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 premedical 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 of 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 requirements. 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 when appropriate.
National Board of Chiropractic Examiners. “2005 Job Analysis of Chiropractic.” www.nbce.org
Coulter, Ian. “A comparative study of Chiropractic and Medical Education.” Alternative Therapies, Sept.
1998. Vol. 4, No. 5
Parker Foundation. “How Well Educated is Your Chiropractor?”
American Physical Therapy Association. “Physical Therapist Education Programs.” Published January
The Grisanti Report. www.drgrisanti.com/mddc.htm
American Chiropractic Association
1701 Clarendon Blvd., Arlington, VA 22209