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What is a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO)?


Osteopathic physicians, also known as DOs, work in partnership with their patients; taking into consideration the impact that lifestyle has on the health of each individual. DOs, like MDs are fully qualified physicians licensed to practice the full scope of medicine in all 50 states. They practice in all types of environments and in all types of specialties, from family medicine to obstetrics, surgery, and aerospace medicine.

Both are licensed by state and specialty boards to perform surgery and write prescriptions. Applicants to both DO and MD colleges have a 4-year undergraduate degree with an emphasis on science courses, and both complete four years of basic medical education.

In fact, both DOs and MDs:

  • can choose to practice in a specialty area of medicine, such as surgery or obstetrics
  • complete a residency program, which usually takes three to eight years of additional training
  • must pass comparable state licensing examinations
  • are equal in the eyes of the law
  • practice in fully accredited hospitals and medical centers
  • can order medical tests and procedures
  • must maintain a prescribed level of continuing education units (CEUs) to remain certified

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