An urogynecologist is a highly-trained specialist in the field of women's health. Professionals focus on problems related to pelvic floor dysfunction, a condition that covers urinary and bowel control issues, prolapse, and structural deformities. Medical and surgical procedures in the field of urogynecology are often very complicated and delicate, and doctors spend many years preparing for the job. A person who wants to become a urogynecologist needs to graduate from an accredited medical school, complete about seven years of supervised training in residencies and fellowships, and pass licensing exams. A newly licensed professional can become an urogynecologist at a hospital, specialty clinic, or private practice.
The first step to become an urogynecologist is completing a bachelor's degree program at a respected four-year university. Most hopeful doctors major in premedical studies to learn the fundamentals of anatomy, physiology, and patient care. Near the end of a bachelor's degree program, a student can begin investigating different medical schools. In order to be accepted into most medical schools, a prospective student is required to pass an admissions test and submit grades, personal essays, and letters of recommendation.
Once accepted into a four-year medical college, an individual who wants to become an urogynecologist can meet with advisers to create a specialized degree plan. A new student usually receives classroom and laboratory instruction for the first two years, gaining expert knowledge of medical principles and research techniques. The final two years are usually spent conducting independent research and interning at local hospitals and clinics.
Earning a doctor of medicine degree enables a graduate to enter a residency program in urology, gynecology, or obstetrics. A residency typically lasts three to four years and involves hands-on training and actual medical practice under the supervision of experienced doctors. Residency programs are most commonly found in general hospitals, though some hopeful urogynecologists are placed in specialty clinics or practices dedicated strictly to women's health.
After completing a residency, a doctor who wants to become a urogynecologist can take part in a three-year fellowship in female pelvic medicine, a highly-specialized program offered at a select few medical centers worldwide. A new doctor learns how to diagnose, treat, and surgically repair complications of pelvic floor dysfunction. Upon the successful completion of the fellowship, the doctor must pass a series of licensing examinations administered by a nationally recognized medical board before he or she can practice independently. Urogynecologists are generally in high demand, and licensed doctors often enjoy many employment opportunities.