Most complex topics defy easy yes and no answers. When considering healthcare professions, you might ask, “Are chiropractors doctors?” The answer is “yes” when you know the profession’s facts, the benefits chiropractic patients get, what research says about chiropractic care, and the next-level education chiropractors receive.
For many, the term doctor refers to a person who holds a medical doctor (M.D.) degree, which means med school, an internship, a residency, and a license. Because chiropractors do not have an M.D. degree, they aren’t medical doctors. They are doctors of chiropractic care – professionals who care about people and are devoted to providing non-invasive, personalized care and treatment.
Chiropractors study many of the same subjects and M.D.s, such as anatomy, physiology, microbiology, radiology, orthopedics, etc. The number of contact hours (classes, labs, patient experience time) for chiropractic students is similar to medical school students, with more than 4,500 hours.
Chiropractors hold a Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) degree from an institution accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, the same organization that issues accreditation for medical schools. By graduating with their Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) degree, chiropractic students will have passed all parts of the rigorous National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE) Exam.
Medical doctors and doctors of chiropractic are also similar because graduates in both M.D. and D.C. schools have:
Chiropractors are designated as physician-level providers in most state and federal Medicare programs. The essential services chiropractors provide are also available in national health delivery systems, including those administered by Medicaid, the U.S. Departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense, the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, Federal Workers’ Compensation, and all state workers’ compensation programs.
A doctor of chiropractic degree focuses on diagnosing and preventing disorders of the spine and other parts of the musculoskeletal system. Doctors of chiropractic study spinal anatomy in-depth and learn to diagnose neuromusculoskeletal conditions. This depth of analysis is more evidence that chiropractors are doctors.
Chiropractic students, along with patient care experience through internships or at area treatment facilities, do additional work in labs, independent and group study projects, and research studies. As chiropractic students gain knowledge and skills, they advance from a student clinic to treating patients in a public clinic supervised by a licensed clinician.
Ongoing evidence-based research supports the role of chiropractic care in meeting patient care expectations and helping to lower healthcare costs.
Here are a few recent studies and meta-analyses that support the role of chiropractic care:
To apply for chiropractic college, students have an undergraduate (bachelor’s) degree or at least 90 semester hours of college courses in the following areas:
Students are expected to have a 3.00 or higher cumulative grade point average. For example, one chiropractic college states the average GPA of incoming students is 3.27. Selecting chiropractic college is competitive, so the higher a GPA is, the better.
Cleveland University-Kansas City (CUKC) is a national leader in chiropractic and health sciences education. More than one in every 10 chiropractors in the U.S. received a Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) degree from our College of Chiropractic.
Points of distinction of our D.C. program:
CUKC offers a B.S. in Human Biology that feeds into the chiropractic program and a B.S./D.C. degree program that reduces the total time in school from high school to a professional degree.
Learn more about our Doctor of Chiropractic degree by contacting an admissions advisor. You’ll also want our free eBook: Your Complete Guide to the Chiropractic Profession.