Due to the challenging tasks faced by an osteopathic medical student, it is impossible to obtain a DO degree entirely online. The amount of academic and clinical training required to finish medical school demands full time and attention. Online learning for this context is not practical. However, DO is a popular degree offered by many hospital schools and there is a great chance you have a campus nearby.

Do you want to cure the sick with love and affection? Consider enrolling in a medical school. The childhood cliche dream of “I want to be a doctor!” might become a reality if you have a D.O. degree.

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What does an osteopath do?

An osteopath is a physician who specializes in treating patients through specialized musculoskeletal manipulation techniques. Mainly, they are doctors and assume the same responsibilities, privileges, and rights of those with a “Medical Doctor (MD)” degree. However, there are slight variations in training particularly in osteopathic manipulative medicine (OMM).

Expounding the differences between MD and DO further, MDs are “allopathic physicians” which means they treat specific symptoms through drugs, surgeries, and other remedies. Whereas, DOs are “osteopathic physicians” who treat diseases or illness as a whole, wherein the DO has a basic understanding that ailments interact with the person’s body.

Aside from their distinct perspectives, MDs and DOs have a slight variation in terms of diagnostic methods. DOs tend to unravel the patient’s lifestyle – asking them questions like “What did you eat lately? Who prepared the food?”. Thus, DOs place more emphasis on people and how their behavior may prevent diseases.

What sort of accreditation should I look for in a school?

Currently, the Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA) organized by the American Osteopathic Association’s (AOA) accredits medical schools in the United States to grant the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO).

However, starting in 2020, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) will administer all accreditation of residency programs for both MDs and DOs in the US. This change in the accreditation committee is the result of the 2014 agreement of AOA and ACGME to unite all allopathic and osteopathic graduate medical education.

How do I earn my D.O. degree?

Several medical schools in the US offers DO programs. Standardized roadmaps to earn a DO degree involves a lot of prerequisites, examinations, and years of clinical training.

First of all, you do need to have a four-year college degree before enrolling to a medical school. There is no specific undergraduate major required, but, medical schools prefer students with competent backgrounds in biology, physics, chemistry, and English. A year before your application to a medical school, you need to pass the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT).

An osteopathic medical program typically takes four years to complete. The first two years are designed to hone your clinical skills and to learn basic science courses. During the third and fourth years, the DO student will have the opportunity to explore medical specialties in a clinical environment.

Students are trained on the following medical fields: surgery, anesthesiology, radiology, preventive medicine, obstetrics/gynecology, psychiatry, internal medicine, family medicine, pediatrics, emergency medicine, and public health. They are required to specialize in at one or two of these fields before graduation and residency.

The COMLEX-USA is a series of four osteopathic medical licensing examinations. The first two steps of the COMLEX-USA are taken during medical school and are prerequisites for osteopathic residency programs, which are available in almost every specialty of medicine and surgery. The third step exam consists of a written portion and a physical exam evaluation. The physical exam evaluation (COMLEX- PE), is only available in select regions in the country and graded as a PASS/FAIL exam. Finally, the step 4 portion of the COMLEX is taken during residency.

Based on the fields mentioned above, the graduate program for MDs and DOs appear to be virtually indistinguishable. However, osteopathic medical schools instruct 300–500 hours of training in hands-on manual medicine and study of the musculoskeletal system.

After 4 years in medical school, DO graduates proceed to internship programs, followed by a residency program with a specialty area. The length of residency programs varies by specialty ranging from 3 to 8 years. After the residency program, DOs may opt to enroll in fellowship programs to advance their specialties.

What type of degree do I need to pursue research or educate others in osteopathic medicine?

Academic physicians teach in medical school and consult patients sometimes. They either have an MD, DO, or Ph.D. degree in Medicine. Some medical professors engage in research work and write publications in scholarly journals and medical books. They are called “physician-scientists,” and they produce new knowledge by working with other professionals in different disciplines.

What kind of career and salary can I expect with my DO degree?

