Upward Trajectory

Osteopathic medical profession adds 6,000 new DOs in 2017

Number of DOs in the U.S. now stands at 108,118, a 68 percent increase since 2007.


The osteopathic profession continues more than a decade of exponential growth.

The American Osteopathic Association reports an 85 percent increase in osteopathic medical students since 2007, bringing the total number of DOs and students to 137,099 in 2017.

At the 125th anniversary of the profession, about one in four medical students attends a college of osteopathic medicine while enrollment has increased an average of 25 percent every five years. The American Osteopathic Association’s annual report on the osteopathic medical profession recorded more than 6,000 newly graduated DOs in 2017, with more than 99 percent of them placed into residencies.

The exponential growth in the profession aligns with the development of new osteopathic medical schools, which now total 34 schools operating in 49 sites.

There are currently 20,482 DOs in residency training and 108,118 total DOs in the U.S., a 68 percent increase since 2007.

The 2017 report also found:

  • 52% of DOs are younger than 45
  • 47% of DOs under 45 are female
  • 56% of active DOs practice in primary care, including family medicine, internal medicine and pediatrics
  • The most common specialties for DOs are emergency medicine, anesthesiology, obstetrics and gynecology, general surgery and psychiatry

DOs are projected to represent more than 20 percent of practicing physicians by 2030, according to the report.


  1. Darren Grunwaldt

    I believe in 2007, we had grown to represent 7% of the doctors in the U.S. If so, we are now ~11.75% of the doctors in the US. Is this correct?

    How many of doctors are boarded in NMM? Do we have any way of knowing what percentage of DOs (or MDs) regularly (i.e., at least 20% of patients, at least 80% of patients, etc.) use OMT in their practice (via some national billing database perchance)?

  2. Billie Wickstrom

    The numbers highlighted in your subhead don’t match those in the second paragraph. Was the increase 68 percent since 2007, bringing the total number of DOs in the U.S. to 108,118 in 2017? Or was it an 85-percent increase since 2007, bringing the total number of DOs to 137,099 in 2017?

    I would appreciate clarification so I can quote the correct statistic.

    1. Seka Palikuca

      To clarify for you, the second paragraph is about the increase in medical students since 2007 (up 85%). The subhead refers to the number of DOs (this excludes students but includes residents). That figure is up 68% since 2007. There are a total of 108,118 DOs. When you add in the students, there are 137,099 (DOs + students).

Leave a comment Please see our comment policy