Osteopathic Medicine - DO

The field of osteopathic medicine is based on the philosophy that doctors should treat the whole person, not just a patient's symptoms. Continue reading to explore the osteopathic medicine career field as well as education options.

Inside Osteopathic Medicine

Doctors of osteopathic medicine (DOs) often treat their patients by manipulating the musculoskeletal system, which includes nerves, bones, joints and muscles. Using manipulative techniques, DOs believe they help the body heal itself. They practice medicine with a different philosophy than medical doctors (MDs), but their training is very similar, with the addition of learning osteopathic manipulative medicine. DOs have the same responsibilities and privileges of MDs, such as prescribing medicine, performing surgery and diagnosing illness. (The term 'osteopathy' refers to a more limited field of health care than osteopathic medicine.)

Education Information

Osteopathic medicine degree programs, like traditional medical education programs, are 4-year graduate programs. They cover the subjects of human anatomy, physiology, microbiology, neuroanatomy and more, with advanced instruction in the musculoskeletal system. Student doctors complete clinical rotations in general practice and in specialty areas to gain hands-on experience. Admission to osteopathic medicine programs is competitive. In 2014, the American Osteopathic Association accredited only 29 schools in the nation (www.osteopathic.org). The following articles provide information about the education and training requirements for becoming a doctor of osteopathic medicine, including degree and residency information.

Licensing and Certification Information

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