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Choosing the best osteopathic college to attend involves deciding what factors are most important to you. The availability of financial aid, formal accreditation, and where you intend to practice medicine after graduating are some things to consider. Knowing what kind of osteopathic medicine you want to practice is also a contributing factor in deciding the best osteopathic college. For example, osteopathic medicine in European and Commonwealth countries differs greatly from the osteopathic medicine taught in Canada and the United States.
In the United States and Canada, osteopathic medicine is mostly a supplement to conventional medicine. There is little difference between doctors of medicine and doctors of osteopathic medicine, and some believe that gap is steadily closing. In Europe and Commonwealth countries, an osteopathic practitioner is not a doctor, nor does he or she have similar training as doctors in the United States and Canada. Students of an osteopathic college in these countries tend to study traditional osteopathic medicine for much longer.
If you have decided to study abroad, ensure that your osteopathic college of choice actually practices your preferred type of medicine. It is also wise to ensure that the osteopathic college gives a license that is accepted by your home country and any other country you plan to live and practice medicine in. For example, the United States will not allow an osteopathic doctor from the United Kingdom to legally practice in the country. On the other hand, the United Kingdom and more than 40 other countries accept osteopathic doctors who have been trained in the United States.
Proper accreditation by a professional body is usually a significant factor in eventually being able to practice medicine legally. An osteopathic college that has not been reviewed and approved by an accreditation organization—often run by a government—might not give students education on par with accredited schools. Determining whether an osteopathic college is accredited can be a simple process that involves looking at its website or calling the school. Once given the name of the accrediting body, find out if it is well known and respected or sponsored or run by the local government. If the accrediting body is not well known, associated with any government, and has not accredited other schools in the past, it may be a fake accreditation.
Lastly, the cost of the osteopathic college is a factor that cannot be ignored. Once you have narrowed down the best osteopathic colleges in regard to location and accreditation, contacting the financial aid adviser of each college can narrow down the choice even further. A good college has plenty of financial aid available, from scholarships to loans.
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