Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.)

Osteopathic physicians diagnose illness and injury, prescribe and administer treatment, and advise patients about how to prevent and manage disease. A major distinction between the M.D. and the D.O is that the D.O. has a strongly holistic philosophy and practices osteopathic manipulative medicine, a distinctive system of hands-on diagnosis and treatment which focuses specifically on the musculoskeletal system.

Approximately 50% of the 54,000 osteopathic physicians in the United State practice general or family medicine, general internal medicine, or general pediatrics. The rest specialize in a wide range of practice areas, including emergency medicine, anesthesiology, obstetrics and gynecology, psychiatry, and surgery. Like M.D.s, osteopathic physicians are fully licensed to diagnose, treat, prescribe, and perform surgery in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

There are currently 30 accredited osteopathic medical schools in the United States that grant the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.) degree. Education includes a bachelor’s degree, 4 years of osteopathic medical school, and from 3-8 years of medical residency training.

For more information on pursuing a D.O. degree, see:


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