, you need to pass the United States Medical Licensing Examination. You have to take Step 1 of the USMLE while you’re still in medical school, after your first two years. You’ll do Step 2 later on in your fourth year of med school before you enter residency. Step 3 will take place during residency.
Complete four years of residency. You’ll need to complete another convincing application to get into a residency program. Once you do, you’ll work as a resident physician for four years. The first part of residency may be more general, but in the last three years, you’ll focus on OB/GYN.
Take and pass a written board exam. To start practicing as an OB/GYN, you have to pass a board exam.
Practice OB/GYN for two years. Finally, you’re a practicing OB/GYN in your first two years of work. You have to practice for two years before completing the final step of your certification.
Take and pass an oral board exam. At last, you can officially earn certification by taking the oral board exam. This gives you the green light to continue your career as an OB/GYN.
Complete a specialist fellowship (optional). OB/GYNs can tack another three years onto their education if they want to specialize further. Technically, OB/GYN is its own specialty. But you can increase your earning potential and hone your skills even more by completing a fellowship in fertility, gynecological oncology, high-risk pregnancy, or another specialized field. This entails completing a fellowship program and passing another written and oral board exam.
Gynecologist Medical School Debt
Those 12-plus years of college can add up, in terms of medical school debt, fast. If you’re a prospective OB/GYN, it’s a good idea to compare the average gynecologist salary to the average gynecologist debt.
Gynecologists and obstetricians typically go into the same amount of debt as other physicians and surgeons. Since 2017, the average medical school debt has hovered around $200,000. That figure can be daunting to even the most passionate medical students.
Luckily, the average gynecologist salary is high enough to make paying off that amount of debt feasible. Additionally, you can start paying down your debt while you’re still technically in your medical school program. Earning a medical degree also opens up options for Public Service Loan Forgiveness if you choose a public service position.
Start Paying During Residency
The good news is that you’ll start earning an income while you’re in residency. The bad news? That salary will likely be about half of what you’ll make as a certified and licensed physician.
However, your salary in residency can allow you to start making payments on your student debt. This is especially helpful if you’re planning on attending another three years of school for a fellowship program, and might need to take out additional loans.
If you start paying your loan balance while your salary is still somewhat low, you’ll want to check out the federal government’s Income-Driven Repayment Plans. These only apply to federal loans, but they can help you make smaller payments relative to your wage.
Public Service Loan Forgiveness for OB/GYNs
As a licensed OB/GYN, you’ll have the option to work in a public service capacity. If you do, you’ll qualify for the federal government’s Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.
If you go this route, make sure you get enrolled in the program right away, as soon as you’re hired by a qualifying public employer. If you wait until the last minute, your student loans might not qualify for PSLF.
Employers Offer Loan Forgiveness
Many medical employers offer incentives like student loan assistance. When you’re searching for OB/GYN positions, look out for those positions.
You may have to sign a contract to work with an employer for a number of years, but they could pay off as much as $75,000 or more of your student loans.
Career Outlook for Gynecologists
The career outlook for OB/GYNs is good. The BLS predicts an increase of 7% for all physician and surgeon careers between 2018 and 2028, which is much higher than the average for all jobs.
The Association of American Medical Colleges also reports that there is a shortage of OB/GYNs in the United States, with more than half of all U.S. counties lacking even a single provider.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists predicts that by 2020, there will be 8,000 fewer OB/GYNs in the country than needed.
With such a shortage, the United States is in desperate need of OB/GYN doctors—,, especially in rural counties. With a higher demand for gynecologists, the average gynecologist salary can be expected to rise.
Telemedicine in OB/GYN
Another exciting opportunity in OB/GYN is telemedicine. Because there aren’t enough gynecologists, some providers have started offering long-distance care. As an OB/GYN doctor, you could add telemedicine to your list of services. Doing so will help carry your medical practice into the future.
Average Gynecologist Salary Bottom Line
If you’re interested in women’s care, pregnancy care, or child delivery, OB/GYN could be the perfect medical specialty for you. Many OB/GYNs choose the field because it offers a mix of surgical and clinical experiences.
And while becoming an OB/GYN can take 12 years or more, the average gynecologist salary makes the career well worth the wait.
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