Being excited about becoming a doctor of chiropractic makes a lot of sense – the opioid crisis has provided many lessons about depending too much on pharmaceutical-based healthcare. Getting into and through chiropractic college, however, isn’t easy. That’s why having a plan for success is essential.
The chiropractic college curriculum is fast-paced and intense. The challenges of that 3.5-year journey to a doctor of chiropractic (D.C.) degree sometimes come as a surprise to students who flew through undergraduate school with relatively little trouble.
When you realize chiropractors are designated as physician-level providers in most states, you realize how competitive admission to chiropractic college is. And it doesn’t get any easier after you’re accepted because packed into a 3.5-year curriculum are more than 4,200 clock hours of classes, instruction, lab time, and supervised internship experiences.
According to the Council of Chiropractic Education (CCE), the minimum entry requirement for chiropractic school admission is at least 90 hours of undergraduate study, typically focused on human biology, biology, pre-med, kinesiology, or exercise science/physiology. Most chiropractic students already have an undergraduate degree.
Of the 90 hours, the CCE expects at least 24 hours in subjects such as anatomy, physiology, and chemistry/organic chemistry. Other standards set by the CCE are a 3.00 cumulative GPA in their college courses and those life and physical sciences coursework should include substantive laboratory components.
As noted earlier, expect admission to chiropractic college to be competitive. One chiropractic and health sciences university whose graduates continually score in the top tier of the National Board of Chiropractic Education (NBCE) exams has an incoming student GPA average of 3.27.
Such rigorous expectations can be a bit scary. Still, like what sometimes happens with latecomers to medical school, those who’ve always dreamed of helping people live a healthier life can, and do, succeed in chiropractic college. You do, however, need to have the right attitude and plenty of determination.
Many doctors of chiropractic chose a chiropractic career after being injured themselves. Frustrated by traditional treatments, they found the answers to pain or injury they were looking for through chiropractic. (Read the story of Dr. Jon Petrick, for example.)
The chiropractic perspective sees health and well-being as an expression of biological, psychological, and social factors. Chiropractic philosophy emphasizes non-pharmaceutical practices, which can be a combination of
A doctor of chiropractic, like any other healthcare practitioner, will refer patients to medical doctors or other specialists when in the patient’s best interest.
Of course, academic preparation is always the best plan. While in high school, take Advanced Placement (AP) classes and summer science courses. Seek out a shadowing experience with a chiropractor in your area and see how they interact with patients.
Some students interested in the chiropractic profession apply as early as their first or second year of undergraduate study. Making this decision as early as possible will allow some “regrouping time” if there are setbacks along the way.
Not sure if you’ve had the needed science courses…or your college GPA below 3.00 due to unavoidable circumstances? You should know that some chiropractic colleges have alternative admissions plans that give determined, talented students the opportunity to succeed.
Motivated students who desire a chiropractic career should find out where they stand compared to successful chiropractic school applicants. You can do that by scheduling time with an admissions advisor. Let them be your guide to success.
And if you’re curious about how to choose a chiropractic college? Here’s a blog that outlines what you should look for.
Cleveland University-Kansas City (CUKC) is a private, nonprofit, healthcare-focused university specializing in the chiropractic and health sciences. The CUKC campus is in Overland Park, Kansas, a vibrant, Kansas City-area suburb of more than 190,000 residents. Overland Park continues to receive awards for livability, family friendliness, and affordability.
Our chiropractic history started in 1922. Today, more than 11,000 alumni have earned their Doctor of Chiropractic degrees from our College of Chiropractic.
Points of distinction of our D.C. program:
Find out why becoming a chiropractor is an excellent choice in today’s healthcare environment. When you connect with our academic advisors, you’ll get our free eBook: Your Complete Guide to the Chiropractic Profession.