What is an Obstetrician

Doctors who serve women during and after their pregnancies are called obstetricians. They are also gynecologists, who treat women’s health conditions that are not related to reproduction. This is why these physicians are commonly referred to as ob/gyns.

Obstetricians provide prenatal care, monitoring the health of the mother and the development of the fetus. After performing the delivery, an obstetrician counsels the parents and continues to regularly examine the child. Ob/gyns prevent, diagnose, and treat illnesses, diseases, and disorders. They prescribe medication and recommend therapy. For more information on job duties, please visit our obstetrician job description page.

Work Environment

Ob/gyns work in clean, well-lighted examination rooms in hospitals and clinics. Materials and equipment are sterile and safe, when protocols are followed, but doctors do run the risk of coming into contact with infectious diseases.

The atmosphere can range from joyous, as women anticipate having children; to tragic, in the case of serious illness or the loss of a fetus. Though 60 to 80 percent of deliveries take place without complications, high-pressure situations are common. Obstetricians are trained to induce labor, use forceps to aid in deliveries, and perform Cesarean sections.

Work Schedule

Obstetricians work long hours, exceeding 40 hours per week. According to one report, about one-third of them routinely put in more than 60 hours. They may be needed at all hours of the night, and on weekends. However, their schedules are often flexible, especially in private practices.

Mean Annual Obstetrician Salary

The average annual obstetrician salary is $212,570. The mean salary is calculated by adding all the wages within the occupation and divid that value by the total number of employees. Lowest 10% of this occupation makes less than $109,550 and the top 10% makes well over $320,000.

Obstetrician Salary: Quick Summary

2013 Mean Salary$212,570 per year
$102.20 per hour
Top 10% Salary$320,000 per year
$153.85 per hour
Bottom 10% Salary$109,550 per year
$52.67 per hour
Number of Jobs, 201321,730

Obstetrician Job Outlook and Prospects

The number of positions available for obstetricians in the United States is expected to increase 18 percent between 2012 and 2022, which is near the average growth of all occupations.

What Affects Obstetrician Salary

Obstetrician salary is affected by numerous factors, including experience (which leads to improved reputation), education, and position. Specialization is a further area for consideration, with several avenues to pursue; nearly 44% of obstetricians have some specialization. Finally, the industry worked and the geographic location make large differences in obstetrician salary, and are the primary pursuits to reach higher wages. With all of this in mind, the average obstetrician salary is around $212,570.

Education and Specialization

After taking multiple high school classes in major sciences and advanced math, a prospective physician needs to enter a pre-med program at an accredited college or university. Four years of study result in a bachelor’s degree, with medical students generally majoring in biology or chemistry. The course schedule also features math, physics, English, the humanities, and social sciences.

The next educational obligation is successfully completing four years of medical school to earn a graduate degree. Getting into one of these schools can be difficult due to heavy competition among applicants. Good high school grades and test scores, as well as passage of the Medical College Admission Test, are necessary. Some medical schools offer six-year programs that include undergraduate and graduate studies, shaving two years off the process.

Students then undergo three to eight years of residency and internship. This training takes three to eight years, depending upon the speciality. A license from a state agency and certification by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology, both of which entail passing exams, are required to practice as a doctor.

An ob/gyn may specialize in acute and chronic conditions, adolescent gynecology, behavioral problems, cancer, endocrinology, health maintenance during pregnancy, infertility, operative gynecology, pregnancy and delivery, or urinary-tract disorders.


Some obstetricians run their own practices or work in offices with groups of doctors. The majority are in physicians’ offices, while hospitals are the next-largest employers. Other ob/gyns work for outpatient-care centers, health networks, private institutes, and the government. Some are instructors and researchers at colleges and universities.

Those employed at psychiatric and substance-abuse hospitals often earn the most money, while obstetricians at general-medical and surgical hospitals are near the bottom of the ob/gyn salary list. The pay in physicians’ offices tends to be better than that provided by outpatient centers and government. All ob/gyns, other than the self-employed, are provided lucrative benefits packages. These perks increase the value of the average obstetrician’s compensation to well over $300,000.


According to a recent government report, California had the most jobs (2,400) for obstetricians, at an average salary of $220,940. The 2,150 ob/gyns in Texas averaged $219,870. Next were Ohio, 1,180 practitioners at $208,620; New Jersey, 890 at $223,250; and North Carolina, 720 at $200,400. The metropolitan areas with the most positions were those surrounding Houston, New York City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

The states featuring the highest salaries were Idaho, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, and Montana. The top-paying metro areas were Winston-Salem, N.C.; Warren-Troy, Mich.; Seattle, Wash.; Pittsburgh, Penn.; and Orlando-Kissimmee, Fla.

Obstetricians are especially in demand in rural, low-income, and other underserved areas.

Obstetrician salary state by state