British Columbia Osteopathic Association










Comprehensive osteopathic medical education

Your British Columbia osteopathic physician has graduated from the most comprehensive medical education system in the world.  There are currently 34 colleges of osteopathic medicine with 51 campuses in 32 states of the United States , providing advanced medical and surgical training.  These colleges also continue to be the international leaders in the education and application of osteopathic manual therapy diagnosis and treatment.

The BCOA, COA, and AOA represent graduates of colleges that have grown from the original college of Osteopathy first established by Dr. Andrew Taylor Still in Kirksville , Missouri , in 1892.  Within Canada and the United States, the profession has now grown to a number exceeding 140,000 osteopathic physicians, with 34 colleges enrolling 29,000 students in full time studies.  Postgraduate training is available in both AOA and ACGME residency training programs.

To apply to osteopathic medical school, an individual must have a university education including core requirements in chemistry, physics, biology, and biochemistry. One must also have completed and have high standing in the Medical College Admissions Test.

Osteopathic Education requires 4 years of full time medical education including comprehensive education in all the medical and surgical subspecialties. Included in this education is the unique osteopathic musculoskeletal training where osteopathic physicians learn detailed soft tissue palpation and musculoskeletal assessment, as well as the use of advanced osteopathic manipulative treatment techniques.

After graduating from osteopathic medical college, D.O.s serve a one-year hospital internship and must then pursue residency training in any of the many specialties (Internal Medicine, General Surgery, Orthopedics, Pediatrics, Emergency Medicine, Obstetrics, Radiology, Family Medicine, etc). A residency typically requires from 2 to 6 years of additional training.

To practice, all physicians (both D.O. and M.D.) must pass national licensure examinations, complete specialty certification examinations, and then become licensed by a provincial college of physicians and surgeons.


AACOM has launched “Osteopathic Medical Student Profiles: In their Own Words: A Snapshot of the Osteopathic Medical Student,” a student recruitment web page that features the experiences of students at each of the nation’s colleges of osteopathic medicine. With each student profile, included is a link to the student’s college of osteopathic medicine web site, so that prospective applicants can learn more about that medical college and its academic programs.  Visitors can also click on links to the Recruitment Calendar and to order/view the 2018 - 2019 College Information Book:

To view further information about Osteopathic Medicine from the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine, see the following link:

The 2018 - 2019 Osteopathic Medical College Information Book (CIB) now available.  The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine 'College Information Book' (CIB) is the official publication for prospective applicants, students, pre-health advisors and others interested in gaining information about or applying to US osteopathic medical colleges. This year's CIB, for students applying for the fall of 2018, has been expanded to cover a variety of new topics, and includes updated admission requirements, tuition, fees, deposits, important deadlines and special programs at each of the osteopathic medical colleges. To order or download the 2018 - 2019 College Information Book, follow this link:


Osteopathic medical licensure typically requires over eleven years of training 

Applicants to Osteopathic medical schools typically hold Bachelor or Masters Degrees which include the prerequisite courses required for entrance, as well as the MCAT examination.  Osteopathic medical education requires 4 years of fulltime, comprehensive, and complete medical education.  Once graduated and having attained the D.O. degree (Doctor of Osteopathy) prior to being eligible to practice, the osteopathic physician must complete a further 2 to 5 years of fulltime residency training in the specialty of their choosing such as internal medicine and subspecialties, surgery and subspecialties, orthopedics, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, emergency medicine, psychiatry, dermatology, pathology, family medicine, or musculoskeletal medicine (manual therapy osteopathy).  There are 18 certifying boards with 85 specialties and subspecialties.  Upon completion of residency training, specialty certification examinations are required.  Your Canadian osteopathic physician will have typically completed 11 to 13 years of university, doctoral, and specialty training by the time they are ready for licensure and practice.


The COA recommends that you check your practitioner's credentials

When consulting an osteopathic practitioner, the BCOA and COA recommend that you make sure your D.O. has completed a COA/AOA approved osteopathic medical program and is registered to practice in your province by the College of Physicians and Surgeons.  Please be aware that there are unqualified and non-licensed practitioners in Canada claiming to be Osteopaths or 'Osteopathic Practitioners'.  If in doubt, the BCOA and COA recommend that you check your practitioner’s credentials and assure that they are licensed to practice by contacting your provincial College of Physicians and Surgeons.  Only COA/AOA recognized osteopathic graduates have the comprehensive osteopathic medical education necessary to provide thorough differential diagnosis and treatment. 

Despite a variety of business websites promoting training and certification in osteopathy within Canada, there are no government recognized or accredited colleges of osteopathy of Canada.  Only those graduates from American colleges of osteopathic medicine accredited by the Canadian and American Osteopathic Associations are eligible for licensure in Canada. 



March 17, 2019

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