Six-figure strong

There are now more than 100,000 US DOs, report confirms

Osteopathic medicine is one of the fastest-growing health care professions; since 1986, the number of DOs has increased by 276%.


For the first time, the number of DOs in the U.S. has surpassed 100,000, according to the 2016 Osteopathic Medical Profession Report. Precisely, there are now 102,137 DOs.

Osteopathic medicine is one of the fastest-growing health care professions in the nation; since 1986, the number of DOs has increased by 276%. There are now 65% more DOs than there were a decade ago.

The field’s growth is particularly evident at osteopathic medical schools. The total number of DOs and osteopathic medical students is almost 130,000; nearly one in four U.S. medical students attends an osteopathic medical school. As the number of students and schools increase, osteopathic medical schools are taking steps to develop new residency positions.

Other highlights from the report include:

  • More than half of DOs are younger than 45.
  • Roughly 40% of DOs in active practice are women.
  • More than half of active DOs practice in primary care specialties, which include family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics and osteopathic manipulative medicine.

To learn more, download a PDF of the report or view more details at


  1. NYC doc, MD, DO

    I’m sure more than 1/2 are in family medicine, internal medicine, and pediatrics, but OMT? No, that is doubtful. Please provide statistics on how many D.O. physicians actually use OMT. Certainly, it is a very low percent.
    For the AOA & respective osteopathic boards to expect physicians to take away an incredible amount of time from patients and to have to pay an enormous amount of money to buy study materials to relearn & know OMT with OCC, the OMT practical recertification exam, and cognitive recertification exam is egregious.

    1. Joseph Camire DO

      I can definitely agree w/ the above. I am now 74 years old and I am finding it hard to pass the OMT recertification exam. I can get the correct diagnosis, but I can not get the correct OMT for the problem. I can only practice for a few more years but how do I get recertified. With all my health problems now, I find doing OMT very difficult to do. Why should I have to take a less paying position because I can not recertify. I have taken a recertifying course to little help.

  2. realdoc

    I graduated in 2009. I am now an attending physician. Since then, the AOA allowed opening of several schools, some were for profit, and existing schools increased enrollment. They have done hardly nothing about increasing residency positions. Irresponsible increase in numbers, is what it is.

  3. James R Steele DO

    That is an impressive number. Is there any more identifying factors as where they practice by hospital and clinic orientation, membership in AOA and state societies, etc. I have retired recently after 50 years as a GP. Much has happened in 50 years!

  4. Don Hudson

    It’s hard to find a good manipulation DO I use it every day since 1976 but the fascia distortion & Cranial Sacral practice seems to have out weighed the other modalities
    The students seem to be focused on the rather broad scope

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