Osteopathic Education

The Global Osteopathic Profession has grown and developed along two distinct practice models with a shared philosophy of healthcare: osteopathy and osteopathic medicine.


Currently there are two international standards for training in osteopathy:

The World Health Organization Benchmarks for Training in Osteopathy (2010).  The WHO Benchmarks describes the core philosophy and principles of osteopathy, the main types of osteopathic training programmes, core competencies, and a benchmark training curriculum.

          Comité Européen de Normalisation, CEN, issued a European Standard on Osteopathic Healthcare Provision in 2015, (EN 16686) developed in partnership with the European Federation of Osteopaths (EFO) and the Forum for Osteopathic Regulation in Europe (FORE). The CEN standard sets a benchmark for high quality clinical practice, education, safety and ethics for Osteopathy in Europe and has been published in 33 European countries. Read more about the CEN standard here.

When considering enrolling in a school of osteopathy, it is recommended that you ensure the curriculum meets either the WHO or CEN standards.

** Note that osteopaths are found exclusively outside the United States.  Osteopaths may not currently be licensed for practice in the United States. 

Additionally, the OIA is unaware of any international legally recognized licensing entity for osteopaths, or any international license or certificate that is recognized by a legal regulatory authority.  Licensure is normally overseen by the regulatory authority of the country in which a person is applying for licensure, according to that country’s requirements. **

Osteopathic Medicine

Osteopathic physicians – Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, or DO – are found primarily in the United States.  The standards for education of DOs are established by the Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation.  The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine provides information on accredited Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine.

There are educational programs for medical physicians in some countries outside the US to obtain formal post-medical training in osteopathy.   Osteopathic physicians and physicians who have graduated from a post-medical accredited program of osteopathy will, as a minimum, have met the standards for the full scope of medical practice and have achieved the nationally recognized academic and professional standards within their country.

In UK , for example:

The University College of Osteopathy offers Master of Science (MSc) in Osteopathy:

This full-time postgraduate programme for qualified chiropractors, sports therapists, physiotherapists and medical practitioners is a two-year pre-qualifying course designed to give these practitioners the opportunity to achieve the required competence profile for autonomous osteopathic practice.

Whilst enabling these practitioners to develop the required clinical competence profile for registration with the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC), the course aims to produce clinicians who have the knowledge and skills to integrate osteopathy with their existing healthcare practice in sports therapy, chiropractic, physiotherapy or medicine.

  • Suitable academic qualification (honours degree in physiotherapy or equivalent, honours degree in chiropractic or equivalent, honours degree in sports therapy or equivalent or equivalent overseas qualifications, or a degree in medicine)

For more information please visit : www.uco.ac.uk


In Australia:

All members of Osteopathy Australia hold university degrees in osteopathy and are registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA).

The organization offers two levels of recognition, depending on member knowledge, skill and achievement:

  • Extended Practice Recognition. This acknowledges members for growing their clinical knowledge in a focus area. This means Extended Practitioners have expanded their knowledge in a focus area beyond the level of a newly registered osteopath.
  • Advanced Practice Recognition. This is a higher-level recognition for extensive knowledge and practice skills. Osteopaths awarded Advanced Practice Recognition have enhanced abilities and reasoning in a focus area. Advanced Practice Recognition is the peak level of recognition for applied focus area clinical skills. Advanced Practitioners provide leadership and advice to Osteopathy Australia, health stakeholders and Extended Practitioners relevant to their focus areas.