Chiropractic traces its roots back to 1895 when D.D. Palmer administered the first chiropractic adjustment. It’s a hands-on, non-invasive, drug-free approach to care that has grown to include therapeutic exercises for rehabilitation, along with lifestyle, nutritional, and dietary counseling. You probably already know that you must have a specialized education to become a doctor of chiropractic, but here are five things about chiropractic school that may surprise you.
1. Becoming a Chiropractor Takes Time
Those unfamiliar with chiropractic school may think that you can simply earn a certificate in a year and just become a chiropractor. In fact, a doctor of chiropractic (D.C.) earns a degree that follows a multi-year educational path similar to other health care professionals.
The D.C. degree is among a limited group of what are called “professional” degrees, which include: medical doctors, osteopaths, dentists, veterinarians, optometrists and others.
Chiropractic students usually begin by earning an undergraduate degree before they move on to more than three years of additional education at one of the 15 accredited chiropractic institutions in the United States. The time may fluctuate based on your educational background, but in most cases, you can plan on more than seven years of post-secondary education to earn your chiropractic degree. By the time their education is complete, most chiropractors hold at least a bachelor’s degree and the Doctor of Chiropractic degree.
2. It’s an Intense Educational Experience
The paragraph above reveals how much time it takes to become a D.C., but you may be surprised to learn that the curriculum at a chiropractic school is very similar to that of medical school. It is an intensive program that immerses students in all things related to the human body. It’s comprised of more than 4,200 hours of class and lab work that includes biochemistry, anatomy, clinical neurology, skeletal radiology, diagnosis, chiropractic technique, and much more.
The one major academic difference between those pursuing a chiropractic degree versus a medical degree is that chiropractic does not have a pharmacology component. Unlike a medical doctor, a doctor of chiropractic does not do surgery, nor do they prescribe pain medication and other pharmaceuticals.
As a result, the in-depth study of pharmaceuticals is not necessary. This natural approach to health care is appealing to a growing number of patients who want to avoid the use of pills and injections for treatment.
3. Regulated for Excellence
You may not be aware that to ensure that educational standards remain at optimum levels, chiropractic schools are closely regulated by accrediting bodies just like other professional schools. Institutions offering medical, osteopathic, dental, veterinary, optometric and other professional degrees associated with health care, must all adhere to the regulations and guidelines set forth by those who sanction their programs.
Currently, all 50 states require doctors of chiropractic to have a degree from an accredited institution as part of the licensure process.
The Higher Learning Commission handles accreditation for many colleges and universities, and more specifically, chiropractic schools are awarded programmatic accreditation by The Council on Chiropractic Education. This accreditation is a positive thing for those seeking a chiropractic degree. It means chiropractic education is being monitored to ensure that it maintains a level of excellence that is consistent with other health education programs.
4. Permanent Professional Bond
Chiropractic school is a great place to make lifelong friends. You share a common bond with your classmates that puts you among an elite level of educated health care professionals. Central to that bond is your alma mater. You might not know that chiropractic institutions, like undergraduate schools, also have active alumni departments that assist alums after graduation.
For example, chiropractors are required to accumulate “Continuing Education Units,” or CEUs, each year to meet licensure requirements for their state. Alumni departments help coordinate events like Homecoming, where you can earn some of your annual CEUs in the company of old friends.
Alumni officials can also offer doctor referral information, news about campus events, practice development assistance and employment opportunities for alums. Their support can be invaluable to your professional development and is available for as long as you need it. It’s comforting to know that long after you earn your chiropractic degree, you can remain connected to your alma mater.
5. Making it Happen
If you want to attend chiropractic school but have fears about how to pay for it, you will be pleased to know that just like at undergraduate institutions, financial aid is also available for those seeking a chiropractic degree.
The U.S. Department of Education has a wealth of information online about eligibility, and how you can pursue additional monies to reach your career goals. Chiropractic schools have a Financial Aid Office that is available to help you research federal programs like student loans and the Federal Work-study program.
However, federal options are not the only way to receive help. Most chiropractic institutions have scholarships available that are funded by alumni or other benevolent donors. These can be a wonderful way to ease your financial burden while you are attending school.
There are also a variety of private foundations and other entities who donate money to institutions of higher learning. So, have no fear. The financial resources to earn your degree are numerous — you can do it!
Learn More at Cleveland University-Kansas City
Located in the Kansas City suburb of Overland Park, Kansas, CUKC is a nonprofit, private, healthcare-focused university that has been educating healthcare professionals since 1922.
Discover more about the chiropractic profession by downloading this FREE ebook: Your Complete Guide to the Chiropractic Profession. Or, get more information about how to earn your chiropractic degree at Cleveland University-Kansas City (CUKC).