Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Education and Training

Following undergraduate studies, future DOs attend 4-years of osteopathic medical school. Basic science is the focus during the first 2 years. The latter 2 years are spent in general medicine, research, and osteopathic manipulative clinical work. Clinical settings vary from city to rural to provide exposure to all areas of medicine.

360 Training drawn on a chalkboardOsteopathic doctors may specialize in and become board certified in many fields.A one-year internship follows osteopathic medical school graduation. The internship provides additional experience working in family practice, internal medicine, and surgery. A residency program in a specialty area requires 2 to 6 additional years of training. Osteopathic doctors may specialize in and become board certified in many fields, such as:

  • Anesthesiology
  • Dermatology
  • Emergency medicine
  • Family practice
  • Internal medicine
  • Neurology and psychiatry
  • Neuromusculoskeletal medicine
  • Nuclear medicine
  • Obstetrics and gynecology
  • Ophthalmology and otolaryngology
  • Orthopaedic surgery
  • Pathology
  • Pediatrics
  • Physical medicine and rehabilitation
  • Preventive medicine
  • Proctology
  • Radiology
  • Sports medicine
  • Surgery

The American Osteopathic Association (AOA) through one of its Bureau of Osteopathic Specialists oversees Board Certification. To become board certified, the DO must graduate from an accredited osteopathic medical school, be accepted by the specialty board, successfully completed an internship and practice requirements, meet the specialty board's requirements, and be a member of the AOA in good standing.

The osteopathic doctor must be licensed by the state in which he practices. In some states, the tests and licensing procedures are the same as for medical doctors (MDs). In addition, doctors of osteopathic medicine recognize Continuing Medical Education is essential to good medical practice.

Updated on: 01/09/18
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