Go ahead, admit it. You know a health-focused career is for you – you have a desire to care for people and become their connection to better health over their lifetime. Plus, you know someone who was able to recover from a painful injury or condition thanks to a chiropractor’s emphasis on non-drug treatments…and that got your attention. So, what’s it like attending a chiropractic college?
Chiropractic College: A Comprehensive Patient Care Curriculum
Here’s the first thing to know: the education you’ll receive at a chiropractic college is quite similar to medical school education. Many of the subjects covered are the same, although the number of hours dedicated to specific subjects varies.
For example, doctor of chiropractic students typically have more training in the basic sciences, anatomy, and physiology; med students do more training in public health subjects. (A summary of how chiropractors approach healthcare can be found in this blog: “The 6 Cs of Becoming a Chiropractor.)
Like med school, many chiropractic college students already have an undergraduate degree. Most chiropractic institutions accept students with at least three years of college-level courses – 90 credit hours. Often there is the expectation of higher-level life science, math, and chemistry coursework.
A Look Inside the Doctor of Chiropractic Coursework
The typical chiropractic college is set up for a year-round trimester schedule, which results in a Doctor of Chiropractic degree in less than three and one-half years. By the time a student graduates, they will also have up to two years of clinical experience – no residency requirement after they graduate.
Of course, every chiropractic college will have its differences. Still, looking at what the chiropractic coursework normally covers, it’s easy to see how chiropractic classes develop a comprehensive healthcare education. Doctors of chiropractic can serve as primary care providers.
An overview of subjects covered in chiropractic college:
Expect courses in chiropractic philosophy, history of chiropractic, basic courses in anatomy and spinal anatomy, plus histology (examining the microscopic anatomy of biological tissues), cell physiology, and biochemistry. Students are also introduced to chiropractic techniques.
You’ll explore all aspects of anatomy, plus cardiovascular/pulmonary physiology and immunology. You’ll likely have a biochemistry class focusing on digestion and intermediary metabolism and examining the workings of the healthcare system.
Other subjects include nutrition, microbiology/bacteriology, and a deeper dive into chiropractors’ hands-on techniques.
Here, anatomy gets a lot of detailed attention. Students expand their knowledge of microbiology topics, plus continue learning and refining techniques used to carry out the chiropractic philosophy.
Fifth-semester subjects for a chiropractic college might include a physiology lab, studying physical diagnosis, and get an introduction to what they’ll do in upcoming clinical experiences.
Classes in these trimesters include clinical laboratory diagnosis, soft-tissue techniques, neuromusculoskeletal diagnosis, skeletal radiology, and additional advanced chiropractic techniques.
In the seventh trimester, students start their student clinic experience as chiropractic interns. In addition, they learn X-ray procedures, soft-tissue radiology, and study patient-focused case management.
At this point, students begin their outpatient clinic experience under the management of a faculty clinician who is a licensed doctor of chiropractic. Class subjects will include clinical nutrition, differential diagnosis, advanced imaging methods, and time studying pediatrics, geriatric and other topics.
The 9th trimester typically involves learning about operating a chiropractic business, studying the ethics of working in healthcare, and topics in communicating effectively with the public and other healthcare professionals.
Here, chiropractic students focus on completing their internship with the required number of practice hours with patients in the chiropractic college’s outpatient clinic – typically about 200 adjustments.
Next Steps: NBCE Exam, State Licensing
As students progress through chiropractic college, they take various parts of what’s called the “Board exams.” This term refers to the four parts of an exam administered by the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE). Here’s what is covered:
NBCE Exam scores are made public to licensing authorities. In the U.S., all 50 states either accept or require candidates to pass Parts I, II, III, and IV for state licensure as a Doctor of Chiropractic.
The Chiropractic College at Cleveland University-Kansas City
Cleveland University-Kansas City (CUKC) is a nonprofit, private, healthcare-focused university in Overland Park, Kansas, a Kansas City area suburb of 190,000 people. Founded in 1922, our College of Chiropractic is a pioneer in chiropractic education. There are more than 11,000 alumni in the chiropractic profession. Overland Park is recognized for its livability, family friendliness, and affordability.
CUKC also offers a B.S. in Human Biology degree, tailor-made for those who plan to pursue our Doctor of Chiropractic degree. Some CUKC students choose the concurrent B.S./D.C. (Doctor of Chiropractic) program to reduce the amount of time in school.
Get more information on our chiropractic college education by requesting information here. Be sure to click on the button below for the FREE eBook: Your Complete Guide to the Chiropractic Profession.