Obstetrics and gynecology are two closely related fields of medicine. Obstetrics is the care of expectant women through pregnancy and childbirth. Gynecology is the study and treatment of disorders of the female reproductive system, a lifelong area of practice. It's possible to become board certified in either specialty or in both. Doctors who practice as OB-GYNs enjoy mid-range salaries by the standards of the medical profession.
In its May 2011 figures, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports an average income of $218,610 for obstetricians and gynecologists. However, most industry sources report higher average incomes for OB-GYNs. For example, a July 2011 issue of "Modern Healthcare" collected and reviewed 16 current salary surveys by industry bodies and consulting firms. Fifteen of those reported data for OB-GYNs. Of the 15, the lowest average salary was $247,680, reported by HR firm Sullivan, Cotter & Associates. The highest was $420,000 per year, reported by the Pinnacle Health Group.
Despite this variance, the results show a significant degree of consistency. Nine of the 15 surveys reported average OB-GYN salaries of between $270,000 and $300,000 per year. For example, the study by staffing firm Merritt Hawkins reported an average OB-GYN salary of $282,000 per year. The lowest reported salary in that survey was $220,000 per year, while the highest was $360,000. Rival firm Jackson & Coker reported a slightly higher average salary of $299,294 in its own survey. The Jackson & Coker study also reports an average of $59,859 per year in other benefits for OB-GYNs, giving total compensation of $359,153 per year.
The "Modern Healthcare" special issue provides ample points of comparison to place OB-GYN incomes into context. For example, the range of average salaries reported for oncologists begins at $315,000 per year and rises to $457,000 per year. For urologists, the low figure was $347,500 and the high was $453,000 per year. Orthopedic surgeons fare even better, with average salaries ranging from a low of $378,062 to a high of $576,350. However, OB-GYNs out-earn other primary care practitioners. The average salary range for pediatricians begins at $161,732 and goes up to $229,041 per year. Family physicians averaged $162,908 to $221,196 per year.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that between 2010 and 2020, the number of physicians and surgeons practicing in the United States will grow by 24 percent. Women of the baby boom generation will still require the services of gynecologists as they age. The "echo boom" of baby boomers' children and grandchildren are another demographically significant group, and they're just entering their childbearing years. This should ensure strong employment prospects for OB-GYNs for the foreseeable future.