Over the last decade, the number of enrolled osteopathic medical students has risen by 77% in the United States. The holistic approach to healthcare and the preventative philosophy of DO schools is becoming increasingly attractive for prospective med students.
What is an osteopathic physician? An osteopathic physician is a medical doctor that received their education from an osteopathic college. They are Doctors of Osteopathy (DOs) rather than MDs (medical doctors) and hold equal status to MDs as physicians.
As you prepare your school lists, you too may be drawn to DO programs. There are now 40 different DO colleges with American Osteopathic Association accreditation. These schools have 64 site locations across the US.
DO Schools, or colleges of osteopathic medicine, offer programs for training students to become Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine (DO). Unlike their MD counterparts, DOs are trained with an emphasis on treating the whole person.
The medical training between allopathic (MD) medical schools and osteopathic medical schools is, for the most part, the same. Both schools are traditionally four-year programs that teach students how to treat patients, prescribe medications, and perform procedures.
What is the difference between an MD and DO school? An MD school has a greater focus on diagnosing and treating diseases, while DO schools integrate holistic approaches, emphasizing primary care, wellness, and the body’s ability to heal.
In addition to this philosophical difference between allopathic and osteopathic medicine, DO schools require 200 hours of training in osteopathic manipulative medicine in addition to the regular curriculum.
What are the tuition fees for DO schools? Tuition fees for DO schools in 2022-2023 ranged from a little over $13,000 for in-state tuition at one Texas school to over $60,000 per year nationally.
Your personal views and future goals as a physician will play a role in choosing what type of medical school to attend. There are a number of reasons to choose a DO school over an MD school.
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With a focus on continuous learning, research, service, and hands-on clinical experience, this school teaches students with a community-centric educational approach. WCU is consistently ranked as a top school in the South.
Their graduates are dedicated to addressing the healthcare necessities of all, especially focusing on the medically underserved and diverse groups in local, national, and global communities.
WesternU integrates principles of biomedical ethics and a humanistic approach into its curriculum. At this school, you will learn to become a culturally sensitive professional while the faculty nurtures your passion for healing.
WesternU also has an Interprofessional Education program that promotes an understanding of other health professions for better collaboration in healthcare settings.
Ranking #71 in the U.S. News best medical schools for primary care and #111 for research is Michigan State University. This school is renowned for research, community outreach, and producing skilled practitioners.
They have an extensive clinical rotation network, too, for hands-on training.
If you have a hard time with lecture-structured learning, the curriculum tracks at Rowan may be for you. Programs here focus on small groups, standardized patient encounters to learn patient care, simulators, and community primary care.
This school has affiliations with large hospitals, such as Jefferson Health Stratford Hospital and Virtua Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, to provide extensive clinical experience.
Ranked one of the best medical schools for serving rural areas and underserved areas, this college’s mission is to educate students to become community-focused physicians.
Preliminary numbers for the 2023 Match show a near 100% match rate for VCOM students.
WVSOM is one of the best schools for making a difference in the lives of rural Appalachia. This school has been on the U.S. News rankings for 24 consecutive years.
While many DO schools are geared toward primary care, WVSOM boasts many former students who have matched into specialties like neurology, orthopedic surgery, pediatrics, and more.
To select a DO school to apply through via AACOMAS, consider these factors:
Choosing a medical school is an important decision for an aspiring physician. There are several misconceptions about DO schools and osteopathic medicine. Often, people don’t understand that a DO and MD are both medically trained, licensed physicians.
DOs are also thought to be only primary care physicians. This isn’t true. DOs can be found in many other specialties.
Now that the National Resident Matching Program has merged MD and DO graduates together, the match rate for DO students into residencies has increased.
Many of the common misconceptions about DOs are changing as osteopathic medicine’s popularity increases. There are still some considerations to keep in mind when deciding on a DO med school.
Osteopathic schools aren’t necessarily harder than MD programs, but there are a few more hoops to jump through, such as learning OMM and taking an additional set of board exams. Still, both DO and MD programs are academically rigorous.
Before 2015, it was more difficult to match with a residency as a DO student. However, in the many years since, DO and MD students participate in the same residency Match.
A viral Reddit thread on this topic found that many DO students found their education to be more time-consuming than MD students with the addition of OMM and an extra board exam. Commenters also underscored the stigma of the “DO” title as a factor in their perspective, despite the fact that it is quite literally equal to an MD title.
The route to becoming an osteopathic physician starts during your pre-med studies. These schools tend to have slightly lower minimum requirements, but there are fewer DO programs than MD programs, so they are still equally as competitive.
When applying to DO schools, you will use AACOMAS. You are still required to submit transcripts, letters of recommendation from professors and mentors, a work and activities section, and a personal statement.
Once you have completed a DO program, you will be required to take the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination (COMLEX) to become a licensed medical doctor. Doctors can then pursue residency through the National Resident Matching Program.
DO schools are looking for well-rounded applicants with a demonstrated passion for community and whole-person care. This pathway provides a different perspective on medicine, patient care, and the healing capabilities of the body.
Whether you are hoping to become a primary care physician or just drawn to the osteopathic philosophy, MedSchoolCoach can help you stand out.
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