It might seem like there is only one clear path to medicine. Go to undergraduate, apply to medical school, and after years of hard work, add the letters “MD” after your name. However, there is more than one way to become a licensed physician.
MD Vs. DO: Different Approaches
Both allopathic (MD) and osteopathic (DO) medical schools instruct their students in the necessary scientific foundations to become licensed physicians. However, the approaches the two schools take are very different. To obtain your medical doctor degree (MD), you must attend an allopathic medical school. Allopathic medicine uses science to diagnose and treat any medical conditions.
Osteopathic medicine is a little less-known and takes a more holistic approach. Doctors who receive their DO degree study something called osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT), a method that involves moving muscles and joints to promote healing. When OMT fits within a patient’s treatment plan, it can be used to complement drugs or surgery, adding another dimension to medical care.
Physicians with both an MD and a DO are licensed in all 50 states to practice medicine, perform surgeries and prescribe medication.
Read more on our Forbes column.