If you’re interested in helping people improve their quality of life, becoming a chiropractor may be the right career for you. Chiropractors specialize in diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal disorders, and they use hands-on techniques to adjust the spine and other joints. In this article, we will walk you through the steps to become a chiropractor.
The first step to becoming a chiropractor is to earn an undergraduate degree. Most chiropractic schools require applicants to have at least 90 credits of undergraduate coursework, including classes in biology, chemistry, physics, and psychology. Some chiropractic schools offer dual-degree programs that combine the undergraduate and graduate requirements, allowing students to earn both degrees in less time than if they pursued each degree separately.
Chiropractic Degree Programs
After completing an undergraduate degree, the next step is to enroll in a chiropractic degree program. There are 18 chiropractic schools accredited by the Council on Chiropractic Education in the United States. Chiropractic programs typically take four years to complete, and each program has its own set of admission requirements. Some of the admission requirements include:
- Completion of an application
- Transcripts from undergraduate and graduate schools attended
- Licensure or certification as a chiropractic assistant (if applicable)
- Personal statement or essay
During the chiropractic program, students will take courses in anatomy, physiology, pathology, and chiropractic techniques. They will also participate in clinical experiences where they will treat patients under the supervision of licensed chiropractors.
After completing a chiropractic program, graduates must obtain a state license to practice as a chiropractor. Each state has its own licensure requirements, but most states require the following:
- Graduation from an accredited chiropractic program
- Passing scores on the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE) exams
- Completion of a background check
- Completion of continuing education courses
National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE) exams
The NBCE exams are a series of tests that assess a chiropractor’s knowledge and skills. The exams include:
- Part I: Basic Science
- Part II: Clinical Science
- Part III: Diagnostic Imaging
- Part IV: Practical Skills
The passing score for each exam may vary by state. Once a chiropractor passes the exams and meets the other state licensure requirements, they can apply for a license to practice as a chiropractor.
Chiropractors can work in private practices, hospitals, clinics, and sports medicine facilities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for chiropractors is good, with a 12% job growth rate projected from 2020 to 2030. The median annual salary for chiropractors was $70,340 in May 2020. (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics)
Specializations in Chiropractic
Chiropractors can also choose to specialize in a particular area of chiropractic, such as sports medicine or pediatrics. To specialize, chiropractors must complete additional education and training beyond what is required for state licensure.
Chiropractors typically work in clean, comfortable environments, and they spend a lot of time on their feet treating patients. Depending on their specialty, chiropractors may work evenings or weekends to accommodate patients’ schedules.
Becoming a chiropractor requires a commitment to education and a passion for helping others. With the right training and licensure, you could have a rewarding career as a chiropractor.
Common Questions and Answers
- Q: How long does it take to become a chiropractor?
- A: It takes four years to complete a chiropractic program, and additional time is needed to obtain a state license to practice as a chiropractor.
- Q: What kind of degree do you need to become a chiropractor?
- A: Most chiropractic schools require applicants to have at least 90 credits of undergraduate coursework, including classes in biology, chemistry, physics, and psychology.
- Q: How much does it cost to become a chiropractor?
- A: The cost of becoming a chiropractor will vary depending on the chiropractic program and the state licensure requirements, but it can cost upwards of $100,000.
- Q: What is the job outlook for chiropractors?
- A: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for chiropractors is good, with a 12% job growth rate projected from 2020 to 2030.
- Council on Chiropractic Education (CCE)
- National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE)
- Bureau of Labor Statistics