Now that you’ve decided to peruse a rewarding career in Chiropractic care, you’re probably wondering 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 to help you meet your career goals.
What is a Chiropractor?
A Chiropractor is a type healthcare professional which treats a range of conditions. Chiropractors use holistic, evidence-based methods to help patients who present with a wide array of symptoms, such as joint pain. Chiropractors can work in a variety of healthcare settings such as hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and private practice.
How long does it take to become a Chiropractor?
When looking at the time line 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 important 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. However, 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 Chiropractic school. While there is no required major to be admitted to a Chiropractic school, many students choose to major in Health Sciences.
Length of Chiropractic School
Once you have your 90 credits or bachelor’s degree, you can start your Chiropractor schooling. 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. 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. In general, you can expect to be in Chiropractic school for three to four years.
What Courses Are Involved in Chiropractor School?
Students need at least 90 undergraduate credits in order to be eligible for Chiropractic school. Of the 90 undergraduate credits, at least 24 credits must be in the sciences (such as Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Anatomy) and half of the science courses must have laboratory components. All of the science courses must be earned with a C or higher.
The curriculum in a Chiropractic degree generally builds up on itself. Students will begin the program learning basic sciences, such as Anatomy and Physiology and Microbiology. These are graduate level courses and will be more in depth and challenging than if taken at the undergraduate level.
Then students will learn clinical sciences, such as radiology and adjustments. At University of Bridgeport, this occurs in students 2nd year. Students also have their first adjustment class at this time. This prepares them to move into their clinical services, where they are working on patients under the supervision of a licensed Chiropractor.
At University of Bridgeport, Chiropractic students begin their clinical services with a student clinic. During this clinic, they work on mock patients, usually students who are at an earlier stage in the program. This prepares them for their rotation in our on campus clinic which provides healthcare to the community. Next, students are required to complete at least one external rotation at a private practice, the Veterans Administration (VA) Hospital, or a Community Health Center. University of Bridgeport encourages students to do more than one external rotation, in a variety of settings, to have the best exposure to different fields of chiropractic care.
What Are the Most Important Chiropractor Degree Requirements?
It is hard to say what is the most important Chiropractor degree requirement is. Each stage of Chiropractor schooling is vital to providing a well-rounded education and create a successful provider. The basic sciences in the first year give students a foundation to build their knowledge. Students also learn how to research and stay up to date on current trends in the field. Learning adjustments is, of course, crucial to a Chiropractic degree. By having the science background, students can understand the mechanisms behind the adjustments they perform. The basic sciences combined with the clinical sciences allows students to be successful when they go into the clinical setting.
How Long to Become a Licensed Chiropractor?
Chiropractic National Board Exams
In addition to graduating from an accredited Chiropractor school, 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 six months. In order to be licensed, students need to send their scores and college transcripts to the state they wish to practice in.
In addition to earning your Chiropractic license, there are a number of other additional certifications and specializations you can seek. For example, The American Chiropractic Board of Sports Physicians certifies chiropractors to specialize in sports medicine. Sports Chiropractors work with both professional and recreational athletes. They help with both recovery from injuries and prevention methods. At University of Bridgeport, Chiropractic students have the chance to work with student athletes from our NCAA Division II Sports teams.
Specialty Chiropractor Degree Studies
In addition to pursuing additional certifications after graduating, some Chiropractic schools allow students to earn a dual degree. At University of Bridgeport, students can earn a dual degree in a Master’s in Human Nutrition or a Master’s in Acupuncture. Earning a dual degree can increase your marketability when applying for jobs after graduation and allow you to provide more services to your patients.
How Long to Become a Chiropractor?
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.
The Job Search
After graduation and licensure, students can look for jobs within private practice and hospitals. Some Chiropractic schools may post potential jobs on a board specific for their alumni. After gaining more experience, Chiropractic Doctors can even return to academia to teach.