Realistic/Honest Employment Prospects for Osteopathic Physicians??

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rocket2010

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I am a new member and I think this is a great site for relevant information concerning the medical field. I am about to interview at several D.O schools...yet I am still seriously considering waiting another year to get a better chance at applying to MD schools or perhaps post-bacc (GPA: 3.3, MCAT:29M, 3 yrs of research, 2 yrs clincial and assisting underserved communities).

My friend told me that DO's might make it more difficult to get jobs or establish private practices because MD is still the traditional degree for medicine. In Canada, DO's can't practice. There're certain states in the US where DO's can't, either. So you need to think carefully of the options and where you want to establish yourself. Southern Calif. is not friendly to DO's. They mostly work in the San Francisco area.

I have tried to find ANY threads on realistic EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES for Osteopathic physicians (I am from SoCal and D.O's like everywhere else are a minority). At first I thought either degree would not make a difference when it comes to serving the healthcare needs of others, but I want to get a real answer on employment/salary issues for furture D.O's. I think this is a valid question considering the risk of over $200K in debt, when I could just reapply and perhaps obtain an out of state MD license WITH the same amount of debt but not having to explain to 9 out of 10 people what a D.O is relative to an M.D.
 

Entgegen

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As far as getting a job somewhere as a DO...you won't have any problem. Contrary to what your friend said, DOs can practice in any state in the US, but I think he may be right about the Canada thing. I'm not sure...but someone else will know.

Now there may be places that are somewhat "unfriendly" to DOs, but that mindset seems to be going away in most places, and it definitely doesn't mean that you couldn't practice in those areas. But there's really no such thing as an unemployed physician, and it seems as though there will only be an increasing demand for doctors in the coming years.
 

psychbender

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As has been stated many, many times on this forum (please do some research, first)...there is no difference in salary between a DO and an MD in the same specialty practice. They are used interchangeably, and DOs can go into all the same specialties as MDs. Some specialties may be more difficult for DOs to land, but those same specialties are also very hard for MDs to land. Further, there are no states that do not allow DOs to have full practice rights. In other countries, DOs can't practice, because an "osteopath" there is essentially a chiropractor, and they don't realize that DOs are full medical doctors (the AOA has made some headway on this issue in several counties).

Go ahead and apply allopathic; I've seen people get in with worse metrics than you. If you want to maximize your chances of getting into medical school the first go-around, apply to both. Since I see you are already waiting to interview at DO schools, go ahead with that plan; don't back out now and waste another year just because you want different letters to come after your name. In the end, either way you go, you're still going to be a doctor.
 
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KeyLime

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Southern California can't be completely anti-DO since the area has a DO school (COMP) and it has been around for awhile.
 

cbenedic

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There're certain states in the US where DO's can't, either. So you need to think carefully of the options and where you want to establish yourself. Southern Calif. is not friendly to DO's. They mostly work in the San Francisco area.

this is incorrect, DO's have full practice rights in all 50 states. You may be thinking of Michigan, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, Florida, and West Virginia which require the AOA internship year to be licensed in those states (of course..there are ways around this) Also, Western University is an osteopathic medical school located right in southern cali (Pomona, CA). It would be a surprise to have an osteopathic medical school located in an area unwelcoming to DO's.
 

rocket2010

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this is incorrect, DO's have full practice rights in all 50 states. You may be thinking of Michigan, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, Florida, and West Virginia which require the AOA internship year to be licensed in those states (of course..there are ways around this) Also, Western University is an osteopathic medical school located right in southern cali (Pomona, CA). It would be a surprise to have an osteopathic medical school located in an area unwelcoming to DO's.

I apologize for not reading my earlier post more carefully, I know Osteopathic docs can practice in all 50 states. I was more concerned about the employment prospects for the future.
 

ladpm

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I apologize for not reading my earlier post more carefully, I know Osteopathic docs can practice in all 50 states. I was more concerned about the employment prospects for the future.

