Do you want to be a physician— a physician who is more than a conventional doctor? You want to get to know people, by getting into their lives and finding out the cause of their disease.Do you believe in finding the cure for the disease instead of merely fixing them short term? Or you believe in a natural cure, long term solution and healthy medications?Are you a person who enjoys talking and communicating with people in society and want to heal those who suffer? If yes then, then Osteopathic medicine is for you and you can choose this career as a first or second option. There are hundreds of colleges that offer teaching and training in Osteopathic medicine. Anyone— from any group or age— can choose this as a career.
Osteopathic Medicine and How to Become an Osteopath
Difference between Allopathic and Osteopathic medicine:
The main deference between allopathic medical schools and osteopathy is that allopathic medical students earn a medical doctor degree, whereas osteopathic graduates earn doctors of osteopathic medicine degrees. In most cases, simply looking at a degree or doctor’s name and you will know the difference between an allopathic doctor and osteopath.
Osteopathic students learn about manipulative medicine of bones, muscles and joints, which is adjunct to diagnosing and treating patients. In Osteopathic medicine, students spend 200 hours of osteopathic medical education learning about Osteopathic manipulative medicine (OMM).
There are some pre-requisites before joining osteopathy. The first thing you need to do is earn a Bachelor’s degree. The best part about the osteopathic medicine program is that you don’t have to go for specific degree, you can join the program with any bachelor’s concentration.
After you are successful in gaining admission into osteopathic medical school, there are multiple durations in order to obtain your degree. Usually it is a 4 year program, during which the first two years students learn basic science and clinical skills. In the last two years, students explore various medical specialties in clinical settings.
After you go through school, you will need licensing in order to practice. You will have to pass the national licensure exam. In the USA, the standard body for the licensing examination is Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination (COMLEX-USA). This exam consists of three layers. The first exam is held in the first year of medical school. When they pass, then students are allowed to move on with their studies. When they reach their third year, exams are held again. The third exam is held during postgraduate training. Doctors can start practicing only after they obtain their license.
The Bureau of Osteopathic Specialists of American Osteopathic Association was established in 1939. Its main purpose is to regulate the postdoctoral education and certification in different specialties in the field of Osteopathic medicine.
There are different levels of Certification which include:
- General Certification Doctors— after satisfying basic requirements in the specified field of practice, Doctors are awarded a general certification.
- Special Qualification Certification— the certification in which a candidate needs to meet subspecialty for general certification.
- Added Qualifications based Certification—these certifications are awarded to those with modification or general and special qualification and training for at least on year in length while satisfactory completion of certifying examination in that field.
What makes you Eligible for certification?
- If you have completed Internship, Residency Training and applied within 6 years
- If you are good standing member of AOA
- If you meet all requirements of the special board as mentioned above
- Have been recognized as registered by the specialty board
When you successfully complete your academic training you will have to join Internship, and Residency training. The internships are usually 12 months and include practice in internal medicine, general practice obstetrics/gynecology, surgery, pediatrics, and general practice.
After 12 months of internship, a candidate must complete a residency program which requires 2 to 6 of addition training, covering 120 specialty areas, some of the major areas are mentioned below:
- Family practice
- Orthopedic surgery
- Internal medicine
- Physical medicine and rehabilitation
- Sports medicine
When you complete your academic internship and residency training, osteopathic doctors are advised to attain certification in specialties. The certification vary, but mostly, osteopathic doctors are licensed and have complete residency programs after fulfilling all these requirements. Certification is renewed according to the board’s criteria.
Some of the major qualifications of the doctors are as followed
- Continuing medical education
- Professional education
- Board certification
As described above an osteopathic physician is required to complete 4 years of academic education. During 4 years of academic education, a candidate needs 300 to 500 hours of academic instruction including the neuro-musculo-skeletal system and many other supporting subjects. Hopefully this article gave you an idea of what it takes to become an osteopath and you use this information to your advantage!
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