Chiropractic College and University Program Overview

Chiropractic postsecondary programs are administered under health departments at accredited colleges and universities.  Natural healing, sports therapy, spine health and the musculoskeletal system are areas covered in the programs.

Working as a Chiropractor

Work you will likely perform as a chiropractor includes examining clients’ spines to diagnose current or potential problems in the person’s physical health.  As a chiropractor you will also manipulate and align people’s spines, thereby reducing pain they feel in their back, neck, hips and feet.  You will also advise clients on steps they can take to improve their overall health including losing weight, exercising, drinking plenty of water and eating a healthy diet.

Going to an accredited college or university to complete online or classroom coursework to get a chiropractic license offers you a broad array of possibilities.  Some state chiropractic licensing boards require you to complete at least a chiropractic diploma program before you are licensed to work on clients.  Other states require you to get an Associate’s degree or Bachelor’s degree.  You are also generally required to maintain good moral character and graduate from a postsecondary school that is accredited by the Council on Chiropractic Education.  State licensing examinations are administered by the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE). 

Curriculum at College and University Chiropractic Programs

The specific curriculum you must take to graduate and sit for your chiropractic license are set by the particular college or university you attend.  However, coursework generally covers:

  • Anatomy
  • Physiology
  • Nutrition
  • Chiropractic research
  • Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Neurology
  • Diagnostic imaging
  • Human pathology
  • Introduction to psychology
  • Microbiology
  • Geriatrics
  • Orthopedics

Chiropractic Degrees

Classroom, lab and clinical work are involved in the learning process.  You can earn a chiropractic diploma in about two years.  Diplomas and certificates you can get are Diploma of Chiropractic Philosophic Standards, Certificate of Animal Chiropractic (that’s right; as a chiropractor you can also help relieve pain that animals experience) and the Certificate of Chiropractic Family Medicine.  Generally, you can complete undergraduate diplomas and certificates in one to two years.

Bachelor of Science in Human Biology, Bachelor of Science in Life Sciences, Master degree of Science in Clinical Anatomy, Master of Chiropractic and Doctorate degree of Chiropractic Medicine are undergraduate and graduate chiropractic degrees.  Some state licensing boards also require you to complete at least one continuing education program a year to maintain your license.  The International Chiropractic Sports Science Diploma and the International Chiropractic Pediatric Diploma are continuing education graduate diplomas and certificates you can get.  Certificate programs can require up to 180 hours to complete, while diploma programs take about 360 hours to finish. Some states also require you to score at least a 375 on the national licensing examination.

Furthermore, if you want to offer a chiropractor administrative support and perform her or his medical billing, fill out insurance forms, schedule patient appointments and maintain patient records you can get a Certificate of Chiropractic Assistant.  The 40-hour curriculum covers medical records, emergency procedures, communications, law and ethics, human body and x-ray processing.  Tuition for colleges online chiropractic assistant programs ranges from $350 to $500. Unlike a chiropractor, assistants are not required to get state licenses.

Skills and Benefits of Enrolling in Chiropractic Programs

Developing rewarding relationships with the people you help to recover from automobile accidents, spinal misalignment, injuries and illnesses is one of the greatest benefits that you will receive as a chiropractor.  However, working in the healthcare profession also provides you with other skills and benefits such as:

  • Eliminating client pain within as little as eight to 10 office visits
  • Preventing youth from developing long-term back injuries and discomfort
  • Reducing the costs of accident recovery
  • Diagnose and treat injuries using non-invasive techniques
  • Methods to advance chiropractic medicine by performing ongoing research in the field
  • Advancing holistic health and natural healing practices
Job Opportunities for Chiropractors

As of 2009, the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that approximately 44 percent of chiropractors are self-employed.  Mean annual salary for chiropractors was $94,454. Additionally, the Bureau expects jobs for chiropractors to grow by as much as 20 percent from 2008 through 2018.

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