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Best Ways to Explore a Career in Osteopathic Medicine

If you’re considering applying to osteopathic medical schools, you need to explore the profession to determine whether an osteopathic medical career is right for you. Because the medical field is dominated by MDs in terms of sheer numbers, finding out about osteopathic medicine takes some extra effort.

To get started, check out the AACOM site. There, you can find information about osteopathic medicine as well as links to articles and other resources about osteopathic medicine and OMM. The American Osteopathic Association (AOA) site is another useful resource for students interested in becoming DOs.

Shadowing an osteopathic physician gives you firsthand contact with someone in the profession and helps make you a more competitive candidate for DO schools. In some areas of the country, DOs are relatively uncommon, so finding a DO to shadow may take some perseverance. However, if you ask around, you may be surprised to find that you already know one or more DOs.

In addition to checking with every physician you know, ask your premedical advisor, other premedical students, and anyone else remotely related to medicine if they know a DO they can put you in contact with.

State and local osteopathic medical organizations, as well as osteopathic medical schools, also are good resources for leads about volunteer and shadowing opportunities with osteopathic physicians. In addition, the AOA website offers a database to help you “Find a DO.”

Like MDs, DOs practice in specialties as well as in primary care, so plan to volunteer or shadow with DOs in several different fields to get a broad view of the profession. Try to include different practice settings such as hospitals, community clinics, and private practice so that you can observe the responsibilities of a DO in various clinical environments.

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