Educational requirements for doctors of chiropractic are among the most stringent of any of the health care professions.
The typical applicant at a chiropractic college has already acquired
nearly four years of pre-medical undergraduate college education,
including courses in biology, inorganic and organic chemistry, physics,
psychology and related lab work. Once accepted into an accredited chiropractic college,
the requirements become even more demanding — four to five academic
years of professional study are the standard. Because of the hands-on
nature of chiropractic, and the intricate adjusting techniques, a
significant portion of time is spent in clinical training.
Doctors of chiropractic — who are licensed to practice in all 50
states, the District of Columbia, and in many nations around the world —
undergo a rigorous education in the healing sciences, similar to that
of medical doctors. In some areas, such as anatomy, physiology, and
rehabilitation, they receive more intensive education than most medical
doctors or physical therapists.
Like other primary health care doctors, chiropractic students spend a
significant portion of their curriculum studying clinical subjects
related to evaluating and caring for patients. Typically, as part of
their professional training, they must complete a minimum of a one-year
clinical-based program dealing with actual patient care. In total, the
curriculum includes a minimum of 4,200 hours of classroom, laboratory
and clinical experience. The course of study is approved by an
accrediting agency which is fully recognized by the U.S. Department of
Education. This has been the case for more than 25 years.
Before they are allowed to practice, doctors of chiropractic must pass
national board examinations and become state-licensed. Chiropractic
colleges also offer post-graduate continuing education programs in
specialty fields ranging from sports injuries and occupational health to
orthopedics and neurology. These programs allow chiropractors to
specialize in a healthcare discipline or meet state re-licensure
This extensive education prepares doctors of chiropractic to diagnose
health care problems, treat the problems when they are within their
scope of practice and refer patients to other health care practitioners
References1- Meeker W, Haldeman H. Chiropractic: A Profession at the Crossroads of Mainstream and Alternative Medicine.
Annals of Internal Medicine 2002, Vol 136, No 3.2- American Physical Therapy Association. 2005-2006 Fact Sheet, Physical Therapist Education Programs. January 2007.