What is the Difference Between an M.D. and D.O. Doctor?

What is the Difference Between an M.D. and D.O. Doctor?

Osteopathic medicine is practiced by D.O.s in the United States. Osteopathic medicine was developed in 1874 by Dr. A.T. Still who stated, “Any variation from health has a cause, and the cause has a location. It is the business of the osteopathic physician to locate and remove it, doing away with the disease and getting healthy instead.” He believed that many medications (at that time) were useless and even harmful. He identified the musculoskeletal system as a key component for good health.

More on the difference between D.O.s and M.D.s

Could you choose a D.O.? Take the questionnaire
Video 1: What is a D.O.?
Video 2: Exploring osteopathic medicine

Osteopathic medical school forum: discussion among D.O. physicians and students.

D.O. vs. M.D.

  • Both D.O.s and M.D.s typically have a four year undergraduate degree prior to medical training.
  • Both D.O.s and M.D.s have spent four-years in medical education. Both take the MCAT and are subject to a rigorous application process. Historically, D.O. schools are more open to the non-traditional candidate.
  • D.O.s, like M.D.s, choose to practice in a specialty area of medicine and complete a residency program ranging from 3-7 years. Some D.O.s complete the same residency programs as their M.D. counterparts.
  • M.D. students take the USMLE exam and D.O. students take the COMLEX exam. Both must pass a state licensing examination to practice medicine.
  • D.O.s perform surgery, deliver babies, treat patients, prescribe medications, and work in the same settings as M.D.s. D.O.s use the same tools, treatments, and technologies of medicine as M.D.s.
  • D.O.s receive extra training in the musculoskeletal system, which make up the muscles and bones of a person.

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