A Career as a Chiropractor
Information adapted from the American Chiropractic Association and the
Occupational Outlook Handbook
What is Chiropractic Medicine?
Chiropractic is a branch of the healing arts which is concerned with human
health and disease processes.
Special attention is given to the physiological and biochemical aspects of
a person’s being, including structural, spinal, musculoskeletal,
neurological, vascular, nutritional, emotional and environmental
Emphasizes the ability of the body to self regulate and self heal by
providing natural, drugless, non-surgical health treatments and relying on
the body’s inherent recuperative abilities.
Stresses the patient’s overall health and wellness by recommending
changes in lifestyle such as eating, exercise and sleeping habits.
What is a Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.)?
Like other health practitioners, D.C.’s follow a standard routine to secure
the information they need for diagnosis and treatment:
o Taking a patient’s medical history
o Conducting a routine physical
o Ordering any additional tests that may be needed such as lab work
o Developing a clinical impression or diagnosis
o Arranging therapeutic procedures or making necessary referrals
When difficulties can be traced to musculoskeletal structures, D.C.’s
manually adjust the spinal column.
D.C.’s counsel patients about wellness concepts but do not prescribe
drugs or perform surgery.
Employment is expected to increase faster than average as a result of
research and changing attitudes about alternative healthcare practices.
Establishing a practice will be easiest in areas with a low concentration of
chiropractors as most currently practice close to chiropractic institutions.
The rapidly expanding older population, with its increased likelihood of
mechanical and structural problems, will increase chiropractor demand.
Chiropractors must be licensed, requiring 2 to 4 years of undergraduate
education, completion of a 4-year chiropractic college course and passing
scores on national and state examinations.
Typical applicants to chiropractic colleges have a baccalaureate degree.
No specific major is required. However, general prerequisite courses for
chiropractic college include:
o 6 credits of biology with lab
o 6 credits of chemistry with lab
o 6 credits or organic chemistry with lab
o 6 credits of physics with lab
o 6 credits of English
o 3 credits of psychology
o 15 credits of humanities and social sciences
Other Desired Qualifications
Keen observation to detect physical abnormalities
Considerable manual dexterity, but not unusual strength or endurance, to
Able to work independently
Handle responsibility well
Empathy, understanding and the desire to help others
American Chiropractic Association
Association of Chiropractic Colleges
Council on Chiropractic Education
International Chiropractors Association
National Board of Chiropractic Examiners