How to Choose Your Osteopathic School
When choosing your school, please be aware that membership in OsteopathyBC and all other associations within the umbrella of the Canadian Federation of Osteopaths requires a minimum of 4 years full time or part time equivalent if you are previously trained as a health care professional. Online and/or distance education are not acceptable forms of training for membership with OsteopathyBC.
When we are reviewing foreign applications, we consult the local Osteopathic body (local to the region of the applicant) and align our standards with theirs. We are not in a position to evaluate every school, nor do we accredit schools.
For example, if you are applying for membership with OsteopathyBC and you were trained in a European country where osteopathy is regulated, we will require that you are or were registered with the regulatory body. If you trained in a country without regulation in Europe, we will consult the European Federation and Forum of Osteopathy. You need to be accepted for membership by the association in the region you were trained, in order to be accepted with OsteopathyBC.
If you are applying within Canada, we rely on our sister organizations in other areas of Canada. There are competent provincial assessment organizations in the region where the school is located.
World Health Organization Benchmarks for Training in Osteopathy
In 2010 the WHO published Benchmarks for training in Osteopathy, setting out the minimum requirements for training. Schools can offer Type I or Type II training.
Type I and Type II Training
Type I training programs are aimed at those with little or no prior health-care training, but who have completed high school education or equivalent. These programs typically are four-year, full-time programs. Supervised clinical training at an appropriate osteopathic clinical facility is an essential component, and students may be required to complete a thesis or project.
Type II training programs are aimed at those with prior training as healthcare professionals. Type II programs have the same aims and content as the Type I programs, but the course content and length may be modified depending on the prior experience and training of individual applicants. The competencies required of graduates of either program are the same, and can be found in the WHO Benchmarks.
Osteopathy is a healthcare profession which is distinct from other manual therapies. It is much more than just a few techniques that can be learned quickly. If you are going to invest your time, money and energy in this very rewarding profession, be sure to choose your school carefully.
Most schools will say that they meet the WHO Benchmarks, but on detailed examination might be found to be lacking in some of the components.
Checklist for ensuring that a school meets the WHO Benchmark
- Does the school offer Type 1 or Type 2 training?
If it is Type 2, applicants must already be recognized healthcare practitioners to be admitted, preferably, but not always, with a university degree. Type 1 must include all the relevant health sciences, common to all healthcare professions.
- Does the school have adequate hours of instruction to meet the Benchmarks?
The WHO Benchmarks specify that all physical examination training and osteopathic skills must be taught by direct contact, not online or from a book.
This means, in most cases, approximately 1000 hrs of direct contact on site teaching for a Type 2 school and 4200 hrs for Type 1. Homework, unless it is a structured online class or webinar, is not considered part of the necessary hours and is in addition to them.
- Does the school have a clinic?
WHO Benchmarks specify that supervised clinical training is an essential component of all osteopathic education and that it must be done in an osteopathic facility with high quality supervision.
- Does the curriculum cover all the necessary osteopathic core competency components?
These can be found in section 2. of the WHO Benchmarks and are necessary for Type 1 or 2 graduates to acquire. They should be included in the curriculum of any school chosen.
If you have any further questions about choosing an osteopathic school, you can contact us at info [at] osteopathybc.ca.
Click for information on the benefits of becoming a member of OsteopathyBC.
Click for further osteopathic resources for students and important links.