Introduction: An Overview of the Chiropractic Career
Becoming a Chiropractor can be a rewarding career option, with many avenues for growth. Chiropractors can work as primary care providers to help patients with a number of conditions, including pain management. They can also receive additional education to specialize in a variety of fields including veterinary medicine.
What is a Doctorate of Chiropractic?
A Doctorate of Chiropractic (D.C.) is a graduate level degree which takes several years to complete. In order to be eligible for graduate school students generally need to have a bachelor’s degree earned. However, for the Doctor of Chiropractic degree, some schools will accept students with just 90 undergraduate credits, as long as they meet the science prerequisites.
Why Pursue a Doctorate of Chiropractic?
If you want to become a Chiropractor, you will have to earn your Doctorate of Chiropractic from an accredited institution. It is a requirement for licensure. In addition to learning how to provide adjustments, Chiropractic School will give you knowledge of conducting research, patient care, and an extensive understanding of human anatomy and physiology.
Doctorate of Chiropractic Education and Training
Prerequisites for Admission
In order to be eligible for admissions, applicants must meet the admission requirements set by the chiropractic school. Accredited chiropractic programs require students to have at least 90 undergraduate credits from a regionally accredited institution. 24 of these credits must be in the physical or life sciences, half of which must have labs, and all must be earned with a C or higher.
Some states require chiropractors to have a bachelor’s degree in order to be licensed. You can consult http://www.fclb.org to determine the licensure requirements for the state you plan to practice.
DC Degree Timeframe
The time to complete your Doctorate of Chiropractic depends on the schedule of the school you’re attending. Most Chiropractor schools are on a trimester or quarterly schedule, meaning you are in school all year long. Programs following this schedule generally take three to four years.
University of Bridgeport offers the only semester-based Chiropractic DC degree program, which gives students their first two summers off. This allows students to study for their boards, work, and gain valuable shadowing hours. Our program takes four years to complete.
Chiropractic Curriculum and Coursework
Chiropractic curriculum generally builds up on itself. Students will begin their program learning the basic sciences, such as Anatomy and Physiology and Microbiology. These are graduate level courses and therefore more in depth and challenging than if taken at the undergraduate level.
Then students will learn more 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, where they work on students who are at an earlier stage of the program. They then do a 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.
Other Considerations for Admission
Each Chiropractic school will have their own admissions requirements, with some overlapping similarities. You will need to provide transcripts from the institutions you’ve attended. Some schools, like University of Bridgeport, may allow you to apply with unofficial transcripts and only require the officials (transcripts sent directly from one school to another) if you’re admitted.
In addition, you may be required to provide professional letters of recommendation. The school may have set guidelines for the letters, such as needing to come from a chiropractor or another medical professional. If so, shadowing or interning with a chiropractor can be a great way to secure this letter of reference.
Shadowing or interning will also help you in writing your personal statement or essay, which is another common application requirement. It’s worth reaching out to the school’s admissions team to see if there’s a prompt for the personal statement. Generally, you’ll explain why you’re applying to this specific Doctorate of Chiropractic program and what led you to this profession.
In addition, some schools may also require an interview. This is an excellent chance for you to learn more about the program and share why you’ll succeed in chiropractic school. To prepare, it’s a good idea to read the chiropractic school’s mission and values so you can explain why you’re applying to this particular program. Questions you may be asked include why you want to become a chiropractor, what your aspirations are after earning your Doctor of Chiropractic degree, and how you handle a rigorous curriculum.
It’s also a good idea to have some questions prepared for the interviewer(s). Questions you can ask include: How do you see your program evolving over the next 5 years? What sets your school apart from others? What allows students to succeed in your program?
Clinical Experience and Internships
At University of Bridgeport, Chiropractic students have the ability to apply to a residency after graduation. One of the residencies is through the VA Hospital and is one year long. The residency is paid and is a great opportunity for students who might want to get employed with the VA. University of Bridgeport is one of four chiropractic schools in the country to be partnered with a VA facility for postgraduate residencies.
The other residency available to University of Bridgeport graduates is with the Community Health Centers. Students will take an exam to become a chiropractic fellow. If the students start this program and remain employed with the federal government, they can be eligible for loan forgiveness after 10 years.
Boards, Licensing and Certification Requirements
In order to become licensed, Chiropractors must pass all four parts of the national boards offered by the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners. The Doctor of Chiropractic degree will prepare students to sit for these boards. University of Bridgeport Chiropractic students can sit for part one and two of their boards after their second year in the program.
DC Degree Employment Outlook and Career Paths
Demand for Chiropractors
The demand for Chiropractors is steadily increasing as more people seek less invasive approaches to pain management. In fact, Chiropractors are expected to see a 10% growth in employment from 2021 to 2031.
Types of Employment Settings and Specializations
There are a wide variety of employment settings a Chiropractor can work in. They can work as primary care providers, either in their own private practice or alongside other healthcare professionals. They can also work in hospitals and outpatient settings. Chiropractors often work with professional athletes, treating sports injury. They can also work in academia, training the next generation of Chiropractors. You can read more about what you can do with your Doctor of Chiropractic degree here.
Doctor of Chiropractic Degree Professional Development and Continuing Education
In order to maintain licensure, Chiropractors will need to earn continuing education units on a yearly basis. University of Bridgeport has opportunities for Chiropractors to earn their education requirements through ChiroCredit.Com.
Opportunities for Continuing Chiropractic Education
There are a variety of opportunities for Chiropractors to continue their education outside of the requirements for licensure. University of Bridgeport offers a post-doctoral program in Orthopedics and Neuromusculoskeletal Medicine to provide Chiropractors with advanced training and specialization. Chiropractors can also choose to go back to school to earn an additional master’s degree in a related field, such as Nutrition or Acupuncture.
Research and Advancements in Chiropractic
The field of Chiropractic is continuing to grow and evolve. Students will learn research skills as a part of their Chiropractic degree. At University of Bridgeport, students have the opportunity to collaborate with faculty for our annual Faculty Research Day. Not only does this give students valuable insight into the research process, it can give them the opportunity to have their work published.
Ready to apply?
Submit your application to University of Bridgeport’s Doctorate of Chiropractic (D.C.) program or reach out to your Graduate Admissions Officer, Sarah Doran, at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.