Osteopathic Physicians

Osteopath Stretches Patient's Leg

Doctors of osteopathic medicine (D.O.s), more commonly referred to as osteopaths, practice a medical discipline that uses refined and sophisticated manipulative therapy based on the late 19th-century teachings of American Dr. Andrew Taylor Still. This field embraces the idea of "whole person" medicine and looks upon the system of muscles, bones, and joints—particularly the spine—as reflecting the body's diseases and as being partially responsible for initiating disease processes.

Osteopaths (D.O.s) represent one of two types of physicians (the other type is an M.D.). Osteopaths, similar to M.D.s, are licensed to prescribe medication and perform surgery. They practice in a wide range of fields, from environmental medicine, geriatrics, and nutrition to sports medicine and neurology, among others. Today, more than 20 percent of medical students are studying at osteopathic medical schools. Approximately 82,000 osteopathic physicians are employed in the United States, according to the American Osteopathic Association. 

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Quick Facts
Alternate Title(s) Osteopathic Doctors, Osteopathic Physicians
Duties Diagnose and treat injuries and diseases; emphasize a wholistic approach to patient care; palpate and manipulate a patient's body to assess disease and heal
Salary Range $50,000 to $100,000+
Work Environment Primarily Indoors
Best Geographical Location(s) Nationwide
Minimum Education Level
  • Medical Degree
School Subjects
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
Experience Residency
Personality Traits
  • Outgoing
  • Social
  • Technical
  • Interpersonal
  • Public Speaking
  • Scientific
Certification or Licensing Required
Special Requirements None
Employment Prospects Excellent
Advancement Prospects Good
Outlook Much Faster than the Average
Career Ladder
  • Owner, Osteopathic Practice
  • Osteopath
  • Osteopathic Physician Assistant

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