Osteopathic Medicine: What Kind Of Doctor Is A D

January 08, 2021 MD vs DO: The Biggest Differences (And Which is Better) January 08, 2021/ Dr. Shemmassian

What is a DO vs. MD? Learn the truth about how allopathic & osteopathic medical programs can impact your residency, career, & salary


Table of Contents

Part 1: Introduction

Part 2: DO vs. MD: Admissions questions

Part 3: DO vs. MD: Residency and career questions

Part 4:DO vs. MD: Where to lớn apply

Part 1: Introduction

There are countless articles online that will tell you the following:

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter whether you receive sầu an MD vs. DO degree.

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DO và MD are merely letters behind your name.

All that matters is that you’re a physician.

You’ll have sầu access lớn the same opportunities regardless.

And so on. If you’re reading this guide, you’re probably less interested in political correctness or the history of the degree programs, & more interested in real talk about questions like:

What is the difference between an MD & a DO?

What kind of doctor is a DO?

Is getting a DO easier than an MD?

How competitive are you for getting into MD vs. DO programs?

How will a DO vs. MD degree impact your residency, career, và salary options?

Therefore, this guide will be focusing on the information you actually care about. (Note: If you’re reading this as someone seeking the right health care option, you may also be wondering, “Should I see a DO or MD?” and “DO vs. MD: Which is better?” This guide will answer your questions, too.)

Before we get into lớn answering your juicy questions, here’s a brief overview of the two types of medical degrees in the United States.

What is a DO vs. MD?

Doctor of Medicine (MD): Physicians with an MD degree train in allopathic medicine, which focuses on the diagnosis và treatment of disease. MD physicians attover med schools accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME). When most people think of a physician, they’re thinking of an MD.

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Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO): Physicians with a DO degree train in osteopathic medicine, which takes a more holistic approach. What a holistic medical approach actually means is placing additional focus on the following (shout-out to lớn Doctor Mike for explaining this so clearly):

The body’s ability lớn heal itself


The patient as a whole (i.e., their environment, nutrition, and body toàn thân system)

The American Osteopathic Association (AOA) Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA) accredits DO programs.

(Note: Many MD physicians take a holistic approach khổng lồ their patient care. Nevertheless, the training focus differs between MD và DO programs.)

DO vs. MD: Similarities

Both MD and DO physicians:

Must complete the same medical school requirements (e.g., Bachelor’s degree, MCAT, extracurricular activities).

Must gain certain extracurricular experiences for medical school during their undergrad and post-bacc years (e.g., clinical shadowing, patient exposure, community service, volunteering).

Attend four years of accredited medical schools

Base diagnostic và treatment decisions on science

Can be licensed to lớn practice medicine in all 50 states

Can write the same prescriptions

DO vs. MD: Differences

MD physicians tend lớn specialize (e.g., cardiology, neurology, ophthalmology) & work in urban areas. DO physicians tend to lớn practice as primary care physicians & work in rural areas (more on this later).

As of January 2021, there are 155 accredited MD programs, but only 38 accredited DO programs in the United States.

There is a roughly 9:1 ratio of MD vs. DO physicians in the United States.

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Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s dive sầu inlớn your most pressing questions.