You know what they say: if you want to get something done, make a list. The same is true when you want to know how to become a chiropractor. There’s a lot to do and understand, because becoming a doctor of chiropractic means you will helping to improve lives by treating and caring for people with musculoskeletal issues and injuries. It’s essential to approach your education ready to learn well before you arrive on campus.
Here are six steps to help you understand how to become a chiropractor.
1. Understand the Chiropractic Profession
Chiropractic is a healthcare profession that focuses on disorders of the musculoskeletal system and the nervous system. Graduates of chiropractic school have a drug-free approach to care.
Chiropractors can offer many treatment options in addition to offering chiropractic manual therapies.
They can recommend therapeutic or rehabilitative exercises, changes to posture, and nutritional or lifestyle changes to improve the overall health of their patients. The long-term health and wellness of the patient is the chiropractor’s primary objective.
Get a complete perspective of today’s chiropractic profession. One such report is Chiropractic: A Safe and Cost Effective Approach to Health.
2. Prepare to Apply for Admission
Learning how to become a chiropractor will demand a lot of your time and a strong commitment to excellence – in your coursework and the clinical care you’ll provide.
For a doctor of chiropractic degree program, plan to have a 3.0 cumulative GPA in college and a minimum of 90 semester hours of college courses in the following areas:
Students lacking 24-semester science credits may also take some courses online at their intended chiropractic college. (With today’s interactive technology, that includes classes like anatomy and physiology. Check out this blog about online courses for healthcare degrees.)
Arrange for a shadowing opportunity with a healthcare professional. You’ll see what a typical day as a doctor of chiropractic can be like.
3. Review and Use Student Services
Discovering how to become a chiropractor means doing whatever it takes to keep up with the fast pace of chiropractic school. To ensure you won’t fall behind, have a firm understanding of your options and don’t be afraid to use them.
Get details about these student services (and others) before you need them:
Make sure you understand the financial aid process. Some universities will provide a guide to getting aid and repayment options after graduation. An example of a free financial aid eBook can be found here.
4. Understanding the Coursework
Chiropractic colleges are on a year-round schedule, so the coursework goes by trimesters (3 per year). Following a trimester schedule makes it possible for students to complete chiropractic school in as little as 3.3 years.
Your chiropractic school recognizes your competency in chiropractic knowledge and skills by awarding you a clinician’s “white coat.” The white coat symbolizes a successful transition from chiropractic student to a chiropractic intern who can begin working with patients.
Examples of coursework:
Go to the university’s website and review the university’s catalog. The online catalog will describe the university’s mission, its goals for students, and provide full descriptions of classes in the degree plan.
5. NCBE Board Exams
Like other physician-level occupations, becoming a chiropractor requires passing the national tests. For chiropractors, it’s the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE) exams. The school’s chiropractic curriculum is designed to teach you everything necessary to pass these comprehensive tests.
Major parts of the NCBE exam:
Action Step: You can learn more about the NBCE exams here.
6. State License
Nearly all U.S. states require passing a state-administered exam in addition to the NBCE exam. Receiving a state license to practice chiropractic can include:
Think you know where you want to practice? You can get up-to-date information about state licensing standards by going to the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) website.
Cleveland University-Kansas City (CUKC) is a nonprofit, private, healthcare-focused university in Overland Park, Kansas, a suburb of the Kansas City metro. Founded in 1922, we’re nearing our 100th year of showing talented, motivated students how to become chiropractors.
Today, CUKC is the only chiropractic college still guided by the founding family. More than one of every 10 chiropractors in the U.S. has earned a doctor of chiropractic (D.C.) degree from our College of Chiropractic.
If a professional healthcare career in less than four years is for you, it’s time to investigate how to become a chiropractor. Download the free ebook, Your Complete Guide to the Chiropractic Profession, to learn more about chiropractic school and the benefits of the profession.