The Career Doctor™

by Dr. Jacqueline Hornor Plumez

Looking for a first job? Thinking of changing careers? Facing a lay-off? The Career Doctor™ is a Larchmont psychologist specializing in career counseling. If you'd like to ask a question of your own, use our anonymous form, and she might answer you here. Read more about the Career Doctor here. Contact information is here.


Dear Career Doctor:

I am a first-year medical student at an osteopathic school and am afraid that I will not be able to overcome the stigma that exists against D.O.'s. Do you think it's possible to learn to develop full pride for your work if your degree is "second class" or should that be a deal-breaker?


Dear Elizabeth:

Before I answer your question, I better explain to readers what a Doctor of Osteopathy (D.O.) is. A D.O. is a person who goes to a medical school overseen by the American Osteopathic Association instead of the American Medical Association. Like chiropractors, D.O.'s learn to manipulate the muscle/skeletal system, but unlike chiropractors, D.O.'s can prescribe medicine. In fact, in most states, D.O's are licensed to practice in the same manner as M.D.'s.

So what's the stigma against D.O.'s? Many of the most prestigious medical centers only hire M.D.'s. And many of the most competitive medical specialties like surgery or cardiology tend to only admit M.D. students into their training programs.

Medicine, like every other field, gives an initial advantage to those with the most prestigious degrees from the most prestigious institutions. But, like every other profession, many people with "lesser" degrees eventually become just as successful because of skill, luck or hard work.

The answer to whether you should stay in D.O. school lies in what you want to do with your degree -- and how you feel about it. If you want to be a general practitioner, or if you want to work for a community hospital, you will probably not have any stigma or obstacle to your career.

Most D.O.'s are proud of their degree and training. If you don't think you will eventually feel that way, perhaps these bad feelings are a "deal-breaker."

The Career Doctor

The Career Doctor cannot answer every question here, and she does not respond to personal emails. Please use this form to ask your question.

First Name, Initial:



The Career Doctor™ is Larchmont psychologist and career counselor, Dr. Jacqueline Hornor Plumez.

Her office is at 90 Beechtree Drive in Larchmont, 914-834-1982.