The 25 Top Osteopathic (DO) Schools

Discover the top 25 osteopathic (DO) schools in the country and explore their unique programs, faculty, and clinical opportunities.

Posted March 10, 2024

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Osteopathic medicine is a unique branch of healthcare that emphasizes a holistic approach to patient care. Osteopathic doctors, or DOs, receive the same education and training as their allopathic counterparts, known as MDs, but also have additional training in osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT). If you are interested in pursuing a career in osteopathic medicine, it is crucial to choose the right school to ensure you receive the best education and training possible. In this article, we will explore the top 25 osteopathic schools, the differences between DO and MD programs, the curriculum and training you can expect, admission strategies, and the various career paths available in osteopathic medicine.

The 25 Top Osteopathic Schools

When it comes to choosing a medical school, there are several factors to consider. The reputation and ranking of the institution, the quality of faculty and facilities, the availability of research opportunities, and the success of graduates in matching into residency programs all play a role in determining the top osteopathic schools. Here are the 25 top osteopathic schools in the United States:

  1. Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine
  2. Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
  3. West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine
  4. University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine
  5. A.T. Still University School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona
  6. Touro University College of Osteopathic Medicine - California
  7. Des Moines University College of Osteopathic Medicine
  8. Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine
  9. Western University of Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific
  10. Rowan-Virtua School of Osteopathic Medicine
  11. Kansas City University College of Osteopathic Medicine
  12. Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine
  13. LeCOM Bradenton School of Osteopathic Medicine
  14. Nova Southeastern University Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine
  15. Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine
  16. University of Pikeville-Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine
  17. University of New Mexico School of Medicine
  18. A.T. Still University School of Osteopathic Medicine in Missouri
  19. Lincoln Memorial University-DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine
  20. Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine
  21. Midwestern University Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine
  22. Campbell University Jerry M. Wallace School of Osteopathic Medicine
  23. Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine at Midwestern University
  24. Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine at Midwestern University
  25. Sam Houston State University College of Osteopathic Medicine

These schools have been recognized for their commitment to excellence in osteopathic education and have produced highly skilled and successful DOs.

Choosing the right medical school is a crucial step in the journey to becoming a successful osteopathic physician. The top osteopathic schools listed above have established themselves as leaders in the field, offering exceptional educational programs and resources to their students.

Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine, for example, is known for its strong emphasis on clinical training and research opportunities. Students at this institution have access to state-of-the-art facilities and a diverse patient population, allowing them to develop the skills necessary to excel in their future careers.

Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, on the other hand, prides itself on its comprehensive curriculum and commitment to community service. The school places a strong emphasis on primary care and preventive medicine, preparing its graduates to address the healthcare needs of underserved populations.

West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine stands out for its rural medicine program, which aims to train physicians who are equipped to serve in rural and underserved areas. Students at this institution gain hands-on experience in rural healthcare settings, developing the skills necessary to address the unique challenges faced by these communities.

Each of the top osteopathic schools on the list offers unique strengths and opportunities for aspiring osteopathic physicians. From research opportunities to specialized programs, these institutions provide a well-rounded education that prepares students for success in their future careers.

It is important to note that the success of graduates in matching into residency programs is a key factor in determining the quality of a medical school. The top osteopathic schools have a track record of producing highly skilled and competitive graduates who are sought after by residency programs across the country.

Overall, the top osteopathic schools listed above have earned their reputation for excellence in osteopathic education. Aspiring osteopathic physicians can be confident in the quality of education and training they will receive at these institutions, setting them on a path towards a successful and fulfilling career in medicine.

DO vs. MD Programs

While DO and MD programs share many similarities, there are a few key differences. The main difference lies in the philosophy and approach to patient care. DOs are trained to view the patient as a whole person, taking into account not only the physical symptoms but also the emotional, mental, and spiritual aspects of health. This holistic approach is known as the osteopathic philosophy. MDs, on the other hand, primarily focus on the diagnosis and treatment of diseases using evidenced-based medicine.

Another difference between DO and MD programs is the use of osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT). OMT is a hands-on technique used by DOs to diagnose and treat musculoskeletal conditions. It involves gentle manual manipulation of the joints, muscles, and tissues to restore balance and promote healing. MDs do not receive training in OMT.

Despite these differences, both DOs and MDs can practice in any specialty, and both are eligible for the same residencies and board certifications.

Curriculum and Training

The curriculum for osteopathic medical schools is similar to that of allopathic medical schools, with a strong emphasis on basic sciences, clinical skills, and clinical rotations. Students learn anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, pharmacology, and other foundational sciences in the early years of their education. In the later years, they gain hands-on experience through clinical rotations in various specialties.

In addition to the core curriculum, osteopathic medical schools also provide training in OMT. This additional training allows DOs to incorporate manipulative techniques into their treatment plans, providing a unique approach to patient care.

Admission Strategies

Admission to osteopathic medical schools is highly competitive, with a limited number of seats available each year. To increase your chances of acceptance, it is essential to develop a strong application. Here are some strategies to consider:

  • Focus on academic excellence by maintaining a high GPA and scoring well on the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT).
  • Get involved in extracurricular activities that demonstrate your leadership, service, and commitment to the community.
  • Seek out research opportunities to showcase your scientific inquiry and critical thinking skills.
  • Gain clinical experience by volunteering or working in healthcare settings.
  • Obtain strong letters of recommendation from professors, healthcare professionals, or mentors who can speak to your abilities and character.
  • Write a compelling personal statement that highlights your passion for osteopathic medicine and your unique qualities.

By following these strategies, you can enhance your chances of securing a spot at one of the top osteopathic schools.

Career Paths in Osteopathic Medicine

Osteopathic medicine offers a wide range of career paths and specialties. DOs can practice in primary care fields such as family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, and obstetrics/gynecology, providing comprehensive and holistic care to patients of all ages. They can also choose to specialize in areas such as cardiology, dermatology, orthopedic surgery, psychiatry, and many others.

Additionally, DOs have the option to pursue academic medicine, research, public health, and healthcare administration. Some may choose to work in underserved communities or participate in medical mission trips to provide care to those in need.

The career options in osteopathic medicine are vast and diverse, allowing individuals to find their niche and make a positive impact on the health and well-being of others.

In conclusion, choosing the right osteopathic medical school is crucial to ensure you receive the best education and training in osteopathic medicine. The top 25 osteopathic schools listed above have a proven track record of excellence and produce highly skilled DOs. Understanding the differences between DO and MD programs, exploring the curriculum and training offered, and implementing effective admission strategies can help you embark on a successful career in osteopathic medicine. Whether you choose to specialize in a particular field or pursue a career in primary care, the opportunities in osteopathic medicine are endless.

Read: The Journey to Becoming a Doctor: Skills, Education, and Commitment

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