What Training Do Chiropractors Have?

chiropractic-education-200-300Becoming a chiropractor is no easy feat. The training to become a practicing chiropractor is akin to traditional medical doctors and involves years of academic training and hours of patient contact work. In order to work professionally, a chiropractor must undertake a long period of academic training and a certain number of hours of internship before they are offered a license to practice. In general, chiropractors get a first professional degree, otherwise known as a second entry, in chiropractic treatment. Ordinarily, the general route to become a chiropractor involves a four-year undergraduate degree as a pre-requisite to apply for the degree in chiropractic medicine.

There are three possible ways to become a qualified chiropractor according to the World Health Organization (WHO) [1]. The first path involves one to four years of prior training in basic sciences at university, then followed by a followed by a four-year full-time program in chiropractic medicine. One can also take an academic degree, called the Doctor in Chiropractic (DC) program, a five-year integrated bachelor degree and a first professional degree, if one wants to follow the path of directly becoming a chiropractor early in their academic career. There is also a more conventional route of completing a BSc in Chiropractic medicine and followed then by a two to three year’s masters, or MSc, in Chiropractic studies.

While the academic requirements above are the minimum, in countries where chiropractic practitioners are more established, the standards to practice are quite high. However, no matter what educational route is followed, a prospective chiropractor must meet the requirements of 4200 student and teacher contact hours, during the four years of their education, which includes 1000 hours of supervised clinical training [1].

Some health professionals with advanced clinical degrees, such as medical doctors or those who have studied medicine, wish to transition into chiropractic practice. They are only required to undertake 2200 hours of contact hours to meet both the educational and clinical requirements. Like other professionals in the medical professions, a practicing chiropractor must be licensed in the State they wish to practice in.

While the laws in different countries and various states may differ, in order to obtain a chiropractic license, all candidates must meet the above academic requirements. In addition, they must complete a 12-month clinical internship or a certain number of continuing education credits [2][3].  A license is granted following successful completion of all the State and National Board exams.

References:

[1] http://www.who.int/medicines/areas/traditional/Chiro-Guidelines.pdf

[2] http://www.californiachiropractic.com/doctor/chiropractor/14L/california-chiropractors/license-requirements.htm

[3] http://www.wichiro.org/Chiropractic_Examining_Board.htm

About Dr Bradley Franklin