Are MDs and DOs trained differently?
MDs and DOs both learn how to diagnose, treat and prevent diseases and injuries. They receive almost the same hours of training. They both go through four years of medical school, following which they complete a residency program that can be as long as seven years. The main difference between the two courses is that DOs undergo another additional 200 hours of coursework. During this time, they focus on the bones, muscles and nerves and their effects on overall body health. They also receive hands-on training. DOs may also take additional courses or classes to study holistic or alternative therapies. Preventive medicine is taught in both allopathic and osteopathic medicine, but osteopathic medicine has more classes on preventive medicine.
Both MDs and DOs are required to pass a national test to obtain a license to practice. MDs have to take the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE). DOs have to take the Comprehensive Medical Licensing Examination (COMLEX), but can choose to take the USMLE as well. Both tests cover the same subject matter.
Should I see an MD or a DO?
It is possible to tell which type of degree a doctor has by the letters attached to their name. If they went to an allopathic medical school, they would have an “MD” (Doctor of Medicine) after their name. If they went to an osteopathic medical school, they would have “DO” (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine) after their name.
Make sure you go to a licensed professional for your ailments.
Both MDs and DOs are equally qualified to diagnose and treat a patient. If you are looking for a doctor who has a more hands-on approach and may be more open to alternative treatment options, a DO may be ideal. However, an MD may also be open to alternative treatment options.
Most DOs choose to be primary care doctors, while MDs typically specialize in a particular field of medicine (cardiology, pediatrics, dermatology, neurology, etc.) or surgery (orthopedic surgery, ENT or ear, nose, and throat surgery, plastic surgery, neurosurgery, etc.) Hence, it would be easier to find an MD, who is a specific type of doctor, rather than a general physician. Ultimately, choosing the right doctor comes down to being comfortable with the doctor, having a good trusting relationship with the doctor and the doctor who can meet your health goals. Licensed MDs and DOs are equally qualified to provide medical care and choosing one over the other is a personal preference.