chiropractic educational requirements

What Degree is Needed to be a Chiropractor?

Each healthcare specialist has a unique and individualized educational journey that leads to their current career path and practicing in their chosen field.

Chiropractors are no different. Each chiropractor must fulfill a variety of chiropractic educational requirements and licensure requirements before entering this growing, in-demand, and rewarding profession.

These requirements typically include a Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) degree and being licensed in the state a candidate wishes to practice. But what else goes into a chiropractor’s education?

Let’s discuss and explore chiropractic education requirements to become a chiropractor to determine if this career path will suit you.

What is a Chiropractor?

A chiropractor is a trained, skilled, and licensed health professional who helps and treats patients with disorders and issues of the bones, nerves, muscles, ligaments, cartilage, and nervous system through non-invasive, personalized measures and care.

While they do not earn a medical doctor (MD) degree and cannot write prescriptions, chiropractors are doctors of chiropractic medicine. As physicians, they diagnose and treat musculoskeletal conditions.

Chiropractors use massage therapy, rehabilitative exercises, electrical muscle stimulations, braces, heat and cold therapy, spinal adjustments, and manipulations to heal and ease discomfort for patients experiencing the following symptoms and conditions:

  • Lower back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Pelvic pain
  • Arm and shoulder pain
  • Leg and hip pain
  • Whiplash-related conditions
  • Headaches


Did you know that UB Doctor of Chiropractic students can gain real-world experience treating real patients in our on-campus Chiropractic Clinic? Learn more today!


What Degree Do Chiropractors Need?

Obtaining a Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) degree from an accredited chiropractic degree program by the Council of Chiropractic Education ensures you can practice as a chiropractor.

Step #1: Apply and Enroll in a Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) Degree Program

A chiropractic degree is often earned after completing a bachelor’s degree after, or in some cases and programs like University of Bridgeport’s Chiropractic program, after obtaining a certain number of undergraduate credits from a regionally accredited institution.

These undergraduate degrees or credits generally focus on the sciences, with biology, chemistry, psychology, and physics classes. Some students also elect to major in pre-med, biology, health science, or exercise science. Remember that some states require a bachelor’s degree to become licensed as a chiropractor, so research what your state requires.

Admission and prerequisite requirements vary depending on the program, college, or university. For example, at University of Bridgeport, our Doctor of Chiropractic students must have:

  • Bachelor’s degree or a minimum of ninety credits completed
  • Cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher within the best ninety credits
  • At minimum twenty-four credits in the physical and life sciences, with a C or better (half of which must contain labs)
  • Application
  • Official transcripts from all schools attended
  • One letter of recommendation from a healthcare practitioner
  • 250-500 word personal statement

Step #2: Complete a Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) Program

Once enrolled, it’s time to complete all chiropractor education requirements. The time it takes to complete one’s chiropractic educational requirements largely depends on the program and the student. Most students should expect to take three to four years, with many schools following a trimester or quarterly schedule.

Notably, University of Bridgeport is the only school to operate on a semester schedule, providing students with time off in the summer to study for boards, work, and gain valuable experience shadowing professional chiropractors.

A chiropractor’s education curriculum generally builds upon itself. Students start their first year with courses in the basic sciences, like anatomy and physiology, microbiology, and chiropractic principles. Then, in the second year, they move on to in-depth and challenging courses in chiropractic procedures, pathology, clinical orthopedics, and research methods.

The third and fourth years prepare students for work in clinical services, often in student clinics on campus, where they work directly with patients or fellow chiropractic students under the supervision of a licensed chiropractor. Chiropractor education programs will also require students to complete external clinical rotations in private practices, Veterans Administration (VA) hospitals, and community health centers to gain as much exposure to the field of chiropractic care as possible.

By combining the basic sciences with clinical sciences, Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) programs enable students to be successful whether working as part of a team or self-employed in a private practice.

Step #3: Pass Boards and Obtain Licensure

In addition to completing a Chiropractic program, candidates must pass the four-part national board exams through the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE). To become licensed, graduates must send their scores and college transcripts to the state they wish to practice in.

Students should also check their desired state’s chiropractor requirements, as some states have additional and specific license and certification requirements.

Step 4: Start Your Career as a Chiropractor

Upon obtaining a Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) degree and passing the board exams, candidates can begin their exciting career as a chiropractor and pursue numerous career opportunities, such as:

  • Solo or group practitioner
  • Educator
  • Sports team chiropractor
  • Healthcare administrator
  • Researcher

One’s chiropractor education is full of challenging and rewarding courses and experiences. At University of Bridgeport, we’ve designed our Doctor of Chiropractic program to prepare candidates to be successful providers of highly competent patient-centered care by teaching best practice educational methodologies, engaging in relevant scholarly activities, and providing effective service to local communities.

We’re ready to help you start your journey toward becoming a chiropractor and ensure you obtain your Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) degree. Learn more information about our program or contact us today to get started.

Let’s crush your educational and career goals – together!