Deciding which chiropractic college to attend can feel like an accomplishment in and of itself. As you compare colleges in the US to one another, it’s important to consider how the best chiropractic colleges will prepare you for your future career and practice.
Each college has its nuances, but you can begin by looking at how the chiropractic programs you’re considering will prepare you for the National Chiropractic Board of Examinations (NCBE). These national exams gauge the skills and competency of chiropractic students who are preparing to enter the profession and are designed to be tough.
There are four parts to the NBCE which are administered at different times throughout your chiropractic education. While not every state requires chiropractors to pass all of these national exams, many states do. In fact, before you begin your chiropractic program it makes sense to find out the state requirements for chiropractors where you plan to practice patient care. This knowledge will help you to determine what NBCE scores you need to receive to practice in your ideal location. Regardless of whether or not the state you plan to practice in after graduation requires a specific score on the NBCE board exams or not, you’ll want to do your best to ace these tests.
Passing each part of the NBCE with flying colors doesn’t just give you a score to feel good about; it helps to build your confidence as you embark on your new health care career. How well you do on the NBCE exams will depend on several factors including:
At the best chiropractic colleges, your instructors will teach beyond the tests, national board exams, and finals. They’ll aim to provide you with a strong foundational understanding of chiropractic that goes past memorization to critical thinking and subject mastery and allows you to apply what you’ve learned appropriately in within new situations and context.
To find out how instructors work with students at the top chiropractic colleges, reach out to students and teachers to find out how they define understanding of subject matter. Answers about how well their students pass the classes are fine, but what you’re really looking for are answers that show that teachers expect students to demonstrate their learning in real life applications. Look for responses that reveal students and educators are having engaging conversations about the field of chiropractic.
Clinical and Classroom Experiences
If you’re wondering what increases your odds of having engaging student and teacher conversations, consider class size. Smaller class sizes often give you the opportunity to get to know your peers and professors as individuals. For example, at Cleveland University-Kansas City (CUKC), classes on average have 13 students for each instructor.
It’s hard to hide in a small class, and that’s a good thing. You’ll need to actively participate in class conversations, answer questions, and get involved in the classroom experiences. The same goes for your clinical experiences. In smaller classes, you’ll have more opportunities to get individual attention and instruction as you practice your technique or work with a dissection team in anatomy class. The more hands on experiences and conversations you have as a chiropractic student, the more opportunity you have to prepare to graduate and to pass each of part of the NBCE.
Access and Use of Available Resources
Use all that you’ve got. The top chiropractic schools have plenty of student resources available for their students. From special science labs, like the Force Sensing Table at CUKC, to on campus and online libraries, resources are rich and plentiful. The best chiropractic colleges not only have the resources, they also let their students use them. You might consider asking:
Using all the tools available to you will allow you to prepare for the future of your chiropractic career. The more tools you have access to as a student, the more you opportunity you’ll have to evaluate those tools and determine what resources you will rely upon as you grow and expand your practice. These resources also help expand your breadth of understanding and prepare you to earn your doctor of chiropractic degree and the NBCE.
Making Your Decision
As you go about making your decision among the best chiropractic schools, remember to compare numbers. For example, Cleveland University-Kansas City (CUKC) graduates consistently outpace the national average for pass rates on the national board exams required in most states to become licensed chiropractors. From 2013 through 2016 alone, 94% of all CUKC graduates passed all parts of the NBCE Exams within the six months following graduation. Comparing pass rates on the NBCE gives you the chance to compare all of your choices on a common criteria, which can help with the decision making process.
To learn more about CUKC and to compare the top chiropractic colleges, contact our admissions advisors today!