I think you shouldn't be too concerned about employment opportunities in SoCal. While rotating through White Memorial Medical Center in Los Angeles, they have several attendings that work at this hospital...one FP, one IM, one nephrologist, and one anesthesiologist...plus 1/4 of the residents there are DO in which 2 of them got a full time position at the local Kaiser hospitals...i believe there are ER DOs staffed at LA county hospital and an orthopedic surgeon in the valley so the whole anti-DO SoCal thing is a spoof. As of right now since there are is a shortage of primary care doc's and the growing baby boomer generation, there will be a ton job opportunities for everyone.
 

jp104

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http://www.osteopathic.org/directory.cfm

Just did a search on 3 areas on SoCal:

San Diego
Los Angelos
Pasadena

I got 88 hits. I'm sure there's more.

Wait the extra year and get your MD, unless you're really sure you don't care about the letters after your name. Best of luck.
 

Jack Daniel

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I am a new member and I think this is a great site for relevant information concerning the medical field. I am about to interview at several D.O schools...yet I am still seriously considering waiting another year to get a better chance at applying to MD schools or perhaps post-bacc (GPA: 3.3, MCAT:29M, 3 yrs of research, 2 yrs clincial and assisting underserved communities).

My friend told me that DO's might make it more difficult to get jobs or establish private practices because MD is still the traditional degree for medicine. In Canada, DO's can't practice. There're certain states in the US where DO's can't, either. So you need to think carefully of the options and where you want to establish yourself. Southern Calif. is not friendly to DO's. They mostly work in the San Francisco area.

I have tried to find ANY threads on realistic EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES for Osteopathic physicians (I am from SoCal and D.O's like everywhere else are a minority). At first I thought either degree would not make a difference when it comes to serving the healthcare needs of others, but I want to get a real answer on employment/salary issues for furture D.O's. I think this is a valid question considering the risk of over $200K in debt, when I could just reapply and perhaps obtain an out of state MD license WITH the same amount of debt but not having to explain to 9 out of 10 people what a D.O is relative to an M.D.


You're friend is providing you with inaccurate information. If you're interested in pursuing the DO route, search this stuff out yourself. It's amazing how many times people either make stuff up or "pass on" bad information.

Talk with CA DOs for good information about DO opportunities in CA.

As for opportunities, they are what you make of them. Medicine still thrives under the network system of connections and who you know. By this I mean: you can be an MD applying for a job and you'll be a resume in a stack of papers. Or, you can be a DO applying for a job and you'll be a resume in a stack of papers. The applicant who makes the effort to "be known" will probably increases his/her chances.
 

Sirius Black

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My friend told me that DO's might make it more difficult to get jobs or establish private practices because MD is still the traditional degree for medicine.

I think the best thing for you to do is look up how many osteopathic residencies there are in SoCal. If there aren't many (I know most are on the east coast), and you definitely want to stay in SoCal, MD might be the better choice. You can still take an allopathic residency as a DO, but you may have to take both the COMLEX and USMLE, so to make it easier you might as well just go MD so you only have to take one.

Bottom line: You will never face unemployment as a physician,either DO or MD
 

kaikai128

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There is a shortage of physicians today in the United States. With the aging of the baby boomers and their increasingly complicated medical problems, the shortage is just going to be more severe.

I highly doubt that any fully licensed physician, regardless of the letters behind their name, is going to have ANY problem finding patients to see.
 

Instatewaiter

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Southern California can't be completely anti-DO since the area has a DO school (COMP) and it has been around for awhile.

Wow, 30 years. That is a really long time. Almost enough time for the physicians to become fully established doctors... :rolleyes:

http://www.osteopathic.org/directory.cfm

Just did a search on 3 areas on SoCal:

San Diego
Los Angelos
Pasadena

I got 88 hits. I'm sure there's more.

I picked a random site and searched in only San Diego. I found over 100 Gastroenterologists. 88 DOs in a 3 pretty big cities is not exactly a lot.

To the OP, do whatever feels right. If you dont feel comfortable going DO, you never will. You'll find yourself getting defensive about the degree (unlike anyone on this site):laugh:
 
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jp104

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Wow, 30 years. That is a really long time. Almost enough time for the physicians to become fully established doctors... :rolleyes:



I picked a random site and searched in only San Diego. I found over 100 Gastroenterologists. 88 DOs in a 3 pretty big cities is not exactly a lot.

