Osteopathic Doctor: Salary and Career Facts

Doctors of Osteopathy (D.O.) perform the same work as Doctors of Medicine (M.D.), except they use holistic treatment methods accompanied by physical exercises and manipulation of the bones and muscles. Learn about education, training and licensing requirements, and examine the earning potential for osteopathic doctors. Schools offering Allied Health degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What is Osteopathic Medicine?

Osteopathic medicine, or osteopathy, is a form of medical practice that focuses on manipulation of the body in order to treat and prevent illnesses and injuries. Osteopathic doctors have the same background training as medical or allopathic doctors, but they have an additional focus on holistic healing. This work often includes physical therapy and rehabilitation.

What Requirements are Needed?

In order to work in osteopathic medicine you must obtain a Doctor of Osteopathy degree (D.O.). This degree is also referred to as a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine. Some universities offer combined programs that provide a bachelor's degree and the doctor of osteopathy degree. If you choose the D.O. path, you will focus on the same skills that an M.D. program teaches, including pathology, phlebotomy, neurology, diagnostics, invasive procedures, reporting, radiology, psychology and emergency medicine.

Clinical training and residencies are required for graduation or licensure. All fifty states require licensure of osteopathic doctors. Each state has its own licensure requirements, so you should visit your state's board of certification to learn the details. The National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners (NBOME) provides nationally recognized COMLEX-USA exams that assess your osteopathic knowledge and clinical experience.

What Kinds of Work Will I Do?

You can work as a common medical doctor in family and internal medicine; However, your options are by no means limited to those. D.O.s commonly work in pediatrics, surgery or just about any medical specialty. You also work with people through nutrition, exercise and manipulation to promote healthy wellbeing. Being a licensed doctor, you can also prescribe drugs and diagnose afflictions and injuries.

What Can I Earn?

Since many osteopathic doctors work in their own practices, you will need to supply your own medical insurance, retirement and other benefits. According to Payscale.com's August 2010 data, osteopathic doctors new to their careers earn slightly less than $100,000 per year. With close to ten years on the job, you could be earning as much as $200,000, provided the salary trends hold steady in that time.

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