Saving lives may make a doctor’s life stressful and fulfilling at the same time. As expected, DOs work in hospitals and clinics. Sometimes, they go to remote places during medical missions and disaster relief operations. They work with doctors, nurses, therapists, and other medical practitioners. They may also work in research and work in the classroom. Long experienced doctors may also assume managerial positions in hospitals.

Depending on the specialty and location, the salaries of osteopathic physicians varies. Nevertheless, they are paid handsomely overall. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the US, DOs (like MDs) earn a median annual wage of $208,000. Anesthesiologists receive the highest pay of $260,990 per year while Pediatricians earn the lowest at $187,540 annually.

Do I need a license to be an osteopathic physician?

The National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners (NBOME) require D.O. medical students are required to take the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensure Examination (COMLEX-USA). This exam is taken in three levels. Level 1 is taken during the second year of the osteopathic school. Level 2 is taken at the end of the 3rd year. Lastly, level 3 is taken during post-graduate training.

Continuing education is required to renew a license. The number of years required for license renewal varies per state. A D.O. physician may take Board Certifications after getting a license and passing the exams to advance his/her career. An osteopathic physician may also take the United States Medical Licensing Examination(USMLE) to obtain the MD license along with DO.

What schools offer Doctor of Anesthesia Practice (Dr.AP) degrees?

Touro University College of Osteopathic Medicine–California (TUCOM-CA) in San Francisco offers on-campus education in the West Coast and well as in other branches in New York (TouroCOM-NY) and Nevada (TUNCOM). Other on-campus programs include: Nova Southeastern University Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine (NSU-KPCOM) in Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine of Midwestern University (CCOM) in Downers Grove, Illinois; Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine (ARCOM) in Fort Smith, Arkansas; and West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine (WVSOM) in Lewisburg, West Virginia.

Apples do not make your childhood dreams of becoming a doctor away. Pursue a D.O. degree today and make your life and other’s lives happy!

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TOURO UNIVERSITY CALIFORNIA

touro california

DOCTOR OF OSTEOPATHIC MEDICINE

School Highlights: Touro University is a fabulous educational institution that has been recognized repeatedly for its online programs in particular. However, its numerous campuses, such as Touro University California, offer outstanding on-campus options like the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine. Ambitious students should consider the dual DOM/Master of Public Health degree that gives a significantly more comprehensive approach to the discipline. The doctoral curriculum has a firm emphasis on understanding individual patients and examining health issues on a population basis, giving students an incredibly broad perspective of osteopathic medicine and public health challenges.

Program Options:

  • Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine
  • DOM/Master of Public Health Dual Degree

Campus Location: Vallejo, CA

Accreditation:

  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges
    533 Airport Boulevard, Suite 200
    Burlingame, California 94010
    www.acswasc.org, (650) 696-1060

Acceptance Rate: 8% Retention Rate: 69% Graduation Rate: 40%

LEARN MORE ABOUT TUORO UNIVERSITY CALIFORNIA’S DOCTOR OF OSTEOPATHIC MEDICINE

NOVA SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY

nova

DOCTOR OF OSTEOPATHIC MEDICINE

School Highlights: At Nova Southeastern University, doctoral students of Osteopathic Medicine learn to assess patients comprehensively and treat them holistically. They receive thorough training in working with today’s most cutting-edge technologies commonplace in healthcare environments and graduate as well-rounded, compassionate practitioners. The curriculum is four years long and extensively prepares students for the future through real-world practice opportunities, intensive courses, and clinical reviews. Nova Southeastern is highly dedicated to its students’ success, and the Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine is well-known for its phenomenal academic success and in-depth student support services.

