Pros and cons of do vs md

Pros and cons of do vs md

MD or DO? That is the question that many students and professionals are asking themselves when it comes to choosing a career in medicine. Both degrees have their pros and cons, but which one is right for you? In this article, we will discuss the pros and cons of both degrees and help you decide which one is the best fit for your career aspirations.

Pros of DO

There are a few great reasons to choose DO over MD, these are

More musculoskeletal training. DO students have more training on the musculoskeletal system and receive additional training in OMM (Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine) and OMT (Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment).

OMT training which is a hands-on approach to medicine that can be used to treat various conditions.

Pros and cons of do vs md

The ability to enter the residency match through the DO Match program. This was a big benefit for osteopathic students in the past, but now that there is a single accreditation system, MD and DO students can both participate in the same residency match.

Focus on Primary Care, which can be a pro or a con depending on who you talk to or what you want to do. Many DO students end up going into primary care because of the training they receive, but if you are looking to specialize in a certain field, this may not be the route for you.

There are more, but these are some of the big ones.

With these extra pros, it might make you think that DO is the clear winner, but there are a few cons to consider as well and we will get to those here in a bit.

Pros of MD

These include

More research opportunities. MD students have more opportunities to get involved in research during their medical school training.

More of an academic training environment, which can be good and bad. If you love academic medicine and have a desire to sub specialize and do a fellowship then becoming an MD might be a better choice, because they typically train at large academic institutions, whereas DO students train at stand alone medical schools usually.

Cons of DO

A few cons of choosing to become a DO are

You might have a harder time getting into the residency of your choice. Because there are more MD students than DO students, the competition can be stiffer when it comes to matching into a top-notch residency program.

You may have more debt. Osteopathic medical schools tend to be a bit more expensive than allopathic medical schools.

It can be an uphill battle getting residency or fellowship are some larger academic insights, as they are very traditional and hold onto the old school of thought when DO’s first came on the scene.

Cons of MD

You miss out on the hands-on approach to medicine. MD students do not receive the same level of training in OMM and OMT as DO students.

You might have a harder time getting into medical school. The competition is fierce for MD programs, so you will need to have stellar grades and test scores to get your foot in the door.

What is harder MD or DO?

They are equal in difficulty. Both MD and DO programs are rigorous and will challenge you both mentally and emotionally. It is important to remember that the degree you choose does not define you as a doctor or a person. The most important thing is that you find a program that is the right fit for you and your career aspirations.

Osteopathic medical school is occasionally though to be tougher due to the fact that in osteopathic medicine you learn OMM in addition to the regular classes all medical students take.

Allopathic and osteopathic schools gave a similar course load, just the main difference being OMM.

Is MD or DO more prestigious?

Medical students worry about this, but truth is once you’re out of medical school, most don’t care.

A career in osteopathic medicine is just as prestigious as a career in allopathic medicine. Once again, the idea of prestige typically only gets brought up in the academic world, and if you aren’t in it after training, then it isn’t a concern typically.

Why choose a DO over an MD?

One great reason to choose osteopathic medicine is the fact that you can add one more tool to your tool belt when it comes to helping patients, and that is OMT.

OMM or OMT is a great tool that many students may use when they practice medicine, or they may not. The nice thing about it though is that you will know it when you are done because most osteopathic medical schools do a great job teaching it.

One thing to remember though is that most pre medical students always say they want to go to osteopathic medical schools because of the “holistic” idea that osteopathic medicine promotes. Truth is, all medical professionals can choose to be as “holistic” as they want, you don’t have to be a DO to be holistic.

Another nice thing that DO schools have over MD schools is location. Many of the DO schools are in smaller communities that will be cheaper to live, as opposed to larger universities in cities where it can be more expensive.

Who gets paid more MD or DO?

They get paid the same. Salary as a doctor comes down to which specialty you choose, not your degree.

For comparison family medicine physicians earn on average $240,000 per year, internal medicine physicians are around $260,000 per year and then ER doctors are around $330,000 per year.

The degree doesn’t matter, the medical education doesn’t matter when it comes to payment, it is solely the specialty, your billing, and how hard you work.

What is osteopathic manipulative therapy?

OMT is a hands-on approach to medicine that uses the body’s natural healing process to treat various medical conditions.

OMT is based on the belief that the body is a unit and that structure and function are interrelated. This means that if one part of the body is not working correctly, it can affect other parts of the body as well.

OMT can be used to treat a variety of conditions, such as:

  • – musculoskeletal pain
  • – headaches
  • – carpal tunnel syndrome
  • – digestive problems
  • – respiratory problems

OMT is not only used to treat medical conditions, but it can also be used to prevent them.

This is a great tool, and if you are a DO student or about to become one then check out this course that can help you study it more efficiently.

Is osteopathic medical school easier?

No, it is not. The course load is the same, if not a little bit more difficult because you have to learn OMM in addition to everything else.

The only thing that may make it seem easier is the fact that many of the students are from smaller communities and thus they know each other which can create a supportive environment.

But in the end, it is not easier, it is just as hard as allopathic medical school.

Just remember, they are both tough and the road to becoming a physician is tough, it takes a lot of hard work and being consistently dedicated to the study of medicine.

Can Dos match into anesthesiology?

Absolutely! In fact there is a large amount of DO’s that match into anesthesiology every single year.

There is a good amount of osteopathic physicians that make it into anesthesia residency programs, as a medical student you just need to prove to the residency programs that you are qualified regardless of if you are an MD or a DO.

Can DOs be surgeons?

Of course a DO can be a surgeon. There are many DO’s that are subspecialty surgeons as well as general surgeons.

As a DO if you focus on boards, research, letters, and your overall residency application, then you can be whatever specialist you want to be.

MD vs DO doesn’t really matter when it comes to specialty, just work hard and put your all into everything you do in medical school and you will rock it!


This is a common question, and I hope this article helped to clear some things up. DO’s and MD’s are both great physicians, it really comes down to which school you want to go to and what type of environment you want to be in during your medical education.

At the end of the day it is all about becoming the best physician possible and taking care of your patients! Thanks for reading!

I hope this article helped clear some things up for you. If you have any other questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below!

Thanks for reading!

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