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Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine

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A doctor of osteopathic medicine (DO) is a physician trained in somewhat similar to allopathic MD (Doctor of Medicine) and are licensed to practice medicine, perform surgery, and prescribe medicine.


Like all allopathic physicians (or MDs), osteopathic physicians complete 4 years of medical school and can choose to practice in any specialty of medicine.

DO states practice rights
DO states practice rights

Osteopathy / musculoskeletal medicine

Most osteopathic physicians receive an additional 300 to 500 hours in the study of hands-on manual medicine and the body's musculoskeletal system.

What is osteopathy?

Osteopathic physicians believe in the principle that a patient's history of illness and physical trauma are interlinked through flow of fluids, motion and texture of tissues, and structural makeup.

Osteopathic school of medicine

There are many osteopathic medical schools in the United States that offer a DO degree. In general, the DO programs tend to be a bit less competitive when compared to an allopathic MD program although it can vary.


Like MDs, osteopathic physicians are licensed at the state level.

Board certification and specialization

Osteopathic physicians who wish to specialize may become board certified similar to MD's by completing a 2- to 6-year residency within the specialty area and passing the board certification exams.

Specialties practiced

DOs practice in all specialties of medicine, ranging from emergency medicine and cardiovascular surgery to psychiatry and geriatrics.

Medical treatments

Osteopathic doctors use the same medical and surgical treatments that are used by other medical doctors, but may also sometimes incorporate osteopathic and or a holistic approach taught during their medical training.

List of osteopathic medical schools in the US

For a list of osteopathic medical schools in the United States, please see this page.

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