To the OP, do whatever feels right. If you dont feel comfortable going DO, you never will. You'll find yourself getting defensive about the degree (unlike anyone on this site):laugh:

Let's just take San Diego. According to the site, there are 77 DOs practicing there. Consider that DOs are about 5% of the total physician population in the US. I don't know how many doctors are in San Diego, but if there are 1540 (of which 77 is 5%), then I'd say that DOs are adequately represented.
 

supersash

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If you dont feel comfortable going DO, you never will. You'll find yourself getting defensive about the degree (unlike anyone on this site):laugh:

The reason many people on this board who are pre-DO, DO med students, or DO's get so defensive is when naive, lazy, etc. people make posts like the OP did. I'm sorry, but if you genuinely want information about something, do a google search, go on AACOM.org. The amount of threads that read "is a DO a REAL doctor?" "can DO's be radiologists?" is absurd. If you're just going to take the word of a friend, instead of doing research, medicine may not be for you.

We get defensive because we are sick of explaining things that should be common knowledge. None of this information is hidden, and anyone entering the healthcare field should know it, and can easily learn it!

Sorry for the rant, and OP, I wasn't trying to single you out, sorry if I've offended.
 

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the truly offensive threads are in pre-osteopathic...people ask the most absurd things. and the funny thing about it is that people respond! "no, not all DOs are surgeons." "yes, DOs can prescribe meds." Thats why we have google!

i thought this was a good post...wondering about what the future holds. who isn't worried about security and income? i'm going to bust my hump and put my life on hold...there better be some sort of rainbow on the other side.
 

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Probably like many of you, my first reaction was to criticize the OP. However, try to remember when you were a pre-med. You were thoroughly misinformed and heard all the taboo DO horror stories too. Anyway, I'm pretty impressed with the way most people have responded to the OP without losing their cool. Some of the false DO rumors are just hilarious now! It's funny to think that stuff still goes on. I don't necessarily blame students for asking these questions. There are so many false rumors prevalent at universities that students genuinely believe the things they post. And really, where else can they ask these types of questions. I would much rather they ask their ignorant questions on anonymous messageboard than offend a DO in person.
 

jp104

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I think you have a spelling mistake above.

If you had searched for the correctly spelled 'Los Angeles' + San Diego... you would've had 122 hits in those two cities alone.

You are correct sir. I spelled that wrong :)
 

ladpm

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I just met the chief of pathology at Kaiser-West Los Angeles who graduated from the osteopath school in Chicago. He briefly told me that he just employed another pathologist 6 months ago who is also a osteopath...so jobs are available here in SoCal for DOs...here is also the 2006 AMGA physician compensation list for all pathologists

National average: $274,792
Starting: $212,351
East Coast: $236,192
West Coast: $288,120
Southern: $249,634
Northern: $284,315

not bad for just looking through a microscope
 

CatsandCradles

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I have tried to find ANY threads on realistic EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES for Osteopathic physicians (I am from SoCal and D.O's like everywhere else are a minority). At first I thought either degree would not make a difference when it comes to serving the healthcare needs of others, but I want to get a real answer on employment/salary issues for furture D.O's.

Speaking of California,

Many many years ago, California was the state with the most DOs, the reason why this is no longer the case was because back in the 1950s and early 60s, the California Medical Association forced all the DOs to become MDs.

You probably know about UC Irvine. Well, UC Irvine was one of the original 7 DO schools from the 1890s. But it got taken over and become an MD school in the 1960s.
 

ruck

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DOs have full practice rights in most provinces in Canada except Saskatchwan but who the hell wants to live in a farm anyways! In fact I shadowed one myself in Canada.
 

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I concur with Ruck. I myself shadowed a DO in Canada, who was a NYCOM grad btw. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if me and ruck shadowed the same DO, since there's maybe like 2 in the province of ontario :p
 
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CatsandCradles

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I concur with Ruck. I myself shadowed a DO in Canada, who was a NYCOM grad btw. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if me and ruck shadowed the same DO, since there's maybe like 2 in the province of ontario :p

It's a small world after all!:luck:
 

ruck

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I concur with Ruck. I myself shadowed a DO in Canada, who was a NYCOM grad btw. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if me and ruck shadowed the same DO, since there's maybe like 2 in the province of ontario :p

nope...I shadowed Dr. Findlay in Calgary. Are you planning on going back to Canada to practice?
 

bravotwozero

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Cool, Dr. Findlay referred me to the doc I shadowed. As of right now, I don't have any plans of going back. I'll be dealing with a buttload of debt when I'm done, and I'd earn more in the US.

