Now that you’ve decided you want to be a chiropractor, you’re probably wondering what is needed to make this dream a reality. To become a chiropractor, one needs a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) degree from an accredited program, plus a state license, in order to practice.
Doctor of Chiropractic Admissions Requirements
In order to maintain accreditation, Chiropractic Schools will have set admission requirements. Part of these requirements includes prerequisite courses. For example, University of Bridgeport applicants need at least 90 undergraduate credits from a regionally accredited institution. Additionally, they need at least 24 credits in the physical/life sciences, half of which must have labs.
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.
Other common aspects of the admissions process include providing professional references (such as a professor or supervisor), writing a personal statement, and interviewing. Consider shadowing a chiropractor before applying and asking them to write one of your letters. This will show the admissions committee you have an idea of what the profession entails and are committed to learning more about the profession.
In your personal statement, you can reflect on why you want to go into this profession and why you’re applying to this specific school. Many schools will have a prompt for the personal statement and it’s worth asking the admissions team if there is one.
If the Chiropractic School requires an interview, don’t panic! This is a great chance for you to learn more about the program and see if it’s a good fit for you. Be prepared to answer questions such as: Why do you want to become a chiropractor? How do you handle academic rigor and stress? What attracted you to this specific college?
And have some questions prepared for the faculty interviewing you as well. Great questions to ask include: What allows students to succeed in your program? What sets this program apart from others? How do you see your program growing in the next 5 years?
Chiropractor Degree Requirements
It is vital you earn your Doctor of Chiropractic degree from a program accredited by the Council on Chiropractic Education so you will be able to practice.
How long the program takes to complete will depend on the program’s structure. For example, University of Bridgeport is the only semester-based school in the country and takes 4 years to complete. This is beneficial to students as it allows them to have their first two summers off. During this time, they can study for their boards, work, or shadow chiropractors.
In addition to graduating from an accredited Chiropractic program, students must pass the national boards through the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners. The boards consist of four parts plus the Physiotherapy examination. University of Bridgeport students are eligible to pass parts one and two of their boards after their 6th semester in the program. The remaining two parts can be taken after graduation. Students then send their scores and college transcripts to the state they wished to be licensed in.
Students have a wide range of opportunities available to them after graduation. Many students will take a job under an establish chiropractor until they are able to form their own practice. Similarly, students may take a job in an integrative health setting with other providers (such as physical therapists). This allows them to work collaboratively as part of a team. Students can also look for jobs in hospitals, with sports teams, and in research areas.
Some students may choose to do a residency after graduation. University of Bridgeport is one of four chiropractic schools in the country to partner with the VA facility for a chiropractic postgraduate residency program. This is a great opportunity for students who wish to start a career with the VA.