DO and MD

How are DOs and MDs similar and different?

"Osteopathic training  includes not only the study of all branches of medicine and surgery, but also up to 500 hours of additional training in manual medicine diagnosis and treatment."

DOs and MDs complete equal number of years of undergraduate, graduate study and post graduate training (i.e. internship, residency). Both DO and MDs can prescribe medication and are fully licensed to practice complete spectrum of medical & surgical care in all 50 states in the U.S.

Like allopathic physicians (MDs), DOs who are trained in the US are trained and licensed to practice the full range of medicine and surgery. DOs attend a separate school of medicine where they are exposed to an additional 500 hours of education in the practice of manual medicine known as Osteopathic Principles and Practice (OPP) or Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (OMM). Both DOs and MDs continue their postgraduate training in an internship and residency. They are often times training side by side at the same training institutions. Because DOs have additional training in OPP they are able to diagnose and treat patients in ways that are unique to the Osteopathic Profession.

See table below for a detailed comparison of levels of education & training.

Osteopathic Training
Osteopathic training, includes, not only the study of all branches of medicine and surgery, but also up to 500 hours of additional training in manual diagnosis and treatment. Today, there are more than 50,000 osteopathic physicians in the United States whose practices cover the entire range of specialties, such as emergency medicine, neurosurgery, cardiology, and psychiatry. More than 65% of DO’s choose primary care specialties, such as family practice, internal medicine, obstetrics, and pediatrics, as opposed to only 25% of MD’s.

Comparison of Osteopathic Physicians, Allopathic Physicians, and Chiropractors

Undergrad Training 4 Year Degree Same 90 Hours College Credit Some Require Degree
Grad Training 4 Year Osteo Medical Degree (DO) 4 Year Medical Degree (MD) 4 Year Chiropractic Degree (DC)
Post Grad Training 1 Year Internship

2-8 Years Residency depending upon the specialty





Licensure/Scope of Practice Fully Licensed to practice the complete spectrum of Medical and Surgical Specialties in all 50 states Same Licensed to practice Chiropractic Manipulation (see below)
Prescribe Medications Yes Same No
Manual Medicine Training Over 500 Hours (see below) None Over 500 Hours (see below)
* Association of Chiropractic Colleges and American Chiropractic Association