Canadian Osteopathic Association   




















  Frequently Asked Questions

What is Osteopathic Medicine?


Osteopathic medicine is a distinctive form of medical practice in Canada and the United States. The practice of osteopathic medicine utilizes all available modern medical technologies to assess and treat injury and disease. It also offers the added benefit of hands-on diagnosis and treatment through a system of therapy known as osteopathic manipulative medicine. 

Osteopathic physicians understand how all the body’s systems are interconnected and how each one affects the others. When indicated, they focus special attention on the musculoskeletal system, which reflects and influences the condition of all other body systems.  D.O.s know that the body’s structure plays a critical role in its ability to function. They can use their eyes and hands to identify structural problems and to support the body’s natural tendency toward health and self-healing.

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:

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

What services does an Osteopathic Physician provide?

D.O.s are complete physicians, and through comprehensive residency training, may specialize in any field of medicine of their choosing. That means they are fully trained and licensed to order any required laboratory and imaging diagnostic procedures, prescribe medication, and perform surgery.  D.O.s and allopathic physicians (M.D.s) are the only two types of complete physicians in North America.  Osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) is incorporated in the training and practice of osteopathic physicians.  By combining all available medical procedures with OMT, D.O.s offer their patients the most comprehensive care available in medicine today.

Are osteopathic physician services covered by my provincial health insurance plan?

Yes.  Osteopathic physicians are fully licensed medical practitioners and, like MDs, most medical services provided are covered by your provincial health care plan.

I am interested in pursuing a career in osteopathic medicine.  How do I apply?

Contact the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine at   

NEW !  - The 2018 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 College Information Book, follow this link:

NOTE :  If you are a Canadian interested in applying to AACOM schools, the AACOM has confirmed that the following colleges of osteopathic medicine may accept applications from Canadians that do not hold U.S. Permanent Resident Status (contact your school of interest directly to confirm eligibility): ATSU-KCOM, AZCOM, CCOM, DMUCOM, KCUMB-COM, LECOM-Erie, LECOM- Bradenton , LMU-DCOM, MSUCOM, NSU-COM, PCOM and GA-PCOM, PCSOM, TouroCOM-NY, UNECOM, UNTHSC-TCOM, VCOM, WVSOM, and WUHS/COMP (For more detail, please see 'Documents' page for link to document 'American Colleges Accepting Canadian Applicants')

I am a Canadian graduate of a US osteopathic medical school and wish to pursue postgraduate training in the USA.  What Visa do I need?

NOTE:  the links below are only a starting point for research on US Visas.  Those who are interested in obtaining US visas may want to consult with legal counsel. 

Please see the following links for further information regarding H1-B and J-1 visas required to pursue ACGME postgraduate training in the USA:

1)  Visit the DO Online website for further explanation regarding H1-B and J-1 Visas at:

DO Online:

US Visa Documentation Information

2)  Visit the Health Canada website with respect to the 'Statement of Need' document required by the Education Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) to pursue a J-1 visa at:   

Health Canada:

For inquiries regarding a Statement of Need, contact the:

Program Administrator, Statement of Need / J1 Visa Program, 
Health Human Resources Policy Division, Strategic Policy Branch,
200 Eglantine Driveway, Jeanne Mance Building 1918-C, Tunney's Pasture
Ottawa, Ontario  K1A 0K9

Facsimile: (613) 948-8081      Email:

3)  Visit the Education Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) website with respect to obtaining Form DS-2019, Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status, required to obtain the J-1 visa at: 


ECFMG J-1 Visa Sponsorship Fact Sheet:

I am a US osteopathic graduate.  Is my ACGME Family Medicine Residency accepted for certification in Canada?

Yes.  If you have a degree from a US college of osteopathic medicine, have completed an ACGME accredited Family Medicine residency program, and have certification with the ABFM, the College of Family Physicians of Canada will consider your credentials for certification without further training or examinations.  Please see the following links:

Canada Student Loan Forgiveness for Family Doctors?

See the following link:

Are there COA/AOA accredited colleges of osteopathic medicine in Canada?

No.  Currently, the only accredited colleges of osteopathic medicine graduating qualified osteopathic graduates are found in the USA.  There are 29 accredited osteopathic medical schools in the United States.

I hold an osteopathic diploma or certificate granted from a school outside of United States.  Can I register to practice osteopathy in Canada?

No.  Only those graduates from COA/AOA accredited colleges of osteopathic medicine in the United States have the osteopathic qualifications and meet the requirements for eligibility to register with the provincial colleges of physicians and surgeons.  Other practitioners using osteopathic titles are not eligible for membership in the COA, nor are they eligible for registration to practice in Canada.  PLEASE NOTE THAT THERE ARE NO GOVERNMENT RECOGNIZED OR ACCREDITED OSTEOPATHIC PROGRAMS WITHIN CANADA.

Registration to practice as an osteopathic graduate in Canada requires an osteopathic degree from a US college of osteopathic medicine accredited by the American Osteopathic Association, completion of Canadian or ACGME residency training, completion of specialty certification examinations, and completion of required medical licensure examinations (ie: MCC, USLME, or COMLEX examinations).  Currently, there are no Canadian or other international schools of osteopathy that meet these standards for registration with a Canadian government recognized authority.  Please note that there are also very specific title protection regulations in Canada prohibiting the use of osteopathic titles by unregulated practitioners.  Using the province of BC as an example, please see the following links:

I am aware of a non-physician 'osteopathic practitioner' practicing without college of physician registration.  What should I do?

Please advise your provincial Minister of Health, and the Registrar of your provincial College of Physicians and Surgeons.






March 11, 2018

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