Education

The education received by chiropractors is extremely thorough and demanding. Aspiring doctors of chiropractic receive extensive teachings in the structure and functioning of the human body, the disease processes, and how health is achieved and maintained. There is an emphasis placed on the management of spinal disorders and their role in the overall health and wellness of the individual.

The Undergraduate Education

layoutSimilar to the requirements of medical schools, prior to entering chiropractic college students must first complete 3-4 years of prechiropractic undergraduate studies. During this time there is an emphasis on basic sciences including anatomy, organic chemistry, general chemistry, physics, biology, and psychology.

The Chiropractic Education

layoutUpon successful completion of the undergraduate studies, those students who are accepted to a chiropractic college enter a 4-5 year academic program, which is similar in content to medical school. Course work includes an in-depth study of anatomy, physiology, pathology, neurology, radiology, biomechanics, spinal adjustive techniques, and variety of other health-related areas.

The primary focus of the chiropractic education is to teach the student how to recognize and effectively treat a wide variety of bone/joint disorders in order to reduce pain and discomfort, allow for effective and proper healing, restore normal body biomechanics and improve overall health. In order to treat such conditions, students of chiropractic are trained in spinal adjustive techniques. Through chiropractic spinal adjustments, the students are taught how they can positively influence the body through the nervous system using specific spinal adjustive techniques. An emphasis is also placed on other aspects of health including diet, exercise, nutrition and wellness. Moreover, students receive thorough training aimed at identifying those conditions which are beyond the chiropractor's scope of practice and which require outside medical referral.

During the academic 4-5 year program, students must successfully complete a number of national board examinations which are required for licensure. In addition, students must spend several hundred hours of internship in which they treat patients suffering from true health ailments while under professional supervision. This ensures that the graduating doctors of chiropractic will have all the necessary education, skills and clinical experience to provide effective chiropractic health care. The colleges have additionally employed externship programs in which student interns assist field doctors in their private practices prior to graduation.

Licensure

layoutUpon graduation and the passing of all national board exams, the new doctor of chiropractic will receive his or her license for the practice of chiropractic in that state.

Continuing Education

layoutOnce licensed, most states require the doctor of chiropractic to attend annual seminars in order to maintain a high level of competency and keep technical skills sharp and current.

Subject Hours Comparison Between DC's and MD's

layoutYou may be surprised to learn that chiropractic doctors receive more class and study time in many important subjects compared with their medical counterparts.

Subjects
Class Hours
Chiropractic Students
Class Hours
Medical Students
Anatomy
540
510
Chemistry
165
325
Diagnosis
630
325
Microbiology
120
115
Neurology
320
110
Obstetrics
60
150
Orthopedics
210
155
Pathology
360
400
Physiology
240
325
Psychiatry
60
145
Radiology
360
150
HOURS
3,065
2,710
Additionally Required Studies
Spinal Manipulation
Nutrition
Physiotherapy
Advanced Radiology
Pharmacology
Immunology
General Surgery
Total Hours
4,485
4,250