Naturally, in order to become qualified, an osteopath must complete an osteopathy course. Osteopaths in Australia are classified as primary healthcare professionals. This makes them one of twelve medical professions that examine patients, make a diagnosis and treat, without the need for a referral from another practitioner like a general practitioner.
Australia’s private health insurance industry also acknowledges an osteopaths medical credentials and will pay ancillary – better known as ‘extras’ benefits – when a member is treated by an osteopath.
Excitingly, the number of osteopaths in Australia is growing and has been growing for many years. In fact, when measured against other practitioners, osteopathy is the fastest growing medical discipline in Australia. Osteopathy has grown by 67% over the last three years.
To become an accredited osteopath, you must firstly complete a three year full time undergraduate degree in applied science (complementary medicine). Upon completion you must then complete a two year Masters degree. As part of the Masters Degree, budding osteopaths perform supervised treatments on real paying customers for two years. This gives graduating osteopaths a minimum experience of 250 paying patients before they begin official practice.
Regular course assessments emphasise a high excellence standard across biological theory and the demonstration of osteopathic techniques.
Currently, osteopathy is taught across three Australian universities, including
Osteopathy combines comprehensive practical supervised training with biomedical sciences. This combination ensures osteopaths can both understand and treat musculo-skeletal conditions, understand the intertwined relationship that parts of the body have and preempt other conditions that may develop. Below is a snapshot of the biomedical sciences that osteopaths are taught:
- Advanced Pathology
- Biology of the Cell
- Clinical Biomechanics
- Clinical Diagnosis & Management
- Clinical Health Management
- Clinical Microbiology
- Diagnostic Imaging & Conceptual Health
- Exercise Rehabilitation
- Head and Visceral Anatomy
- Human Physiology
- Immunology and Genetics
- Osteopathic Diagnosis & Technique
- Osteopathic Technique
- Osteopathic Theory and Practice
- Osteopathy Principles and Clinical Practice
- Osteopathy Theory and Practice
- Osteopathy Mechanics and Principles
- Pharmacology and Toxicology
- Principles of Human Biology and Radiology
Before the completion of their osteopathic education, osteopaths must also complete a thesis on an osteopathic subject. This thesis is submitted, presented and reviewed by their peers. As Osteopathy is one of the fastest growing medical disciplines in Australia, an osteopathy course provides bright prospects and the window for a successful and satisfying medical career. Once qualified osteopaths can also travel to other countries to practice, although like other medical qualifications, entry tests and criteria may need to be completed.
Australia’s osteopaths are registered under a federal registration system, governed by the Osteopathy Board of Australia. This means that osteopaths register once each year and can practice in every state and territory across Australia. Almost all osteopaths operate in private practice clinics, the majority of which are situated in Melbourne and Sydney.