What are the Different Chiropractic Programs?

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  • Written By: Rachel Burkot
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 27 December 2018
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Chiropractors are doctors who specialize in spinal adjustments. They have a thorough understanding of the spinal column, or vertebrae, and the nervous system. A chiropractor uses natural therapy, such as spinal manipulation, visualization, breathing techniques, herbs and vitamins, rather than surgery or drugs. Chiropractor programs can be found across the country, as this is a field with growing demand.

To become a chiropractor, a two- to four-year undergraduate program is first required. After this, the person will receive either an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. It is a good idea to study the sciences at the undergraduate institution, and Bachelor of Science degrees are solid stepping stones to chiropractic programs.

After this, a four-year chiropractic program must be pursued. In the U.S., 16 chiropractic programs are accredited by the Council on Chiropractic Education. Other chiropractic schools in the U.S. and around the world can be found using the Internet to search for chiropractic programs. To be accepted into one of these programs, candidates must have completed at least 90 semester hours at an undergraduate school, including courses in English, social science, the humanities, biology, chemistry, physics and psychology. Many chiropractic programs accept either a bachelor’s or associate’s degree, but as most applicants have a bachelor’s degree, many schools are leaning toward only accepting the four-year undergraduate degree.


Chiropractic programs consist of 4,200 hours of work. This involves a combination of classroom learning and practical, hands-on experience. At most institutions, the first two years focus on broad subjects such as anatomy, physiology, public health, microbiology, pathology and biochemistry. Students learn mainly through classroom instruction and laboratory exercises during this part of the program. Most schools spend the final two years of the program teaching more focused courses on spine manipulation and adjustment, and students get direct medical training by working with actual chiropractors at clinics, learning diagnosis, neurology, orthopedics, geriatrics and physiotherapy.

After students complete the chiropractic programs, they are awarded Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) degrees. Before beginning chiropractic careers, the doctors must first pass state-approved examinations to obtain licenses to practice as chiropractors. Chiropractic jobs may then be sought by the chiropractors. Continuing education courses must be taken each year to keep the skills sharp, although the number of annual hours required varies by state. These courses are offered through chiropractic programs at universities or chiropractic associations.



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