How to Choose: Becoming a Doctor of Chiropractic or D.O.
How to Choose: Becoming a Doctor of Chiropractic or D.O.
Communications Staff

Your calling to become a doctor means it's up to you to decide which type of physician best fits your desire to help people live healthier lives. One of many questions that comes up in this discovery process is about becoming a doctor of chiropractic (D.C.) vs. becoming a doctor of osteopathy (D.O.) – physician designations that seem similar yet are different. Here's what you need to know.

How a Chiropractic Education is Different

An osteopathic physician's treatment focus is to positively affect the human body's nervous, circulatory, and lymphatic systems. Many osteopathic doctors also serve as physicians in fields such as family medicine, internal medicine, and pediatrics.

Originally, osteopathy was based on the humoral theory of disease, meaning that good health was the result of a balance between bodily liquids.

While osteopathy today incorporates some aspects of chiropractic-like adjustments of musculoskeletal structures, the typical osteopathic education is more like medical school education. D.O.s today use prescription medicine, surgery, and other generally accepted practices and procedures of medical doctors.

Benefits of Becoming a Doctor of Chiropractic


While the scope of a D.O.'s practice has gone away from its original premise, becoming a doctor of chiropractic means staying true to chiropractic's original philosophy.

The chiropractic approach represents an interrelated biological/psychological/social philosophy of health instead of a more restrictive biomedical one. A chiropractor's multi-dimensional approach to health is in alignment with the growth of multidisciplinary medical practices. These practices focus on providing the best possible care approaches for each patient and referring patients to specialists whenever conditions indicate.

A Chiropractic Education Delivers Multiple Ways to Help

In becoming a doctor of chiropractic, you're deciding to show patients there are multiple ways to optimize their health, including

  • Good nutrition
  • Constructive exercise
  • Stress management and lifestyle modifications
  • Proper spinal and extremity joint biomechanics.

As an aspiring doctor, choosing to be an M.D., D.O. or D.C. deserves intentional study and a lot of thought.

Perhaps no health care profession is better positioned for a coordinated, life-span long approach to patient health than chiropractic. Among the 4,200 hours of classroom, laboratory and clinical experience, doctors of chiropractic have more subject hours than M.D.s in basic and clinical sciences, anatomy/physiology, radiology, and orthopedics.

Even better, you'll find yourself getting hands-on experience as early as your first few semesters. Most chiropractic students complete their chiropractic education in less than 3.5 years.

Interested in Becoming a Doctor of Chiropractic?

Cleveland University-Kansas City (CUKC) is a private, nonprofit, health care focused university specializing in the chiropractic and health sciences. Our history in chiropractic education started in 1922, and today more than one out of every 10 chiropractors in the United States have earned a Doctor of Chiropractic degree from our College of Chiropractic. CUKC is the only chiropractic college still under the guidance of its founding family.

The 34-acre CUKC campus is in Overland Park, Kansas, a Kansas City area suburb of 190,000 people. Overland Park is recognized nationally for its livability, family friendliness, and affordability. Allhealthcare.com rates Kansas City among the top 25 cities for a health care career.

CUKC offers the Doctor of Chiropractic degree (3.3 years) and the concurrent B.S./Chiropractic degree (Doctor of Chiropractic) program that can reduce the amount of time needed to earn both the B.S. and D.C. degrees.

Learning about becoming a doctor of chiropractor starts with getting all the right information. Download a free copy of the ebook Your Complete Guide to the Chiropractic Profession today!

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