What is the difference between a DO and an MD?

There are two kinds of practicing physicians in the United States: allopathic physicians (MDs) and osteopathic physicians (DOs). 

If you’re like most people, you’ve been going to physicians ever since you were born, but you were unaware that some or all of them could have been osteopathic physicians, also known as DOs. 

Both MDs and DOs:

  • Our fully licensed physicians, trained in diagnosing and treating illnesses and disorders, and in providing preventive care.

  • Completed four years of basic medical education.

  • Students entering both DO and MD medical colleges typically have already completed a four-year bachelor’s degree with an emphasis on scientific courses. 

  • After medical school, both of them obtain graduate education through internships, residencies, and fellowships. This training lasts three to eight years and prepares them to practice a specialty.

  • Can choose to practice any specialty of medicine, such as family medicine, pediatrics, psychiatry, surgery to ophthalmology.

  • Must pass comparable or the same examinations to obtain state licenses.

  • DOs and MDs both practice in accredited and licensed health care facilities.