It’s common knowledge that just because some people say something is true doesn’t make it so. For example, there’s still plenty of misinformation about earning a doctor of chiropractic degree. If you’re seeking a healthcare career with a high-level patient focus, it’s important to get the facts about becoming a chiropractor.
Chiropractic Objective: Preserve and Restore Health and Wellness
The chiropractic approach means viewing health and wellness from a whole-person perspective, considering biological, psychological, and sociological factors. Students pursuing a doctor of chiropractic degree learn about the body’s ability to self-regulate, and emphasizes proper musculoskeletal function, nutrition and dietary changes, and rehabilitative exercises.
Doctor of Chiropractic = A Highly-skilled Healthcare Professional
1. What You Thought: “Doctors of Chiropractic have a limited professional education.”
Chiropractic Reality: The education a chiropractic student undertakes is quite similar to medical school. Chiropractic students complete more than 4,200 hours of classes, lab work, and patient care instruction.
The chiropractic curriculum compares to medical school, including training in anatomy and physiology, and in the hours devoted to basic sciences and clinical sciences. While in school, chiropractic students complete two years of hands-on clinical experience.
Most chiropractic colleges use a tri-semester system (three semesters per year), enabling the majority of Doctor of Chiropractic degree students to complete chiropractic college in 3.3 years after admission.
(Note: there’s a minimum of 90 college hours required for admission to a chiropractic college. Most students already have a bachelor’s degree, often in biology, human biology, or other health science degree.
Interestingly, many doctor of chiropractic degree-seekers choose to attend a chiropractic college because they’ve experienced the benefits of chiropractic treatments first-hand and want to try conservative approaches to health and wellness.
Some students turn to a doctor of chiropractic degree after not feeling satisfied with other jobs in healthcare or a sciences field. These students came to realize they wanted more time interacting with patients and helping their communities achieve better health outcomes.
2. What You Thought: “Doctors of Chiropractic and medical doctors don’t work with each other.”
Chiropractic Reality: Chiropractors often interact with medical doctors, physical therapists, and other healthcare specialists.
In fact, those with a doctor of chiropractic degree are long-time participants in the emergence of a multidisciplinary care approach. Research shows that coordinated care by specialists is leading the way to reducing healthcare costs and producing better care for patients over their lifetime.
The 2019 article “U.S. Health Care Continues Move Toward Multidisciplinary Medicine” in Chiropractic Economics phrases it this way: “There is an obvious need in the United States to improve the evaluation and management of patients with chronic pain, and chiropractic services can be an integral part of the solution.”
As noted in Spinal Health, chiropractors will refer patients to other practitioners or emergency care when the medical conditions call for them.
3. What You Thought: “Sure, there are problems regarding pharmaceutical overuse. Still, there isn’t evidence-based research for what chiropractors do.”
Chiropractic Reality: Recent evidence-based research continues to validate chiropractic care. Since 2012, at least four major medical journals came out with articles discussing the benefits of chiropractic treatments for back and neck pain: the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), Spine, Annals of Internal Medicine, and the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics.
In 2017, the American College of Physicians (ACP) issued clinical recommendations for first choosing conservative, noninvasive treatments, including chiropractic assessment, procedures, and treatments. Since 2015, the Joint Commission, which accredits more than 20,000 healthcare systems in the U.S., has included chiropractic to its standards for pain management.
4. What You Thought: “People can’t go to a chiropractor without a referral.”
Chiropractic Reality: Doctors of chiropractic have the designation as physician-level providers in the U.S., meaning referrals are not required. About 85% of healthcare plans cover essential services by D.C.s., along with federal healthcare delivery systems. This coverage includes Medicaid, Veterans Affairs, the Department of Defense, Federal Employees Health Benefits, and state workers’ compensation programs.
The Doctor of Chiropractic Degree at Cleveland University-Kansas City (CUKC)
Cleveland University-Kansas City (CUKC) is a nonprofit, private, healthcare-focused university in Overland Park, Kan., a suburb of the Kansas City metro. Founded in 1922, the CUKC College of Chiropractic continues to be a pioneer in chiropractic education. There are more than 11,000 of our alumni serving communities large and small throughout the U.S.
CUKC is the first U.S. chiropractic college to have two Force Sensing Table Technology (FSTT) units in the adjusting laboratory on campus. FSTT™ improves students’ mastery of effective adjustment techniques by displaying and recording the amount of adjusting force.
Our students continue to score in the highest tier of the National Board of Chiropractic Examination (NBCE) exams year after year.
CUKC Doctor of Chiropractic degree students typically earn their D.C. degrees in 3.3 years. Other CUKC students shorten their total time in college by earning their undergraduate degree (B.S. in Human Biology) and D.C. degrees at CUKC through our concurrent B.S./D.C. program.
Are you interested in the details of a chiropractic college education? Check out this “5 Surprising Things You’ll Like About Chiropractic School” blog, and click here now for the FREE eBook: Your Complete Guide to the Chiropractic Profession.