Chiropractors are doctors that maintain that the body should be healed without resorting to surgery or drugs. These doctors address illnesses by manipulating the spine and the musculoskeletal system so that the manipulations will improve a patient’s resistance to disease as well as improve a patient’s overall health. A chiropractic association is a membership organization that promotes chiropractic science and chiropractors.
Most chiropractic schools require at least 90 hours of undergraduate education that includes courses in science and English. Applicants to chiropractic schools do not necessarily have to have a bachelor’s degree in order to be admitted. Some chiropractic schools offer undergraduate degrees themselves. In addition, some schools include pre-chiropractic courses, although not all states recognize a pre-chiropractic education.
In order to graduate from chiropractic schools, students must complete four years of studies with a minimum of 4,200 hours of classes, labs, and hands-on experience. Students typically study sciences during the first two years. During the second two years, students study manipulation and spinal adjustments, as well as gain clinical experience. After students complete these four years of study, students are awarded the degree of Doctor of Chiropractic (DC).
A chiropractor can pursue postdoctoral training leading to specialization after receiving a DC. Specialties include sports injuries, family practice, nutrition, and applied chiropractic sciences. Chiropractors must pass exams in order to practice in their chosen specialty.
In order to work, chiropractors must take both national and state licensing tests. If a chiropractor wants to practice in more than one state, the chiropractor must pass licensing tests in all the states in which the chiropractor wishes to work. Many states recognize all or parts of the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners tests — the national test that chiropractors must pass in order to practice.
A chiropractic association may exist on the state, national, or international level. The International Chiropractors Association (ICA), the oldest chiropractic association, was established in 1926 by Dr. Bartlett Joshua Palmer. Dr. Palmer was the son of Daniel David Palmer, the founder of chiropractic. The younger Palmer is known in chiropractic circles as being the developer of the science of chiropractic.
Chiropractors can benefit from joining a chiropractic association. A given chiropractic association may offer ongoing educational opportunities to members, a referral system so that patients can find a reputable chiropractor, and public education on chiropractic. In addition, a chiropractic association may provide funds for research in chiropractic therapy and may lobby in support of chiropractors on the state and national levels.