Becoming A Chiropractor
How to Become a Chiropractor
So you are thinking of choosing a career as a chiropractor? Chiropractors have many years of schooling to earn their doctorate degree in chiropractic, and they continue to learn about chiropractic with continuing education throughout their careers. Here are some things to consider about chiropractic education.
Chiropractic schools all require a minimum for undergraduate college credit hours. Individual Chiropractic schools may have other requirements beyond this minimum. In the United States, the Council on Chiropractic Education (CCE) sets the minimum requirement for prospective chiropractic students. The CCE is the accreditation organization for Doctor of Chiropractic Programs.
Chiropractic Pre-Requisites, Undergraduate Studies
Currently, candidates for chiropractic school must have at least 90 undergraduate semester credit hours with specific course requirements that include: Physics, Biology, Organic and Inorganic Chemistry, Psychology, English, and Social Studies or Humanities. Ninety credit hours is equivalent to three undergraduate academic years and is the same minimum requirement for medical or dental school. There is no specific requirement for an undergraduate degree so long as the above mentioned credit hours are completed, though most successful applicants to a chiropractic college have a four-year undergraduate degree.
In what is believed to be a means to reduce competition, some states like Florida, Kansas, Maryland, and Rhode Island, instituted a requirement that an undergraduate degree must be obtained before matriculation to chiropractic college, or a chiropractic license will not be granted in those States. In the future, US-based chiropractic schools may require a four-year degree as a minimum requirement. The CCE policy regarding chiropractic prerequisites will change in 2014 making the minimum required GPA 3.0.
After pre-requisite courses are completed or an undergraduate degree is obtained, you may apply to specialized four-year chiropractic programs offered at chiropractic institutions. As of 2007, the Council on Chiropractic Education had accredited a total of sixteen chiropractic institutions. An excellent curriculum vitae and academic record is certainly an advantage in applying to a chiropractic program.
The Four-Year Chiropractic Program, Post Graduate Studies
The first two years of chiropractic studies are known as preliminary work covering physiology, pathology, anatomy, microbiology, biochemistry, public health, and laboratory work. The third and fourth years of the chiropractic program focuses on practical instructions on spinal manipulation. In addition, hands-on learning with patients and laboratory diagnosis in clinical orthopedics, physiotherapy, neurology, geriatrics, and nutrition is needed.
A chiropractic student completes the same classes as medical students, differing only on the methods used in treating conditions. Completing a minimum of three years of undergraduate pre-chiropractic courses and a four-year chiropractic program entitles students to a Doctor of Chiropractic Degree.
Obtaining a Doctor Of Chiropractic License to Practice
After achieving a Doctor of Chiropractic Degree, you need to acquire a license to practice. In the US, depending on which state you want to practice, you must pass the test from the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners. Many states, require taking state boards in addition to passing national boards.
Chiropractors are usually only allowed to practice in the state where they acquired the license. However, some states collaborate to allow chiropractors to practice in other states through reciprocity, without additional exams, as long as the state requirements are met.
Like any health related career in the US, except in New Jersey, licensed Chiropractors are required to take continuing education training to keep their license in their state. They can even take advanced post-doctoral education for further knowledge, and additional credentials.