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Degree options to practice medicine: Doctor of Allopathic Medicine (M.D.) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.)

What is the difference between a D.O. and a M.D.?  Both MD's and DO's are licensed doctors in the United States, however, they receive different training.  DO's have a more holistic approach to treating patients.  They receive extensive training on hands-on healing methods that often help individuals who suffer from chronic migraines, asthma, and/or sinus disorders.  The American Osteopathic Association (AOA) estimates that 6 out of 10 osteopathic physicians practice family medicine, general internal medicine, pediatrics or obstetrics and gynecology.  MD's tend to be less hands-on.  Cardiologists, Oncologists, Dermatologists, Neurosurgeons are all examples of doctors that would receive a MD degree. The majority of MD's work in hospitals, while DO's may be more likely to work in clinics and offices.  

What is the lifestyle and salary like?  Salaries for physicians are amongst the highest for all occupations but the work hours can be long and unpredictable and have an extremely rigorous schedule.  Most doctors work more than 60 hours a week and they may be required to respond to emergencies and be on call for their patients.  Salaries vary depending on where the doctor lives and his or her speciality.  In 2012, the median starting salaries ranged from approximately $140,000 to $280,000 a year.  

If you are interested in science and how the body works, enjoy a challenge, and care deeply about people and their problems, then a career in medicine may be right for you.  Check out some of these resources to help you determine if being a doctor is the career choice for you:
Is a career in medicine right for you?
Association of American Medical Colleges
AMCAS Application Service
American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine
AACOM Application Service

What is the MCAT and do I have to take it?  The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is a standardized test that is required for admission to most medical schools in the United States.  Students should take the MCAT at least one year before they plan on beginning medical school.*
The MCAT Exam
MCAT 2015

*In 2015, the MCAT will officially include a new section that emphasizes the social science.

Regional Institutions (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, DO):
Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine
A.T. Still University (Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine)
Des Moines University Osteopathic Medical Center

Regional Institutions (Doctor of Allopathic Medicine, MD):
Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Sciences
Southern Illinois University School of Medicine
Saint Louis University School of Medicine
Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis


What should I major in if I want to go to medical school?  You can choose any major that interests you as long as you fulfill the prerequisites for your chosen program.  A degree in the Sciences is highly recommended.  

The following courses from SIUE are recommended as preparation for the MCAT and medical school:
BIOL 150: Introduction to Biological Sciences I
BIOL 151: Introduction to Biological Sciences II
BIOL 220: Genetics
BIOL 319: Cell & Molecular Biology
CHEM 121A: General Chemistry I
CHEM 121B: General Chemistry II
CHEM 241A: Organic Chemistry I
CHEM 241B: Organic Chemistry II
CHEM 351: Basic Biochemistry I
MATH 150: Calculus I
PSYC 111: Foundations of Psychology
SOC 111: Introduction to Sociology

Students who matriculated in 2013 had a mean overall GPA of 3.69, mean science GPA of 3.63, and a mean non-science GPA of 3.76.

Campus Organizations to consider joining:

  • American Red Cross Club (ARC)
  • Be The Match On Campus (BTM)
  • Colleges Against Cancer (CAC)
  • Medical Technology Association (MTA)
  • Pre-Medical Association (PMA)

Check out more Students Organizations HERE!

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