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How To Become A Chiropractor

Learn About Chiropractic Careers


Chiropractor helping patient
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Chiropractors, also known as doctors of chiropractic, use natural healing methods and manual manipulations of the spine, neck and back to treat a variety of maladies in patients, particularly of the musculoskeletal system. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics "chiropractic is based on the principle that spinal joint misalignments interfere with the nervous system and can result in lower resistance to disease and many different conditions of diminished health.

In addition to the manual manipulations, chiropractors treat patients with a combination of diet, exercise and other lifestyle methods, according to the BLS.

Training and Education for Chiropractors:
Chiropractors typically graduate from an accredited chiropractic school. They do not have an MD or DO degree from a medical school; instead they earn a D.C. (Doctor of Chiropractic) degree. Currently, chiropractic candidates are not required to have a bachelor's degree before entering chiropractic school. However, many students do complete a bachelor's program, and a minimum of 90 semester hours of undergraduate coursework is required for acceptance into a chiropractic program.

The chiropractic course is typically a total of four years, but some programs vary in length. The focus of the classroom coursework, like many other health careers, entails courses in the sciences such as anatomy, physiology, biology, biochemistry, and pathology. In addition to classroom requirements, lab and clinical training are required components of the chiropractic education. According to the BLS, there are 16 accredited chiropractic programs nationwide.

Licensure is required on a national level and is obtained by passing a four-part test by the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners. As with most health careers, continuing medical education (CME) is required to keep licensure current. Some state boards require additional testing, but most recognize the national test.

Job Outlook for Chiropractors:
The outlook for chiropractors is well above average, with about 20% growth predicted between 2008-2018, according to the BLS. There are about 49,100 chiropractors practicing in the U.S. as of 2008, and about 44% of those are self-employed in a solo practice.

Income for Chiropractors:
According to the BLS, the median (mid-point) income for salaried chiropractors is $66,490. According to a survey of chiropractors cited by the BLS, the mean income (average) for chiropractors is $94,454.

Work Environment and Required Skills:
Chiropractors often have to stand for long periods of time. Chiropractors should be in good physical condition. Most chiropractors work in clean, well-lit, comfortable offices.

Chiropractors must enjoy working with people, and have strong communication and interpersonal skills. The profession requires strong math and science skills, as with other health careers. Chiropractors must be able to collect and analyze information and data, assess a situation and develop a plan of action and treatment. Then they must be able to evaluate the progress of the patient and make any necessary adjustments accordingly.

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