Osteopathic Medicine College Enrollment Climbs by 4.5 Percent


October 18, 2012

Contact Information:
Wendy Fernando
Vice President for Communications and Marketing
(301) 968-4174

Total enrollment at the nation’s osteopathic medical colleges now tops 21,600, a 4.5 percent increase over last year’s total enrollment. Today, 20 percent of all U.S. medical students are attending osteopathic medical schools, a percentage that will continue to increase as new campuses are developed or complete all four years of enrollment, and as established and existing colleges complete previously approved increases in their class sizes. Three new colleges of osteopathic medicine will open their doors in 2013, and several others are in the planning stages. This fall, 5,804 new students enrolled at one of the nation’s 26 colleges of osteopathic medicine, a 2.9 percent increase over last year’s incoming class.

  • In spring 2012, 4,722 students graduated from osteopathic medical schools, 13.5 percent more than the previous year’s 4,159 graduating osteopathic medical students, and 54 percent more than the number of new osteopathic physicians who graduated a decade ago.
  • Enrollment is expected to continue rising in the coming years, with three colleges of osteopathic medicine opening their doors in fall 2013: Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine, Campbell University College of Osteopathic Medicine (North Carolina) and Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine (Indiana). Each school plans to enroll entering classes of more than 100 students.
  • Halfway through the application cycle for entry in fall 2013, osteopathic medical school applications are on track to hit record numbers for the tenth consecutive year.
  • Several additional colleges of osteopathic medicine are in the planning stages. To view a list of the proposed colleges that have taken initial steps toward accreditation with the Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation, see PDF.

Growth in the number of osteopathic medical school graduates will help mitigate looming physician shortages, especially in the critical primary care area. A variety of reports predict primary care physician deficits that will range from 20,000 to 46,000 by 2020-2025, and all physician shortages of 120,000 to 160,000. With large numbers of new osteopathic physicians continuing to pursue primary care careers, AACOM is hopeful that the osteopathic medical profession can help the nation avert a primary care crisis.

The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine promotes excellence in osteopathic medical education, in research and in service, and fosters innovation and quality among osteopathic medical colleges to improve the health of the American public.

Additional Contact:

Tom Levitan, MEd 
Vice President for Research and Application Services 
American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine