How to Become a Chiropractor

Chiropractors are doctors who treat patients with musculoskeletal and nervous system problems. They also recommend changes in nutrition, exercise, sleep habits and environmental factors in order to improve their patients' health. Here is a guide on how to become a chiropractor.

High school

Students who determine they want to be a chiropractor while they are still in high school have a jump start on other students. Classes in biology, mathematics, chemistry and physics will provide a good foundation for college. The students should also take classes in English, speech and computers in order to have good communication and office skills.

Undergraduate degree

Such a student will need a minimum of 90 credit hours toward an undergraduate degree in order to apply for entrance to a chiropractic school. He will need general education credits, as well as credits in biology, physics and chemistry. Some students opt for a bachelor's degree in biology with concentrations in pre-med, molecular biology, microbiology or biotechnology.

It is especially important that a student study hard and apply herself to her studies while she is earning a bachelor's degree. The United States has only 21 chiropractic colleges, and the competition for entrance is quite stiff. An application must be sent to the chiropractic college the student chooses.

Chiropractic degree

The majority of the Doctor of Chiropractic degree programs are for four years. The first two years are basically dedicated to classroom courses like biochemistry, anatomy, microbiology, public health, nutrition, neurology, orthopedics and physiology. The last two years are mostly devoted to clinical experiences in diagnosis, manipulations and spinal adjustments. Most doctorate programs include a time of internship in a private practice or clinic where the student can practice under the supervision of a licensed chiropractor.

Licensing

Different states have different requirements, but most insist that the student pass a four-part exam that is given by the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners. Some states include their own exam, as well. The student will only be licensed in the state where he takes the exam, unless the state has a reciprocity agreement with other states.

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