Understanding the Steps to Becoming a Chiropractor

Chiropractors offer many services that significantly improve their patients’ lives. It is necessary to meet many requirements before someone can begin working as a chiropractor.

A Chiropractor’s Role

Chiropractors are not medical doctors, but their work focuses on identifying and correcting problems with the musculoskeletal and nervous systems through various non-invasive techniques, including:

  • Spine manipulation and posture evaluation
  • Massage and acupuncture treatments
  • Exercise and diet recommendations
  • Lifestyle and preventative health counseling

Although chiropractors sometimes order X-rays to enhance treatment, they do not prescribe medication.

Earn a College Degree

The road to becoming a chiropractor usually starts with a Bachelor’s degree with a major in biology, chemistry or physics, and additional psychology coursework. Most chiropractic schools have specific course prerequisites that students must satisfy before applying to them.

Earn a Doctor of Chiropractic Degree

Earning a D.C. degree requires four years of study at an accredited chiropractic school. The first two years usually involve classroom lectures and lab sessions focusing on anatomy, biology, chemistry, and adjustment and evaluation techniques. The remaining years consist of hands-on training in clinics and allow candidates to practice adjustment and palpation techniques under a licensed chiropractor’s supervision. Students also learn to read lab reports and X-rays, make nutritional and lifestyle recommendations and diagnoses, and communicate with patients.

Pass the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners Exams

Passing scores on the four-part National Board of Chiropractic Examiners exam are necessary to qualify for a license. The first two parts, which students may take while still in school, demonstrate a knowledge of general and spinal anatomy, physiology, pathology, chemistry, microbiology, and an ability to diagnose and read X-ray images. The remaining parts, which individuals take after graduating, test how well they conduct clinical examinations, administer chiropractic techniques, and manage individual cases over a specific period.

Obtain a License

Chiropractors who pass the NBCE exams can apply for their professional licenses within their states. Some states require chiropractors to pass state-sponsored tests of their skills and knowledge of state laws. Standard license applications require proof of malpractice insurance, fingerprints, personal references, and fees. In-person interviews are usually necessary.

Choose a Specialty

Chiropractors with specialties, such as geriatrics, pediatrics, or sports injuries, require additional education to establish treatment niches that distinguish their practices and benefit their patients. Depending upon the specialty, additional training can take up to 500 hours.

Stay Current

State licensing boards expect chiropractors to keep abreast of the latest advances in their field to maintain their licenses. Attending workshops or seminars is an excellent way for chiropractors to educate themselves throughout their careers.

Contact a reputable chiropractic school to learn more about the education requirements for chiropractors. If you want to make an appointment, contact a chiropractor, like a chiropractor from AmeriWell Clinics, today.