Congratulations on the decision to become a doctor of chiropractic. Chiropractors working in communities large and small will tell you they love the benefits of this healthcare profession. Still, there are other decisions, like how to choose a chiropractic college from more than a dozen options. What criteria do you use to evaluate them? (Spoiler: There’s a head start list coming your way next.)
1. Know what you need to succeed.
Your academic transcripts must show that you can succeed in a Doctor of Chiropractic degree program – and a chiropractic college curriculum is as rigorous as a med school.
Here are some standard admission requirements for chiropractic colleges:
The better chiropractic colleges also will have in-class or online classes (preferably both). If your academic background is a little short of these standards, don’t give up. A desire to learn and the discipline to apply yourself help tremendously. The best idea is to contact an admissions advisor to show how you can get from where you are to where you want to be.
2. Find out how a chiropractic college prepares you for the business of chiropractic.
One of the most appealing things about becoming a chiropractor is the ability to own your business. Some graduates will work as an associate first. Still, more than 50% of those who earn a doctor of chiropractic degree will open a practice, either by themselves or with other chiropractors.
Either way, you’ll get the opportunity to live and work in any U.S. state and many other countries. The chance to be the boss draws many to the profession. You’re in control of your work hours, so you can spend more time caring for patients. You can choose a chiropractic specialty or set up a general practice.
3. Be in sync with the chiropractic college philosophy.
Evaluate the coursework for comprehensiveness. You’ll want to see a chiropractic teaching philosophy that’s consistent with the Association of Chiropractic Colleges (ACC) Scope and Practice:
4. Evaluate the spectrum of student services.
An array of student services designed to ensure the health, well-being, and academic success of students is a top-tier priority. A campus tour or an official visit event are ideal ways to explore this. Examples of student-focused services should include:
5. Know completion rates, NBCE Board Scores, and other quality indicators.
Colleges should be upfront about key performance indicators – KPIs:
These statistics should be stated clearly, and usually are available on the chiropractic college’s website. NBCE scores are often expressed as a five-year average. Completion rates refer to the percentage of chiropractic students who graduate from an academic program.
A 12:1 or lower student-to-teacher ratio is considered a reliable standard. Most chiropractic colleges have class starts in the fall, summer, and spring. The fall class is usually the largest, so be sure to check on that one.
6. Ask about a concurrent B.S./D.C. degree plan.
A concurrent B.S./D.C. program option is a decided advantage. It’s best for students who are highly disciplined learners, but it does allow eligible students to pursue two degrees at the same time.
This option means that toward the end of the chiropractic college’s bachelor of science degree program (usually a B.S. in Human Biology/Biology), students take specific upper-level B.S. courses that also count toward their first-year chiropractic degree requirements.
The bachelor’s degree plan with a doctor of chiropractic degree in a concurrent program means you can reduce the total time in school by up to a year.
7. Review the pros and cons of the college’s location.
Of course, a college’s philosophy and curriculum are important but don’t discount the advantages of where the school is in relation to other places and resources. Location aspects to consider:
Cleveland University-Kansas City (CUKC) is a private, nonprofit, chiropractic and health sciences university located in Overland Park, Kansas, an award-winning city of nearly 190,000 people within the Kansas City metropolitan area.
The University’s College of Chiropractic has been a national leader since 1922 and has more than 11,500 graduates. CUKC also has multiple Force Sensing Tables and other teaching technology in its on-campus Technique Simulation Lab.