American Osteopathic Association

Advancing the distinctive philosophy and practice of osteopathic medicine

How Are DOs Licensed?

‚ÄčOsteopathic physicians (DOs) are licensed to practice medicine in the United States by licensing boards in each state. Requirements for licensure vary by state, but there are generally¬†three ways a DO can become licensed to practice medicine:

  1. Successful completion of a medical licensing examination administered by the state licensing board. State boards may prepare their own examination or administer an examination that has been prepared and purchased from a specialized agency.

  2. Acceptance of the certificate issued by the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners (NBOME), awarded after an applicant has satisfied the requirements, including the successful passage of a rigorous series of tests.

  3. Reciprocity or endorsement of a license previously received from another state. The license presented for reciprocity or endorsement usually must have been issued on the basis of a written examination.

Although a physician may satisfy the basic licensing requirements for a state, this does not guarantee licensure. State licensing boards look at each applicant on an individual basis. They verify the information given and look into the moral character of the applicant.