Coursework Sample:

  • Family Medicine I & II
  • General Surgery I & II
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

Campus Location: Broward County, FL

Accreditation:

  • Higher Learning Commission
    230 South LaSalle Street, Suite 7-500
    Chicago, Illinois 60604
    www.hlcommission.org, (800) 621-7440

Acceptance Rate: 80% Retention Rate: 79% Graduation Rate: 62%

LEARN MORE ABOUT NOVA SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY’S DOCTOR OF OSTEOPATHIC MEDICINE

MIDWESTERN UNIVERSITY

midwestern

DOCTOR OF OSTEOPATHIC MEDICINE

School Highlights: Midwestern University’s doctorate program in Osteopathic Medicine is available on two different campuses in Illinois and Arizona. Both locations provide the same level of top-quality instruction, and students undergo a combination of exceptional clinical experiences, modern laboratories, the most up-to-date medical knowledge available, and state-of-the-art simulation technologies. The curriculum is exceedingly in-depth and has a focus on hands-on diagnoses and osteopathic manipulative medicine treatment. Graduates exit one of these fine doctoral degrees as top-tier professionals steeped in patient-centered care. Interested applicants needing further proof of excellence should look to Midwestern’s outstanding graduation and job placement rates, both of which are almost perfect.

Coursework Sample:

  • Research Design, Methods, and Approaches
  • Interprofessional Healthcare Communication
  • Infectious Disease, Etiologic Agents, and the Immune Response I & II

Campus Location: Downers Grove, IL

Accreditation:

  • Higher Learning Commission
    230 South LaSalle Street, Suite 7-500
    Chicago, Illinois 60604
    www.hlcommission.org, (800) 621-7440

Acceptance Rate: 55% Retention Rate: –% Graduation Rate: 94%

LEARN MORE ABOUT MIDWESTERN UNIVERSITY’S DOCTORAL DEGREE IN OSTEOPATHIC MEDICINE

ARKANSAS COLLEGE OF OSTEOPATHIC MEDICINE

arkansas osteo

DOCTOR OF OSTEOPATHIC MEDICINE (DO)

School Highlights: Looking at the Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine’s acceptance and graduation rates, it is clear to see that it is not only highly competitive but also massively successful. While it is a hard college to get into, once accepted, students have overwhelmingly positive experiences and exit the degree as tremendously experienced experts in osteopathic healthcare. The innovative curriculum is designed to train doctoral students who have previous knowledge and experience to enhance their skills to the top. ACOM emphasizes practice as equally as research, and graduates are prepared to take on leadership positions in any appropriate healthcare environment.

Coursework Sample:

  • Biomedical Essentials of Comprehensive Osteopathic Medicine
  • Fundamentals of the Anatomical Sciences
  • Integrative Biomedical Concepts I, II, & III

Campus Location: Fort Smith, AR

Accreditation:

  • Higher Learning Commission
    230 South LaSalle Street, Suite 7-500
    Chicago, Illinois 60604
    www.hlcommission.org, (800) 621-7440

Acceptance Rate: 7% Retention Rate: –% Graduation Rate: 96%

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE ARKANSAS COLLEGE OF OSTEOPATHIC MEDICINE’S DOCTORATE PROGRAM IN OSTEOPATHIC MEDICINE

WEST VIRGINIA SCHOOL OF OSTEOPATHIC MEDICINE

west virginia osteo

DOCTOR OF OSTEOPATHIC MEDICINE (DO)

School Highlights: The West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine has been educating leaders in healthcare for more than 40 years. At this outstanding educational institution of medicine, students complete a comprehensive academic pathway that drastically enhances their abilities as practitioners and researchers alike. WVSOM emphasizes a clinically integrated curriculum wherein the first two years students are in the classroom working in groups and as leaders, and the final years take place in the real world. Student success is this school’s top priority, where enrollees can expect only the highest quality healthcare education in osteopathic medicine.

Coursework Sample:

  • Lumbar Muscle Energy
  • Glomerular Filtration and Renal Blood Flow
  • Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (Clinical Shadowing)

Campus Location: Lewisburg, WV

Accreditation:

  • Higher Learning Commission
    230 South LaSalle Street, Suite 7-500
    Chicago, Illinois 60604
    www.hlcommission.org, (800) 621-7440
  • Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation

Acceptance Rate: 9% Retention Rate: –% Graduation Rate: –%

LEARN MORE ABOUT WEST VIRGINIA SCHOOL OF OSTEOPATHIC MEDICINE’S DOCTORAL DEGREE PROGRAM