Q: Can you compare the colleges? Which one is best?

A: We treat as confidential the information we receive from osteopathic medicine programs. All accredited programs have our recommendation, but we do not rank them. Each osteopathic college has unique qualities. We encourage prospective students to visit the campuses and to participate in the schools' student-for-a-day programs.

Q: Does CCOE recognize home-study schools or external-degree programs?

A: Many correspondence schools offer DO degrees or diplomas. Some are exempt from provincial regulations because they claim a religious purpose or they do not recruit students from their home provinces. No correspondence programs prepare students for practice as licensed osteopathic physicians, no programs are eligible for affiliation with our agency. It is not illegal for those who obtain D.O.. or do, degrees from correspondence schools to use the initials after their names; they may not, however, legally represent themselves as physicians or engage in the practice of medicine unless they are otherwise licensed as medical practitioners. Although correspondence courses can be effective in many disciplines, osteopathic licensing agencies believe they are not effective in Osteopathy for preparing students as physicians. The Alternative Medicine Examiners Council of Canada (AMECC) consider those who obtain D.O., or do, degrees from correspondence schools not to be part of the osteopathic medical profession.


Q: Is there a difference between the (D.O.,) and the (d.o,) degree?

A: Universities and colleges may choose to call the osteopathic degree they confer either the "Doctor of Osteopathy" degree or the "Diploma of Osteopathy" degree. These are two different names for the same degree. By either name, the degree is usually abbreviated "D.O.," but an institution that refers to its osteopathic credential as the "Diploma of Osteopathy Medicine" degree may abbreviate it "d.o.," Presently, all colleges and universities with accredited or candidates of osteopathic medicine programs confer the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree in Canada. In all provinces that regulate osteopathic medicine, osteopathic physicians use the D.O., initials after their names. The D.O.,. initials are the ones more widely associated with the osteopathic medical profession and are the only ones used in the corporate seals of the Canadian Council of Osteopathic Examiners (CCOE).

Q: What does "candidate for accreditation" mean?

A: Candidacy is a status of affiliation with us that indicates a osteopathic medicine program satisfies our agency's eligibility requirements ‚€” e.g., that it is properly organized, is adequately supported financially, has good facilities and a qualified faculty, offers an appropriate curriculum, and accurately represents itself to prospective students. Candidacy, however, is not accreditation and does not ensure eventual accreditation. We grant candidacy when a program meets our eligibility requirements, complies with our standards to the degree expected for its stage of development, and is progressing toward accreditation. If it does not achieve accreditation within five years, the program loses affiliation with us for at least one year and until deficiencies are corrected. A new program may apply for candidacy at any time, but CCOE will not grant candidacy until after at least its first academic year with students enrolled full time. A osteopathic medicine program may not be accredited until it has graduated its first class. Students and graduates of candidate programs are eligible to apply for the licensing examinations, administered by the Canadian Council of Osteopathic Examiners CCOE‚€™s branch of each province.

Q: What criteria does CCOE use in evaluating osteopathic medicine programs?

A: The evaluation process involves a comprehensive self-study by the program, periodic visits to the campus by CCOE teams, and ongoing monitoring. Evaluation teams have three or more trained members, with at least one a practicing osteopathic physician, another a member of the Council, and another not affiliated with the osteopathic profession, its colleges, or CCOE. Our Handbook of Accreditation for Osteopathic Medicine Programs , contains our objectives, eligibility requirements, standards, policies, procedures, Articles of Incorporation, and Bylaws. The handbook is available for on-site review and photocopying (no permission needed) at the library or an administrative office of each program affiliated with us, or it may be ordered for $20, prepaid: free by e-mail upon request

Q: Where may D.O.,s practice?

A: One province allows the practice of osteopathic medicine: Saskatchewan, have licensing laws for osteopathic doctors. The scope of practice varies from province to province. In provinces without osteopathic licensing laws, many who hold the D.O.,. degree also hold other degrees, such as the Doctor of Naturopathy, Doctor of Chiropractic, or Masters in Oriental Medicine degree, or M.D., and they practice under licenses for those professions. Others offer services that do not violate their provinces medical practice acts. Most osteopathic physicians are not in the provinces that regulate the profession.

Q: How is CCOE organized?

A: CCOE was incorporated in August 1991 under the Nonprofit Corporation Act and is recognized by the Canadian Internal Revenue Service as a Professional Syndicate nonprofit organization. Board members are elected by the board itself, who are also the organization's only voting members. Presently, two of CCOE's eleven board members are public members; a public member is not affiliated in any way with the osteopathic profession. The board has three positions for institutional member representatives, who are elected rotationally for three-year terms from among administrators and faculty members at the five accredited and candidate osteopathic medicine programs. Our Articles of Incorporation also require from four to six profession members, who must be licensed osteopathic physicians. Six profession members currently serve on the board.

Q: How does someone start a new osteopathic college?

A: To site a new osteopathic program within an existing college or university is preferable to beginning a freestanding osteopathic medical college, unless the organizing group has the necessary assets and extensive experience in higher education administration. CCOE can refer organizations with the potential for developing a new program to consultants. Any new program, to qualify for accreditation, would likely need to be in a state or province that licenses osteopathic physicians, because students do their clinical training primarily under practicing osteopathic physicians. Additionally, provincial authorities probably would not approve a college's request to grant the D.O.,. degree in a province that does not allow the practice of osteopathic medicine.

Q: May I be licensed in the Canada if I attend an overseas osteopathic college?

A: Because standards for osteopathic education exist other than in Canada, students who graduate from osteopathic colleges in other countries are eligible to apply for the Canadian Council of Osteopathic Examiners CCNE, examinations. The exams are administered twice a year at the provincial level by the branch of it‚€™s Province. Students who attend an overseas school may have some course credits accepted for transfer to a Canadian school if the foreign school is a graduate-level institution and governmentally recognized. If you plan to spend the first year or two of osteopathic studies at a foreign school, you should first check with one of the Canadian Osteopathic colleges to learn if any credits may be transferred later.

Q: May I be licensed in the United States if I attend osteopathic college in Canada, and vice versa?

A: If you graduate from a CCOE-recognized college in Canada, some states will accept your licensing application, but several will not. This is because private colleges in Canada do not all confer degrees but "diplomas," e.g., the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine diploma. Quebec is the only province which confers the degree of Doctor of Osteopathy, D.O., which is a first cycle Doctorate "degree." Some state laws have language that specifically requires an D.O. "degree." U.S. students who plan to attend osteopathic college in Canada should first check with the osteopathic licensing agencies in the states where they will practice to make sure they can apply for a license with a Canadian diploma or degree. 

Q: What is the difference between CCOE and the other organizations that accredit osteopathic programs?

A:  CCOE is the organization that accredits programs which prepare students to become licensed osteopathic physicians. It is the accrediting agency accepted by the Canadian Professional Syndicates for licensed osteopathic doctors, and it is the agency recognized by the Alternative Medicine Examiners Council of Canada (AMECC). CCNE is also the only osteopathic accreditor with membership in the Alternative Medicine Examiners Council of Canada (AMECC). Other osteopathic accrediting agencies accredit schools that do not prepare students to practice as licensed osteopathic physicians. None is recognized by the AMECC, and none of the schools or programs they accredit has institutional accreditation from a recognized regional accrediting agency. Comparing the published standards, policies, procedures, and bylaws of accrediting agencies is one way to determine their differences. For CCOE, these documents are in its Handbook.