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What’s the difference between an MD and a DO?

What’s the difference between and MD and a DO? Physicians, or medical doctors, may have different letters after their names. Read on the learn what they mean.

What is a physician?

Physician is a designation given to a qualified practitioner of medicine. Physicians are who we call “Doctor” in the clinical setting. These types of professionals hold doctorate degrees in medical care. A  doctorate degree is an advaned degree a person may pusue after completing college.  Unlike other types of doctorate degress, such as the Juris Doctorate, or JD, that a lawyer has, a physician must have either a Medical Doctorate (MD) or an Osteopathic Doctorate (DO or OD) degree.

What is an MD?

The majority of medical doctors in the United States are have MDs–close to 90%. An MD, or Medical Doctorate is achieved by professionals who have completed a conventional allopathic medical school. MDs are physicians.

Medical school is typically 4-years after college.  The first two years of medical school is typically classroom-based. In the last two year of medcal education most of the learning takes place in a clinical setting.

After medical school MDs must get licenses to practice.  If they aspire to be board-certified in a medical specialty, the doctor must get accredited internship and residency training in that field. MDs often have to maintain their board-certification with continuing medical education and testing throughout their careers.

What is a DO?

Is a DO a medical doctor? The answer is, yes–but not an MD. A DO is a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine. DOs sometimes use the term OD.

Like a MD, a DO is also a physician.  This means they are also qualified to provide medical care. They must get licensed and do post-graduate, residency training to became board certified in a speciality and maintain their certification.

Although holders of the MD degree make up the marjority of physicians today, according to the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine, DO students make up 25% of medical students.

What’s the difference between MD and DO degrees?

DO vs MD? Like MDs, or medical doctors, DO doctors attend medical school–a specialized one. Osteopathic medical school, however, offers education with a more wholistic approach and training in the osteropathic manipulative treatments (OMT). OMTs are a hands-on practice of prevention and treatment involving massage and joint manipulation.

Osteopathic doctors essentially practice conventional medicine but have training in some alternative traditions.

Which is better MD or DO?

MDs and DOs are both qualified physcians. They have the educattion and training to provide medical services. Which is better is a matter of personal choice.

DO Dr vs MD? Find either type of physician here!