Chiropractic Certification: How to Become a Chiropractor
There are approximately 10,000 chiropractic students in 18 nationally accredited, chiropractic programs across the United States.
A new set of 2,500 chiropractors enter the workforce every year. Are you ready to be one of them?
Read on for a complete outline of all the steps for how to become a chiropractor.
Earn a Bachelor’s Degree
Becoming a chiropractor requires you to first earn an undergraduate degree in most states.
But some states don’t require a bachelor’s degree for becoming a chiropractor. Check with your state board to find out what the requirements are for your state.
It’s a good idea to get a Bachelor’s degree in biology, chemistry or physics. But any bachelor’s degree is acceptable. Yet, you must meet the prerequisites of the chiropractic college you plan to attend.
Often, prerequisite courses include chemistry, physics, and biology. Courses in sociology, communication, and business would also be helpful to you down the road.
Attend a Chiropractic College
Once you’ve successfully earned a Bachelor’s degree, the next step in your chiropractic career path is to attend chiropractic college.
Chiropractic educational requirements dictate that you must get a degree from an accredited college to earn your Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) degree.
The D.C. degree is a four-year program. The D.C. program is intensive. Be prepared to take courses and labs on all sorts of topics.
You will likely also have a chance to take an internship at a chiropractic clinic. Here you will get hands-on experience to practice your diagnostic skills and manipulations.
What You’ll Learn in Chiropractic Classes
Becoming a chiropractor means that you need a deep knowledge base in order to properly treat patients holistically. When you work with patients, you won’t just look at the problem spot, but rather look at the person as a whole to see the big picture.
Your chiropractic classes go far beyond learning how to align spines. You will also learn organic chemistry, physiology and how the body and brain work at the microscopic level.
A big part of your learning will be how the human body integrates with other body systems.
The first thing you’ll learn in your study of chiropractic is how to examine the body using your hands. This is called palpatation.
Then, you will learn how to adjust the mid-back, lower back as well as cervical adjusting.
Physics will form a vital part of your chiropractic career path. But it’s no longer theoretical. In your practice, you will need to learn how much tension lifting x amount of pounds will put on the back.
Getting your D.C. will also include courses on nutrition, radiology, and reading medical results such as blood tests.
When you begin work as a chiropractor, you will have patients who come to you with their doctor’s test results. You’ll need to understand the information in order to treat the causes.
Your chiropractic educational requirements include working on cadavers. You will be required to identify all the parts of a body. And you will need to name the muscle, the nerve and the insertion point of that body part.
This is an important part of your education. If you are squeamish you will need to quickly overcome it in order to absorb the information you need to be successful in these labs.
A large component of the steps to becoming a chiropractor is your clinical training. During your third year of your D.C. program, you will learn physical therapy, midwifery as well as minor surgery.
Then, in year four you will participate in an outpatient clinic working with real patients. You will be under the supervision of a chiropractor as you work through your clinical requirements.
In order to complete your chiropractic clinical training, you will need to take a certain number of x-rays. You’ll need to see a certain amount of patients with specific symptoms.
This hands-on training will be invaluable in giving you the experience of working with a variety of patients. Plus, you’ll have the opportunity to learn from the expertise of a practicing chiropractor.
Getting Your Chiropractor Licence
The final step in your chiropractic career path is becoming licensed. But this doesn’t happen after you complete your degree.
In fact, you’ll sit for Part I of an exam by the National National Board of Chiropractic Examiners during year two of your D.C.
Then you will take part II during year 3 of your program.
Finally, you will write the final two parts shortly after you graduate. Usually within 9 months.
Once you pass the national board exams, you will need to check with your state board to see if there are any other requirements.
Continuing Education to Stay Licensed
Many state boards require chiropractors to take continuing education as part of their chiropractic certification requirements.
You may choose to attend conferences, workshops or other classes to stay abreast of the latest developments in chiropractic medicine.
Your state board will determine how many hours of continuing education you’ll need to keep your license.
Once you have your D.C. you may want to study another field in order to add more services to your practice. For example, alternative medicine or massage therapy are common options. You are now licensed to help treat and relieve back pain for people.
You can also practise in your nearest clinic to continue to get hands on experiences. Florida has many walk in clinics for patients that have spinal injury.
Final Word on How to Become a Chiropractor
Thanks for reading. We hope this overview on how to become a chiropractor helps you to understand the steps to becoming a chiropractor.
Though it takes years of schooling and continuing education, becoming a chiropractor is a rewarding and enriching career.