What are the Qualifications to be a Chiropractor?
If you’re considering chiropractic treatment to help you cope with chronic or acute pain or another health issue, you might be wondering how much training someone gets before being licensed as a chiropractor. And, it might surprise you to know that the educational and licensing requirements for chiropractic doctors (DCs) are some of the most stringent and rigorous of any health care profession.
Many Doctors of Chiropractic have four-year undergraduate degrees in pre-medical subjects like chemistry, organic chemistry, biology, physics, and psychology. Some obtain undergraduate degrees in physical therapy as well.
After that, an aspiring DC must be educated in a nationally accredited, for-year doctor graduate school program. Typically, these programs include a minimum of 4,200 hours of classroom study, laboratory work, and clinical internships, which makes the classroom hours similar to what allopathic and osteopathic medical schools require of their students.
Chiropractic training involves rigorous training in many of the same things that medical doctors study. These include:
- Human anatomy
- Public health
A significant percentage of the training students receive is clinical, meaning that it’s related to evaluating and caring for patients. They must complete a one-year clinical program where they treat patients and observe qualified DCs at work.
It’s important to note that, because chiropractic is a hands-on practice that requires extensive clinical training, DCs spend, on average, more time in clinical settings before they are licensed that medical doctors do. It’s where they learn the art and science of treating patients and the intricate, hands-on adjusting techniques that help them alleviate pain.
The course of study for DCs is approved by an agency recognized by the United States Department of Education and has been for more than 25 years.
Certification and Licensing
Education isn’t the only qualification to be a chiropractor. DCs must also pass a national board exam administered by the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners. The NBCE also specifies yearly continuing education requirements that DCs must meet to maintain their licenses.
In addition to passing the NBCE’s board exam, a DC must obtain a state license from the state where they wish to practice.
It may interest you to know that DCs are designated as physician-level providers in most states and with the federal Medicare program. Chiropractic services are available through:
- The Medicaid Program
- The US Department of Veterans’ Affairs
- The US Department of Defense
- The Federal Employees Health Benefits Program
- The Federal Workers’ Compensation program
- All states workers’ compensation programs
Chiropractic care is widely accepted as a method of treating a variety of ailments. In addition to providing treatment, DCs can refer patients to other health care practitioners when it is necessary.
Chiropractic training requirements are stringent and rigorous. To be board certified and licensed, Doctors of Chiropractic must complete thousands of hours of classroom and hands-on training to ensure that they are able to provide the best possible level of care to their patients.