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  • Poorvi Kheni

MD and DO Medical Schools

MD Medical Schools are institutes that offer a traditional medical curriculum. These schools focus on allopathic care and research-based medicine, typically using medication or surgery to treat and manage different conditions. Those who graduate receive a medical degree and are considered to be doctors of medicine. Unlike MD Medical Schools, DO medical schools focus on osteopathic care, holistic or preventative treatments for the entire body. Individuals who graduate from DO schools are considered osteopathic doctors, or physicians.

It is suggested that if one wants to pursue medicine, they should apply to both MD and DO schools due the competition in both environments. There are over 130 medical schools in the United States that offer MD degrees, while only 33 offer DO degrees. Ultimately, 75% of medical students ultimately attend an MD school, but DO schools have been rising in popularity. MD and DO both have similar requirements for education, sharing a need for a high GPA and MCAT score to attend either. The average overall GPA was 3.58 in 2019-2020 while the average MCAT score was 506.1 in 2019-2020. For MD schools, the average GPA was 3.72 and the average MCAT score was 511.2. For DO schools, the average GPA was 3.54 and the average MCAT score was 503.8. In comparison, DO schools are slightly less competitive. When admitted, both are required to complete 4 additional years of study consisting of clinical rotations and science courses. In addition to this, DOs are required to complete an additional 200 hours of study on the musculoskeletal system.

During the first two years of medical school, students are expected to take anatomy, biochemistry, microbiology, pathology, and pharmacology. Most medical school students take 4-5 courses about different disciplines, learning about one discipline for weeks before moving on to the next one. During the third and fourth year of medical school, one will receive clinical experience at hospitals or clinics. When doing a healthcare rotation, students serve under a resident during which the student will perform basic procedures and complete tasks assigned by their resident. Furthermore, time spent at the healthcare facility depends on the medical school. Some schools require that you spend three weeks at a hospital watching surgeries, while others require three months. According to the AMA, those pursuing a DO will spend a significantly greater amount of time with hands on training on the musculoskeletal system.

MDs and DOs, though having similar education prerequisites and course studies, take different licensing tests. Both exams occur in three parts typically. 1st part at the end of 2nd year, 2nd part during 4th year, and 3rd part during the 1st year of residency. However, MDs pursue the USMLE, or the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination, while DOs take the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination. After receiving a degree, an individual is required to complete a three to seven year residency at a hospital before beginning their career.

Both MDs and DOs can pursue primary care or other alternatives as both are still able to obtain licensure with their degrees. The post graduates can prescribe medicine and treat patients in all 50 states. MDs and DOs still pursue the same careers in the end, and salary depends more on the chosen specialty than degree.

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