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FOR YOUR HEALTH – What’s the difference between an MD and DO?

By Unknown | health | February 08, 2012


Have you ever been searching for a doctor and found one labeled as an M.D., while another is listed as a D.O.?

You may have wondered what this means.

There are two basic types of medical schools – Allopathic schools and Osteopathic schools. Doctors who attend the Allopathic schools become M.D.s. And if they graduate from the Osteopathic schools, they become D.O.s. Because of these differences, doctors vary in their views on medicine and treating patients.

So, which is right for you?


Both types of degrees produce medical doctors, who can prescribe you medicine and diagnose a condition. Here is what M.D.s and D.O.s have in common:

• Had to earn a four-year degree with core science classes.

• Attended four years of medical school. This is where the differences come into play, since there are two types of medical schools.

• Went through a residency program that lasted three to seven years.

• Required to pass licensing exams and obtain a state license.

• Can practice in accredited hospitals and clinics.

• Work side-by-side in the Military Health System to benefit service members and Families entrusted to their care.


Doctors who earned a D.O. often focus on primary care or Family practice, although many do choose a specialty and train in the same residency programs as M.D.'s.

D.O.'s also receive training in something called Osteopathic Manipulative Training, or OMT. OMT is similar to chiropractic work, but it's not the same. This treatment manipulates the body's muscles and bones to help with problems like back pain, shoulder pain and tension headaches. M.D.'s do not receive this training.

Over time, the differences between these two types of medical schools have faded. More and more, both schools train doctors to view their patients as a whole, while promoting health, preventing disease and treating when necessary.

So which is right for you? Now that you know the differences, it all comes down to your personal preference. Which highlights your values, and the way you want to be treated?

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