Btw, did Findlay tell you of any scholarships for Canadian DO students that are willing to come back and practice?
 

ruck

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He never mentioned such a thing. Where did you hear about this?


Cool, Dr. Findlay referred me to the doc I shadowed. As of right now, I don't have any plans of going back. I'll be dealing with a buttload of debt when I'm done, and I'd earn more in the US.

Btw, did Findlay tell you of any scholarships for Canadian DO students that are willing to come back and practice?
 

PlasticMan

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Isn't physician compensation in CA much less than the U.S. since it is socialized?
 

Red Beard

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Ok, to the OP:

Try looking at each state's osteopathic association website. Every state has one, and most of the state's DOs will be listed there. Google "(your favorite state) osteopathic association."

For example, here is the physician search page from the Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons of California website:
http://opsc.org/displaycommon.cfm?an=1&subarticlenbr=9
 

Stimulate

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I am a new member and I think this is a great site for relevant information concerning the medical field. I am about to interview at several D.O schools...yet I am still seriously considering waiting another year to get a better chance at applying to MD schools or perhaps post-bacc (GPA: 3.3, MCAT:29M, 3 yrs of research, 2 yrs clincial and assisting underserved communities).

I have tried to find ANY threads on realistic EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES for Osteopathic physicians (I am from SoCal and D.O's like everywhere else are a minority). At first I thought either degree would not make a difference when it comes to serving the healthcare needs of others, but I want to get a real answer on employment/salary issues for furture D.O's. I think this is a valid question considering the risk of over $200K in debt, when I could just reapply and perhaps obtain an out of state MD license WITH the same amount of debt but not having to explain to 9 out of 10 people what a D.O is relative to an M.D.

First, I think this post would have been better placed in the pre-osteopathic forum. That form is best for dealing with all the insecurities inherent to pre-meds. In fact, I stopped caring about the DO versus MD difference after the residency Match and I have never looked back ever since. Being a DO has not stopped me from achieving anything.

Next, you will not find many (if any) websites that compare DO jobs versus MD jobs because there IS NO difference. There is a huge shortage of physicians and nobody cares about DO or MD in the real world. A factor that is undoubtedly more important is where you do your residency training. If you train somewhere well-known it will drive up your demand, if you train somewhere smaller it still doesn't mean you won't get a job. As a physician you can almost write your own ticket.

Finally, when I applied, I chose to apply to both DO and MD. I got waitlisted at the MD schools (had strong assurances that I would be in the next year if I did something to make myself more "well-rounded" like join the peace corps) but accepted at the DO schools. I looked at that 1 year of waiting for an M.D. as a $300,000 to $400,000 loss of income based on my choice of specialty training. So if the initials are worth 1 year of waiting for the MD degree (with no certainty that you will be accepted, and even longer if you pursue a post-bacc program) then by all means wait away...
 

Amy B

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I can understand the concerns with Cali. I have a friend in Cali and she has had a HORRIBLE time trying to set up rotations for her 3rd year. The area has no DO residencies any where close to her and it looks like she will have to move again. Cali is a huge state and not DO saturated in many areas.
 

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I can understand the concerns with Cali. I have a friend in Cali and she has had a HORRIBLE time trying to set up rotations for her 3rd year. The area has no DO residencies any where close to her and it looks like she will have to move again. Cali is a huge state and not DO saturated in many areas.

There are many DO residencies in Southern California. Is your friend going to school elsewhere? COMP students have no problems rotating in Southern California. Our 3rd year rotations are set up for us at many osteopathic and allopathic sites, and electives are not difficult.

Osteopathic residencies in So Cal:

http://opportunities.osteopathic.org/search/search_results.cfm?CFID=880144&CFTOKEN=1187f823dbfaf15d-F6EF0516-D450-4996-C5C2ECB29FCD790C&jsessionid=30308a34d2e61f262233
 

Amy B

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I didnt notice the southern part of the post.. my friend is in Northern Cali. And yes, they go to another DO school that is not in the state so that also plays a part in the problem.
 

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If anybody is at all interested, if you're trained at an American DO school, you can practice pretty much anywhere in Canada. You can even apply to CARMS, the Canadian residency matching institution. Feel free to check out www.osteopathic.ca for more information on osteopathic medicine in Canada.
 
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