What is the difference between a Medical Osteopath and a Manual Osteopath?

Medical Osteopath

In Canada and the US osteopathic medicine is a distinctive form of medical practice in both countries. Medical Doctors (MDs) and Doctors of Osteopathy (DOs) are the only two types of complete physicians in North America. They are fully trained and licensed to order any required laboratory or diagnostic procedures, prescribe medication, perform surgery, deliver babies and may utilize their training as a prerequisite to specialize in other branches of medicine. There are currently 29 accredited Osteopathic Medical Schools in the US and none in Canada. These DOs are recognized as osteopathic physicians and are the only ones legally able to call themselves osteopaths.

Manual Osteopath

Generally anyone other than Osteopaths/Osteopathic Physicians (which are only those trained in accredited American schools) refer to themselves as one or more of the following: Manual Osteopath, Osteopathic manual practitioner, Osteopathic Manual Therapist, DOMP, DO (UK), DO (Aus), DO (NZ), Do (Fr), DO (MP), etc.

Why Choose NMOC?


  1. We are experienced, and use only the most current and effective techniques available. Far too many programs recycle old, ineffective material for program content.
  2. The Program is completed in 11 months. As previously stated, our hours meet or exceed all current programs, there is less time in between classes on campus.
  3. Each area of our program is instructed by a specialist in that field.
  4. Classroom time is used exclusively for practical application, exams, and clinical experience in addition to a required practicum placement in the field,
  5. Class notes and written assignments are completed off campus.

Does the program qualify for student loans and grants?

Yes! Our program is eligible for Student Aid funding. Application forms are available and should be completed as early as possible in June to allow for sufficient processing.

Student loans outside of Alberta - please be advised that the process can take 6-8 months to secure funding.

If you require any assistance please contact us directly or visit studentaid.alberta.ca


What are the typical class sizes for the Manual Osteopathy Program?

Class sizes range from 8-20 students. 

Can I still work and go to school?

Yes! We encourage our students to be working while also attending school. You will be in class only a few times a month, and need practicum clinical hours. What a great way to educate your clients about your new skills and incorporate them into your treatments. 


What are the entrance requirements?

  1. Must be 18 years of age or older
  2. Provide proof of completion of a minimum 2 years of training in a discipline with a focus on human anatomy and physiology from a recognized institution. 
  3. Hold a valid, current Standard First Aid with CPR C certificate
  4. Provide a current government issued identification
  5. Be fluent and efficient in English, reading, spoken and written



Who will recognize my Diploma from your school? 

We are a Private Vocational School licensed by the Alberta Government. The Manual Osteopathic Program is recognized by both Federal and Provincial funding agencies, and we are able to issue tuition tax receipts.

Our graduates are qualify for membership with the National Manual Osteopathic Society (NMOS).

Most Manual Osteopaths would be self employed or work in a multidisciplinary clinic.

I have never heard of a Manual Osteopath before - what do they do?


MANUAL OSTEOPATHS use a variety of techniques to address imbalances in the body, FROM A WHOLE BODY PERSPECTIVE. This includes treating muscles, bones, joints and fascia through the soft tissues of the body to achieve and maintain structural balance and health. For more information refer to National Manual Osteopathic Society/treatment methods.



Doesn't it take years to become a manual osteopath?

There are some programs out there that take place over multiple years, however students may only be in-class a few times during a year. They also may be Type I programs that do not require any prior healthcare training to enter the program. So when you are comparing programs ensure that you know what Type of program it is, how many in-class hours are provided and what associations recognize the program.

Our program is a Type II program which takes place annually between September and July. The Type II designation means that the program has been developed for those with previous healthcare training.

Our students attend in-person classes every 2-4 weeks over the course of that 11 months. We find that this method offers consistent interaction with instructors and allows for an expedited learning experience.

Our graduates qualify for membership with NMOS which has insurance recognition across Canada with multiple major insurance companies.


What sort of training does a Manual Osteopath require?

There are no regulations in Canada regarding training for Manual Osteopaths.

If you were to evaluate the programs currently offered in Canada, you would see that a general trend is to follow either Type I and/or Type II training requirements as listed by the World Health Organization. We specialize in Type II training offering a total of 1952 hours including 400 hours of clinical practice.

For more information you can review the PDF: World Health Organization: Benchmark for training in Osteopathy


What about 3rd party billing privileges for Manual Osteopathy?

Plan coverage for Manual Osteopathic treatment varies by plan, set forth by insurance companies.

We are affiliated with the National Manual Osteopathic Society which provides a contact verification system for insurance companies/third party providers seeking confirmation of adequate training and membership credentials In order to confirm claim reimbursement. Graduates of our Manual Osteopathy Program will qualify for membership in the National Manual Osteopathy Society, which is Canada wide. http://www.nmos.ca/