Just like an M.D., a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine takes the MCAT and spends four years getting a medical education. He or she then chooses a specialty area of medicine and completes a residency program ranging from three to seven years (some complete the same programs as their M.D. counterparts).
The main difference between the two types of physicians is that D.O.s have been specially trained to perform osteopathic manipulations on patients and they view the patient as a “total person,” with a focus on preventative care. Currently, the nation’s 47,000 D.O.s account for only five percent of the country’s physicians, but it is a fast-growing segment of the healthcare field.