What are the educational requirements for chiropractors? Have you wondered what type of education your chiropractor receives? Why are they referred to as “doctor” as a part of their degree? While the requirements for chiropractors early in the profession were less, most people are surprised to learn how involved the educational requirements for chiropractors have become.
Chiropractors must complete at least 2 years of prerequisite studies prior to enrolling in chiropractic college, but most do complete 4-year degrees. Some States do require that a bachelor’s degree is completed prior to chiropractic college in order to practice in that State following graduation.
Students considered “pre-chiropractic” will complete degrees in biology, kinesiology, or other sciences as this has the most overlap in the the pre-chiropractic college requirements and will have classes that will help once the student actually goes to chiropractic school.
The two-year pre-requisites are typically the same as a “pre-med” program, which includes biology, chemistry, and physics in addition to the basic studies requirements. These are the building blocks for the types of classes students can expect to see in chiropractic school and will provide a good base of science knowledge.
Chiropractic college is a 4-year program, of which many chiropractors will complete in less time by going year-round instead of taking summers off between semesters. The studies in are heavy in basic sciences the first 4 semesters, followed by much more study in the area of diagnosing conditions and chiropractic adjusting technique.
The training does include a student internship program, followed by an internship program where the chiropractor-to-be must treat the public with minimums required as to the number of adjustments, x-rays, and laboratory studies.
Specific educational requirements for chiropractors are typically comprised of the following:
- 4 years of training to be a doctor of chiropractic with 2 years of basic sciences are required followed by the need for a successful completion of National Boards, Part 1
- The next 2 years of chiropractic training include the clinical sciences after which successful completion of Part 2 of the National Boards is required.
- Part 3 of the National Boards chiropractic training that is necessary if the chiropractor plans to use physiotherapy modalities in practice.
- Part 4 tests three practical skill areas, including: Diagnostic imaging (x-ray), chiropractic technique, and case management.
The length of study combined with being able to diagnose and refer conditions to the appropriate provider is the criteria for achieving the “Dr.” status as a part of their training. Without this training, chiropractors would be required to have all patients referred to them by a health care provider that can diagnose their condition.
Each year, your chiropractor is also required to complete at least 16 hours of continuing education studies, which must include ethics and risk management as a part of the curriculum.
What are advanced educational requirements for chiropractors?
Chiropractors can achieve advanced certifications in areas such as orthopedics, pediatrics, radiology, sports, neurology, and nutrition. These advanced certifications do not directly translate into additional income for the practicing chiropractor, but they can lead to a practice built around the types of patients the doctor prefers to see.
For example, all chiropractors can treat prenatal and pediatric patients, but many do not feel as comfortable until they receive additional training and certifications. This may also put the patient at ease when they find a “specialist” that can focus on their area of concern.
Not all chiropractors decide to go through formal certification to feel comfortable treating these types of patients. On a regular basis, chiropractic conventions and additional training is available to learn new techniques, advanced techniques, training specific to different conditions, and training specific to different types of patients.