Our training consists of a standardized full-time curriculum of 4 years of medical school. During this time we will focus on learning the craft of Medicine 50+ hours a week. The osteopathic medical school adds an additional 500-2500 hours of focused musculoskeletal medicine in addition to standard medical training in the same 4 year period. Midway through our education at the end of Year 2, we take Step 1 a full 2-day exam (8 hours both days) & the first of a minimum of 4 nationally recognized standardized exams. One must pass this exam to progress to year the final 2 years of medical school. Step 2 is a 1-day (8 hours) exam that must be passed, along with Step 2 Clinical Knowledge. Step 2 Clinical Knowledge is a practicing based exam where we travel to a handful of exam centers in the country and spend an additional 8-hour seeing mock patients and demonstrating a baseline clinical proficiency. Both Step 2 portions must be passed to graduate from medical school.
After graduation, and by the end of our first year of residency (the Internship year) we must pass Step 3, another full day (8 hours )written exam. Step 3 must be passed successfully to complete our first post-graduate year (i.e. Internship). Residency is an intense process where we work an ‘average’ of 80 hours a week. That time cap does not count studying, reviewing cases and required paperwork. During the residency, we are closely supervised by our attending physician while providing direct hands-on patient care. The supervision requires discussing plans with every patient, being pushed to always expand our knowledge. The supervision is critical because of the complexity, intricacy, and variety of human wellness and disease processes. Following those additional 2-7 years (3-8 years including Internship) of intensive study in the area of our choice, we will take our final nationally standardized Specialty Board exam.
The term “Board Certified” is an honor given after passage of the final specialty exam. The specialty board exam can be written, oral, and practical (demonstrating knowledge and skills). Only then, are we “board certified” physicians. Every board-certified physician (MD/DO) you meet has a minimum of between 13,000 to 17,000 hours of direct hands-on training in the diagnosis and treatment of disease before entering independent practice. Some physicians will go for additional training and complete Fellowships receiving Subspecialty Board Certification.
Our learning never stops. We are required to perform significant continuing medical education hours every year, maintenance of certification hours to maintain our Board Certification status, and every 8-10 will have to sit down and take our Specialty Board exams again.
Experience the Osteopathic difference.