Life + Career Medical Licensure International Licensure

International Licensure

Global mission

DO practice rights are going global

Looking to practice medicine abroad? The AOA continuously works to expand practice rights for osteopathic physicians across the globe.

Osteopathic medicine, as practiced in the United States, continues to gain recognition throughout the world. The AOA aims to promote further expansion of international licensure and practice rights for U.S.-trained DOs by working to educate foreign health officials about the U.S. model of osteopathic medicine. This article provides a comprehensive overview of the AOA’s international advocacy and milestones and practical information for DOs seeking licensure abroad.

If you are an AOA member and you have questions about practice rights in a specific country or would like support for an application or appeal, please contact the AOA International Affairs staff at [email protected] or call (202) 349-8720.

When researching licensure options in foreign countries, keep in mind:

  • Many countries associate the U.S. model of osteopathic medicine with the work of foreign-trained “osteopaths,” who are non-physician health care practitioners who practice manipulation.
  • Licensure requirements and processes are not consistent from country to country.
  • Requirements may depend on the type and duration of medical practice a physician is seeking. For instance, physicians who are interested in completing medical volunteer or mission work might be less hindered by paperwork and legal regulations than a physician looking to establish a permanent medical practice. For this reason, applicants should make their intentions as clear as possible when submitting a written inquiry.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which countries offer full medical practice to graduates of American colleges of osteopathic medicine?

Practice rights for U.S.-trained osteopathic physicians vary by country and sometimes by province, and can be impacted by the nature and length of employment arrangements.

This map indicates current recognition status of USDO credentials. To find the licensure requirements and registration process for a specific country, in general you will find this information on the website of that country’s medical council.

What support does the AOA give to U.S.-trained DOs seeking to work abroad?

The AOA offers general advice to physicians interested in practicing outside the U.S. In some cases, we can support individuals in their efforts to secure practice rights abroad by providing letters of introduction and documents explaining the scope of osteopathic medical education and practice. This support is a member benefit. Learn more about becoming an AOA member.

What activities does the AOA conduct internationally?

The AOA’s Bureau of International Osteopathic Medicine (BIOM) promotes the highest standards of osteopathic medical education and practice throughout the world. The AOA is also a charter member of the Osteopathic International Alliance, an international organization of osteopathic organizations.

I want to enter into training and/or practice in Canada. Whom should I contact?

For information regarding training and practice in Canada, contact the Canadian Osteopathic Association at [email protected], or contact the College of Physicians and Surgeons of the specific province.

I am a student at a college of osteopathic medicine in the United States who wishes to participate in a clinical rotation outside of the United States. Whom should I contact?

For information on COM opportunities for international rotations please view a summary of activities in the 2022 COM International Activities Report. Contact your school for more information on global health opportunities.

I am obtaining an osteopathic certification or degree program outside of the United States, and wish to practice as an osteopath in the United States. How should I proceed?

There are no osteopathic programs located outside of the United States that qualify an individual or group to practice as osteopaths or osteopathic physicians in the United States.

To become a U.S.-based osteopathic physician, you must undertake four years of study in a school of osteopathic medicine in the U.S. For information on applying, please visit the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine website.

If you are a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident, the Émigré Physicians Program at the New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine re-trains holders of foreign medical degrees equivalent to the MD degree in the U.S. for DO licensure.

Where can I find information on enrolling in an American college of osteopathic medicine?

Learn more about applying to an osteopathic medical school on the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine website.

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