M.D. vs D.O.: What's the Difference Between These Two Doctors?
By Lydia McAllister on Friday, September 25, 2020
The biggest difference between a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) and a Medical Doctor (MD) is the way they treat their patients.
MDs practice allopathic medicine, which means that they use treatments that aim to combat disease by use of remedies to overcome the effects of the disease. This is considered “modern day medicine.”
DOs practice osteopathic medicine, which is a more holistic approach. They are trained to consider a patient's environment, nutrition and body system as a whole when diagnosing and treating medical conditions. Osteopathic schools have a stronger focus on alternative therapies, holistic medicine and disease prevention.
► MD stands for “Doctor of Medicine”
► An MD has graduated from a conventional (“allopathic”) medical school
► MDs focus on making a diagnosis and treating the symptoms and illness
► MD degrees take four years to complete followed by a residency program (3-7 years)
► MDs must pass the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE)
► The median salary for a MD physician or surgeon in the U.S. is $208,000.
► DO stands for “Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine”
► A DO has graduated from a school of osteopathic medicine
► DOs focus on the whole person and their lifestyle for treating a condition
► DO degrees take four years to complete followed by a residency program (3-6 years)
► DOs must take the Comprehensive Medical Licensing Examination (COMLEX)
► The median salary for a DO physician in the U.S. is $195,000.
Both MDs and DOs
► Are licensed to practice in all 50 states
► Can practice in any specialty
► Can prescribe medicine
►Make great money
Many MDs can eventually choose a specialty that requires more education and experience, which ultimately increases their salary.