How to Become an Osteopathic Doctor


Becoming an Osteopathic doctor is not an easy task by far. A lot of time, practice, research, education, and more go into training for this profession. However, having the skills to practice medicine in such a holistic and advanced way will certainly help you go a long way in any field of medicine.

Osteopathic doctors practice medicine in a natural and pure way. In holistic medicine; it’s all about the body and using the different parts of the body to heal itself versus turning immediately to the more commonly used methods to healing of today. That being said, Osteopathic doctors need to be universally knowledgeable in not only all forms and fields of medicine, but also in the histories and background of these fields of medicine.  It’s hard work, but if it’s something that you’re passionate in, there is no reason why you shouldn’t pursue a career in holistic medicine.

Work Environment

What most people do not know is that Osteopathic doctors typically work in the same environments that other medical practitioners, professionals, and doctors work in and simply offer their Osteopathic practices additionally in these environments. These work environments can include (but are not limited to) hospitals, emergency rooms, and other attendances that other MD’s work in.

Of course, there is always an option to work in a holistic practice (or open one yourself), but this comes with experience and openings in these places aren’t as common as those listed above. It all depends on the location that you choose to work in.



Osteopathic doctors must begin training as anyone hoping to be in the medical field would. First, you must get your Bachelor’s degree in medicine (from any school). If you have programs where you can specify in your specific field, then that is always the first choice. However, the easiest way to transition to further training for the field of holistic medicine is to obtain a Bachelor’s degree in medicine as a whole (as a science). There are options out there to attend school to work towards a degree specifically in Osteopathic medicine, but a lot of research is necessary to find the school just for you. Once the degree is obtained, then, it’s on to further training.


Once a degree is obtained, it is time to begin your residency, as any doctor would, including clinical rotations and other practices of work, all the while continuing to learn and grow in knowledge of medicine and the practice of being a primary care physician. There are options to participate in Osteopathic fields or courses of residency, but it all depends the location in which you are working. Before beginning, it’s always a wise decision to research where Osteopathic programs are located (according to there are over 500 programs listed out there!)


With your degree and residency work, you may be able obtain a license to practice as a physician in any medical specialty. However, additional training and courses will be needed to be certified in holistic studies. These programs will mostly focus on patient care and the actual physical practice of holistic medicine, however, courses can still be found in relations to the more scientific or researched based study. It’s similar to any specific study of medicine, but this field might require a little more time (but if it’s for your dream career, then it’s always worth it.) Overall, it’s a long time of training, but the training is there for a reason.

Necessary Skills

As with any medical profession, the skills that you need to possess or acquire are patience, determination, perseverance, dedication, and ultimately, you must have a thirst for knowledge and a quest to achieve everything you encounter along the way. Specifically for the profession of being an Osteopathic doctor, in addition to the above skills, you must have the ability to effectively communicate and you must have the confidence in what you do. You will encounter patients along the ways that will question the foundations on which you make your medical decisions, so you must have the ability to correctly justify and almost defend your decisions. This profession is not for the weak.


Working as an Osteopathic doctor, according to, you can have a salary ranging anywhere from $140,000 to $300,000 a year. Osteopathic doctors often seem scarce (especially in certain areas). The more years you have under your belt of experience, the larger your salary will be.

Job Outlook

Spending 7 to 10 years in school, according to Web MD, working towards a profession might seem a little questionable, but if you decide to pursue this profession, the outcome can be much greater than you could ever imagine. Osteopathic doctors are always in demand and if you are skilled at what you are doing, the possibilities are endless for what you can achieve in your life.

Related Reading

Further Reading

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