top of page

Is your 'doctor' a physician?

Physician titles are MD (medical doctor) or DO (doctor of osteopathic medicine). All physicians complete four years of college, four years of medical school, and at least three years of a formal residency training program. They must pass at least three high-stakes standardized examinations to be licensed to practice medicine.  There are NO online medical schools. 

VIDEO: Can NPs pass the same exams as physicians?

Nurse practitioner 'doctors'

Nurse practitioners (NPs) are usually registered nurses who go on to earn a master's degree in nursing (MSN) or a DNP (doctorate in nursing practice). Many of these programs are online. Some offer 100% acceptance rates - anyone who applies is accepted. Others promote accelerated training, allowing nurses to graduate in as little as 15 months, while others let nurses work full-time while they attend school. Some programs are now allowing non-nurses with a bachelor's degree in ANY subject to become a nurse practitioner in as little as two years.


There is nothing to stop a nurse with a doctorate degree from calling themselves a doctor, even though 85% of all DNP degrees are non-clinical, providing education on subjects like research and leadership, rather than increasing clinical skills.

Billboard promoting online nurse practitioner program

Physician assistant 'doctors'

Example of online nurse practitioner schools
Example of nurse practitioner direct entry program for non-nurses

Physician assistants (PAs) usually attend four years of college and then earn a master's degree in physician assistant studies. There are some online PA programs.


There is now a doctorate for physician assistants, called the 'doctorate of medical science' degree, allowing PAs to also call themselves 'doctor.'

In addition, physician assistants are seeking a name change to no longer be called by this title. They now are seeking to be simply called 'PA' or 'physician associate.'

You deserve a real doctor - difference in training between physician and nurse practitioner
Your doctor is not a doctor - difference in training between physician and nurse practitioner
bottom of page