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Physicians treat and prevent human illness, disease and injury. There are two types of physicians: the M.D. (Doctor of Medicine) and the D.O. (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine). Medical school programs are four years in length. At the end of four years, allopathic institutions grant the M.D. degree and osteopathic institutions grant the D.O. degree. You should examine the similarities and differences in training and practice. (For more information about osteopathic programs, you are encouraged to visit http://www.aacom.org.) Students accepted to allopathic medical schools in 2007 had an average science GPA of 3.59 and average overall GPA of 3.65. The average MCAT scores were 9.9 verbal, 10.3 physical sciences and 10.6 biological sciences. Successful applicants to osteopathic medical schools had an average science GPA of 3.36 and an average overall GPA of 3.45. The average MCAT scores for students accepted to osteopathic schools were 8.10 verbal, 8.08 physical sciences and 8.54 biological sciences.
Additional graduate medical education may range from three to seven years, depending on the specialty selected. Successful completion of national boards is required for certification prior to licensure.
Dentistry is the branch of the healing arts and sciences devoted to maintaining the health of teeth, gums, and other hard and soft tissues of the oral cavity. A dentist is a scientist dedicated to the highest standards of health through prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of oral diseases and conditions.
Approximately 85 percent of dentists engage in general practice. The American Dental Association currently recognizes eight dental specialties--dental public health, endodontics, oral pathology, oral surgery, orthodontics, pediatric dentistry, periodontics, and prosthodontics. Becoming a recognized specialist usually requires from one to four years of additional training beyond the dental degree.
Dental school is four years in length for general practice. At the end of four years, a graduate earns a D.D.S., Doctor of Dental Surgery or a D.M.D., Doctor of Dental Medicine. The majority of dental schools award the D.D.S. degree; however, some award a D.M.D. degree. The education and degrees are the same. In 2007, successful dental school applicants had an average science GPA of 3.48 and an average overall GPA of 3.54. The average DAT scores for 2007 were 19.4 academic average and 18.7 overall.
Optometrists, or Doctors of Optometry, are independent primary healthcare providers who examine, diagnose, treat, and manage diseases and disorders of the visual system, the eye, and associated structures.
Doctors of Optometry receive four years of specialized professional education and clinical training at an accredited school of Optometry after completion of their undergraduate prerequisites. In 2006, successful applicants had an average GPA of 3.43.
The Optometry Admission Test (OAT) must be taken by all applicants seeking admission to schools and colleges of optometry. The OAT exam is administered online and almost anytime at the testing centers. The OAT is scored on a 200 to 400 scale in increments of ten. The national average for the test is usually between 300 and 310.
Pharmacists are experts in the science of medications and the art of medication therapy. The principal goal of pharmaceutical care is to achieve definite outcomes from medication use which improve a patient’s quality of life. These outcomes include: 1) cure of a disease; 2) elimination or reduction of symptoms; 3) arresting or slowing a disease process; 4) prevention of disease; 5) diagnosis of disease; and 6) desired alterations in physiological processes, all with minimal risk to patients.
Pharmacists trained in the 21st century possess a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree and must qualify for a national licensure examination. A Pharm.D. degree requires at least four academic years of professional study, following a minimum of two years of pre-professional study for a total of six years of postsecondary course work. A non-traditional Pharm.D. program also may be designed as a post-baccalaureate pharmacy curriculum with a combined period of study usually exceeding six years. MU students may apply to a school of pharmacy after two years of pre-professional study or after completion of a bachelor’s degree. In 2006, the average GPA of students accepted to pharmacy programs was 3.67.
Podiatric medicine is a branch of the medical sciences devoted to the study of human movement with medical care of the foot and ankle as its primary focus.
A Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) specializes in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of foot disorders resulting from injury or disease. A DPM makes independent judgments, prescribes medications, and when necessary, performs surgery.
After completing four years of podiatric medical training, the podiatrist is required by most states to complete at least one year of postgraduate residency training. Surgically-based residencies can last from one to three years. State licensing requirements generally include graduation from an accredited college of podiatric medicine, passage of National Board examinations, and oral examinations. In 2006, students accepted to podiatry school had an average GPA of 3.2.