Osteopathic Medicine Schools Colleges & Universities

A Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.) treats patients using a holistic approach, caring for the sick with an emphasis on treatment of the musculoskeletal system. Osteopathic medicine can be an intellectually challenging and lucrative career with the reward that accompanies helping those in need.

Healing Holistically: Careers and Degrees in Osteopathic Medicine: If you want to be an effective Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, you should be a strong academic performer and retain information well. You should also have good communication skills and enjoy interacting with patients. Since healthcare is a team effort, you should be able to work well with others. Above all, you should possess a strong commitment to patient care.

Admission Requirements for Degree Programs in Osteopathic Medicine: A bachelor's degree is almost always required for admission into D.O. programs. Degrees in biology or related sciences are the most common fields of study for D.O. program applicants, but any field is acceptable so long as the applicant has taken the required science and math coursework. Additionally, applicants must take and perform well on the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT). Admissions committees also look favorably on volunteer experience in the healthcare field.

Available Degrees in Osteopathic Medicine: To practice osteopathic medicine in the United States, you must possess a D.O. degree from an accredited institution.

Top-Ranked Osteopathic Medicine Schools: U.S. News and World Report publishes rankings of degree programs in a wide range of fields. Rankings are based on job placement rate, faculty/student ratio, and program funding, among other criteria. There are currently 28 schools of osteopathic medicine in the United States, and the highest ranked schools include:

  • • Western University of Health Sciences, College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific
  • • Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine of Midwestern University
  • • Midwestern University Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • • Des Moines University College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • • University of North Texas Health Science Center, Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine

Osteopathic Medicine Associations: Many opportunities exist for doctors of osteopathic medicine to gain membership in professional societies and organizations. The American Osteopathic Association is the largest D.O. organization in the United States, and each state also has its own osteopathic medicine association or society.

Current Income and Employment Information for Individuals with Degrees in Osteopathic Medicine: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in May 2009, the mean annual wage for those individuals employed as physicians across all industries in the U.S. was $173,860. More than half of all physicians were employed by physician's offices, while roughly a quarter were employed by general medical and surgical hospitals; however, the highest-paying employers for these jobs were outpatient care centers, with a mean annual wage of $205,970. Other industry sectors that are major employers of physicians include the Federal Executive Branch and colleges, universities, and professional schools.

On a state level, the mid-Atlantic states of New York and Maryland ranked highly among states with a high concentration of physician employees (4.8 and 3.6 per thousand workers in May 2009, respectively). The highest paying states were Minnesota and Indiana, with annual mean wages of over $210,000.

In the 2008-2018 decade, national employment of doctors of osteopathic medicine is expected to grow by an impressive 22 percent. Of note, the growing and aging population is expected to drive demand for physicians for the foreseeable future.

The writer Dave Raiser is a doctoral candidate in Biological and Biomedical Sciences at Harvard Medical School. In addition to substantial experience in biomedical research, his industry experience includes work for a biological and clinical data search engine company, a biotechnology review blog, and an idea-to-market inventor services company. Dave has bachelor's degrees in biology and music from the University of Richmond.


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