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States trying to limit who can be called 'doctor,' but there's no federal law

April 30, 2019 - 4:00 am

By Amy E. Feldman, Judge Technology Solutions

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Randy Pausch, who earned his doctorate from Carnegie Mellon, was a professor best known for his book "The Last Lecture." Pausch's mother would tell people, "This is my son - he's a doctor but not the kind that helps people." Who does have the legal right to call himself or herself "doctor"? 

There are people with medical training, from MDs (physicians) to DOs (osteopaths) to chiropractors and dentists and veterinarians who call themselves doctor. Then there are people who have earned a Ph.D., like Dr. Pausch, and even people like Dr. Dre of "Beats" fame who never went to medical school. 

State medical boards are trying to limit who can be called doctor but there is no federal law that requires a specific level of education to use the moniker doctor. That said, if someone is pretending to be a medical doctor with fake certificates, that's fraud.  

So, ask before treatment: where exactly did you go to medical school, Dr. Evil?