How to Become an OB/GYN Nurse

Morganne Skinner, BSN, RN
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Updated May 21, 2024
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Interested in becoming an OB/GYN nurse? Learn about the education, training, and certifications to pursue a career in this field.
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OB/GYN nurses provide comprehensive reproductive healthcare to patients and assist in childbirth. In this career, you will care for newborn infants and their mothers, improve patient health and well-being, and forge meaningful connections with patients and their families. Learn how to become an OB/GYN nurse in this guide.

How Long to Become

2-4 years

Degree Required

ADN or BSN

Job Outlook for all RNs, 2022-2023

6% Growth (faster than average)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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What Is an OB/GYN Nurse?

OB/GYN nurses work with obstetricians, gynecologists, and midwives to support reproductive health, especially during pregnancy and childbirth. These nurses often work in hospitals, clinics, private OB/GYN practices, and birthing centers.

OB/GYN nurses assist physicians and advanced practice registered nurses, educate patients, and administer prescribed medications and other treatments. They help reduce the risk of maternal and infant illness and death while giving infants a healthy start in their first days and minutes of life.

This specialty is narrower than women’s health nursing but broader than labor and delivery nursing. These nurses care for people planning to become pregnant, pregnant patients, and those with reproductive health needs. Their duties typically involve assisting during examinations and procedures, along with providing ongoing care during pregnancy and childbirth.

Steps to Becoming an OB/GYN Nurse

To get started, you’ll need to:

Nursing licensure requirements vary by state, so always check with your state board of nursing.

  1. 1

    Earn an ADN or BSN Degree From an Accredited Program

    An associate degree in nursing (ADN) is a two-year college diploma that prepares students to become RNs. A bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree also prepares students to become an RN, but it is more in-depth and takes about four years. Many nurses start with an ADN and, once they gain experience, enroll in an RN-to-BSN program that lets them finish a BSN faster.

  2. 2

    Pass the NCLEX Exam to Receive RN Licensure

    The next required step in becoming an OB/GYN is passing the NCLEX-RN and applying for a state nursing license. The NCLEX-RN is a national examination of all the topics related to nursing practice, including techniques, communication, and the legal and ethical aspects of nursing. This exam ensures your competence to practice nursing safely.

  3. 3

    Gain Experience in Obstetrics or Gynecology

    Graduates can apply for jobs in different OB/GYN settings, such as hospitals and health systems, independent practices, standalone practices, clinics, or other healthcare settings. Entry-level OB/GYN jobs include extensive on-the-job training and learning.

  4. 4

    Consider Becoming a Certified OB/GYN Nurse Consultant

    While earning certification is not a legal requirement to become an OB/GYN nurse, it validates your specialty nursing knowledge and experience and enhances your career prospects. The National Certification Corporation offers the NCC credential in inpatient obstetric nursing (RNC-OB®). You must have at least 24 months of experience in OB/GYN nursing (minimum of 2,000 hours) and professional experience in the last two years to be eligible to take the certification exam.

    Other certifications, through the Neonatal Resuscitation Program or Electronic Fetal Monitoring Certification program, can also be beneficial.

OB/GYN Nurse Education

To become an OB/GYN nurse, you must earn a nursing degree and obtain an RN license. The shortest pathway is to earn an ADN degree, but a BSN is more valuable for higher-level positions and prepares you to earn a master of science in nursing (MSN). However, if you choose to first earn an ADN, you can later enroll in an RN-to-BSN program.

ADN Degree

Earning an ADN degree is the quickest way to become an OB/GYN nurse. It takes half the time of a BSN and has fewer requirements. Both programs prepare you for the NCLEX, but many employers require a BSN for higher-level positions, especially in high-risk patient care or leadership.

  • Common Admission Requirements: High school diploma or GED certificate; math and science class scores; SAT, HESI, or other standardized test scores
  • Program Curriculum: Practical nursing skills, communications, legal and ethical aspects of nursing
  • Time to Complete: Two years
  • Skills Learned: Administering medications and other treatments, taking samples for medical tests, infection prevention and control, and communication with patients and healthcare staff

BSN Degree

The BSN program includes the same curriculum as an ADN but is more in-depth and covers additional topics, such as nursing theory, nursing research, and informatics. It can also prepare you for graduate school, such as a nurse midwife program.

  • Common Admission Requirements: High school diploma or GED certificate; math and science courses, typically a 3.0 GPA; SAT, HESI, or other standardized test scores
  • Program Curriculum: Practical nursing; nursing administration and leadership; evidence-based practice; nursing research
  • Time to Complete: Four years
  • Skills Learned: Administering medication and treatments; taking samples and vital signs; running certain medical tests; infection control and prevention; research analysis; public health promotion; communications; leadership

OB/GYN Nurse Licensure and Certification

Becoming an OB/GYN nurse requires an RN license. Certification is not a legal requirement but can be helpful in salary negotiations or in applying for higher-level positions. Once you have 24 months and 2,000 hours of experience as an OB/GYN, you can apply to the National Certification Corporation for RNC-OB certification and take the certification exam. Learn more about earning RNC certification.

Nurses maintain both their RN licenses and certifications through ongoing professional development. This can include approved conferences, courses, webinars, or completing approved reading and taking a test.

Working as an OB/GYN Nurse

To improve your job prospects, consider interacting with other OB/GYN nurses, tailoring your applications, and shadowing OB/GYN nurses.

OB/GYN nurse salaries are lower than in other RN specialties, partly because many nurses want to work in this specialty. The average OB/GYN nurse salary is $83,242 per year, according to ZipRecruiter. The average RN salary is slightly higher at $87,86 per year.

Common workplaces and duties for OB/GYN nurses include:

  • Women’s Health Centers: Educate pregnant women on prenatal care, provide sexual health education, and assist with routine gynecologic exams.
  • Hospitals: Monitor fetal heart rate, assist during labor and delivery, and provide support during emergency obstetric situations.
  • Doctor’s Offices: Assist women in managing menopausal symptoms, lead perinatal classes, and provide breastfeeding education.
  • Fertility clinics: Educate women about their reproductive health, support couples experiencing infertility, and assist with fertility procedures.

Frequently Asked Questions About Becoming an OB/GYN Nurse


Page last reviewed on May 4, 2024

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