Researching Osteopathic Emergency Medicine Programs

This post was peer reviewed.
Click to learn more.

Author: Muhammad Alghanem, MSIV
Medical Student
Midwestern University – Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine

If you’re an osteopathic medical student interested in emergency medicine, you may be wondering where to find information specific to osteopathic residency programs. Some general facts, such as the universal four year length of the residency curriculum, may be common knowledge even to those just starting to explore their interest in emergency medicine. However, more program specific information may be harder to come by.[1] Taking the initiative to learn about the resources and opportunities available to you can help you prepare for the application process. In this post, you’ll find some basic insights into researching osteopathic emergency medicine programs.

The first and probably most useful online resource for students applying to any osteopathic residency is[2] On this site you can search for programs by type and location. From my search, I found that there are currently about 54 osteopathic emergency medicine programs in the country. At the time of writing, the top states for DO EM programs are:

  1.  Michigan with 15 programs
  2. Ohio with 9 programs 
  3. Pennsylvania with 8 programs  
  4. New Jersey, New York, and Oklahoma with 4 programs  
  5. Florida and West Virginia with 2 programs  
  6. Arizona, California, Illinois, Missouri, Rhode Island, and Virginia with 1 program

As you can see, the programs are heavily concentrated in the Midwest and East Coast. This isn’t a surprise, given the history of osteopathic medicine in those regions. If location is a top concern for you, and you are interested in training outside of the Midwest, you will likely find it beneficial to consider taking the USMLE in addition to the COMLEX boards and researching allopathic programs as you apply.

Some other insights that you will find on the site include data about each program such as: the number of residents they plan to take next year, application deadlines, board passing rates, educational features, program benefits, and institution and contact information. This makes the site a go-to place for information. Using this information, for example, I found that the mode and median number of positions per program is 4 positions per year, with an average of about 5.4 positions per program. Only a few programs take 10 or more students per year. The fact that so many programs are on the smaller side is one reason that many people encourage doing away or “audition” rotations at programs in which you are interested. This allows you and the programs you’re interested in to get to know each other beyond the numbers.

Once you’ve done your research on, you can learn more by looking at each program’s webpage and speaking with seniors, recent graduates from your school, or current residents. If you are a member of AAEM/RSA make sure to review AAEM/RSA’s Rules of the Road for Medical Students to read about preparing yourself to apply for a residency in emergency medicine.


  1. American Osteopathic Association and American College of Osteopathic Emergency Physicians. Basic Standards for Residency Training in Emergency Medicine. July 2011. Accessed September 7 2014.
  2. Opportunities. American Osteopathic Association. Accessed September 7 2014.