Now that you’ve decided to pursue the rewarding career in Chiropractic care, it can feel overwhelming on where to begin. Perhaps you’ve just started your undergraduate degree; or you graduated many years ago and are looking for a career change. Regardless of where you are, this article will outline the timeline of earning your Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) degree and help you meet your career goals.
How many years does it take to become a Chiropractor?
When looking at the timeline to become a Chiropractor, we have to look at two parts. The first part is the prerequisites in order to be admitted into a program. Chiropractic schools have set admission requirements in order to maintain their accreditation by the Council on Chiropractic Education. It is crucial to go to an accredited chiropractic program to insure you will be able to be licensed (learn what to look for in a chiropractic school here). Students need at least 90 undergraduate credits from a regionally accredited institution with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. In addition, students need at least 24 semester hours in the life and physical sciences, half of which must have labs, earned with a C or better.
It’s important to note, some states require chiropractors to have a Bachelor’s Degree in order to be licensed. You can consult www.fclb.org to determine the specific chiropractor education requirements for licensure in the state you plan to practice.
Therefore, students can expect to take 3-4 years of undergraduate courses prior to beginning their doctorate program. While there is no required major to be admitted to a Chiropractic school, many students opt to major in the Health Sciences.
Length of Chiropractic School
Once you have your 90 credits or bachelor’s degree, you can start your Chiropractic Doctorate degree. The timeline for completion depends on the school you attend. Most schools follow a trimester or quarterly schedule, meaning you can expect to be in class all year long. Programs following this schedule can take three to four years.
University of Bridgeport is proud to offer the only semester-based Chiropractic program in the country. This gives students their first two summers off to study for their boards, gain valuable shadowing hours, or work. Following our semester based curriculum, students complete the program in four years. During that time, students gain classroom knowledge and valuable clinical hours, both on and off campus.
Some chiropractic schools, like University of Bridgeport, are cohort based so you move through the program with the same group of students. This allows you to build connections with your fellow students which will help you not only within the program, but when you are looking towards your career goals after graduation.
How Long to Become a Licensed Chiropractor?
In addition to graduating from an accredited Chiropractic program, students must pass the national board exams through the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners. As required by Council on Chiropractic, schools must display their board completion rates. University of Bridgeport students must pass parts one and two of the boards in order to graduate. Students then take the remaining parts after graduation, generally within the next six months. In order to be licensed, students send their scores and college transcripts to the state they wish to practice in.
To summarize, students can expect to be in school for a total of 6-8 years, with 3-4 years of undergraduate studies and 3-4 years of the doctorate degree.