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Allopathic Medical School
Allopathic medical schools award the M.D. degree after four years of study. The first two years typically consists of foundational science courses and their application to the study of medicine. The final two years are more patient-focused and the student is exposed to a variety of specialties within the medical field.
Following graduation, students undergo more advanced, specialized training in a field of their choice, typically between 3-8 years. This training varies with each specialty and is organized into 24 areas or specialty boards. Students who successfully complete this training and pass their board examinations (steps 1, 2 and 3 of the United States Medical Licensing Examination) are able to diagnose and treat patients using a variety of tools at their disposal. This can be done in a variety of health care settings, including hospitals and clinics, managed care organizations, private or group practices. They may also work in other settings, including nursing homes, businesses, education institutions, research facilities and public health agencies.
Osteopathic physicians consider the whole person, including physical, emotional and spiritual components. They also use a hands-on system of diagnosis and treatment known as osteopathic manipulative medicine. They work in partnership with their patients to help each individual maintain their health. And they can specialize in any medical field, practice the full scope of modern medicine, complete important medical research, advise policymakers, and contribute to societal health and well-being in many ways.
Educated consumers of medicine are increasingly demanding patient-centered, preventative medical care, and the osteopathic philosophy - that the body has a natural ability to heal itself, that the health of the musculoskeletal system is inherently linked to the functioning of other parts of the body and that a patient-centered approach to health is optimal - is becoming a key player in today's medical education.
Students interested in keeping a broad range of options open should research osteopathic medicine. It is also important to know that admission to osteopathic programs, while competitive, is often possible for students whose grades and especially test scores are slightly below those of students generally competitive for allopathic admission.