A chiropractor is simply a healthcare specialist in nerve, muscular, and bone health. They use a non-surgical method to diagnose and treat issues with the nerves, muscles,, and skeletal system. The philosophy behind this is that most chronic discomfort in the back or neck can be corrected once the spinal column is in alignment.
This makes them experts in the use of natural treatment methods like nutrition, massage, and exercise therapy. This alternative approach can restore health in ways that orthodox medicine often overlooks.
In this article, we will examine how to become a Chiropractor, education for chiropractors, chiropractic degrees, the best schools, the cost of becoming a chiropractor, chiropractor salaries, and job prospects.
Chiropractor Job Description
Chiropractors treat patients who have health challenges with their nerves, muscles, and skeletal systems. They also use non-invasive clinical methods to take care of patients with health concerns like back, waist, and neck pain.
The chiropractor’s job description includes the following:
- Examine a patient’s medical problem by doing a background check on the patient’s medical history.
- They carry out a physical assessment of the patient’s posture and spine alignment.
- Perform X-rays to check the patient’s condition and need for care.
- Maintain patient records.
- Carry out therapy on the nerves, muscles, and bones. This often involves the alignment of bones, joints, and spinal areas.
- Give advice on how patients can adapt to lifestyle changes as part of treatment therapy. This can mean making changes to food choices, diet, sleep patterns, exercise, and posture.
- Carry out referrals so that patients receive treatment from other medical experts when necessary.
- Use therapeutic massage and corrective exercises to adjust malfunctions in the system.
- Recommend and apply shoe inserts and braces as part of procedures to ease pain and improve stability.
Step by step guide on How to become a Chiropractor
You can become a licensed chiropractor if you are ready to put in the amount of work to achieve your goals. This can take up to 8 years or about 4,200 hrs of study.
- Get a College Degree
- Attend a Chiropractic School or College
- Obtain a License
- Become a Specialist Chiropractor
- Practice as a Chiropractor
#1. Get a College Degree
Most schools require a degree in related fields to admit you into their chiropractic schools. a minimum of 90 semester hours of undergraduate work. Being qualified in similar fields proves your foundational knowledge in areas such as kinetics, anatomy or physiology. These areas are key knowledge areas considered in Chiropractic schools. One can earn a master’s degree alongside their bachelors depending on your school of choice and area of specialty.
#2. Attend a Chiropractic School or College
A chiropractic school can take up to four years of clinical experience and intensive hours of work. These years are divided into about 2 years of lab and classroom lectures and the remaining years in clinicals. You will be further exposed to real life problems and human cadavers and blood work. Practical training includes assessment, diagnosis and treatment of spinal issues and how to adjust the necks and back to relieve chronic pain.
#3. Obtain a License
After completion of an accredited Doctor of Chiropractic Degree (D.C) program, you are on your way to becoming a chiropractor but depending on your state requirements, you will need a license to practice.
Although state requirements are different, all require passing all four parts of the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE) exam.
- Part 1 which is taken during year 2 of chiropractic school is to test your knowledge of anatomy, physiology, pathology, chemistry and other subjects.
- Part II is taken in the third year to assess your knowledge of specialized topics like general diagnosis, diagnostic imaging and chiropractic practice.
You can take Part III and Part IV within a year of graduation. These exams will test more advanced aspects of your chiropractic training.
After completing these national tests, you can then apply for a license.
You will need to pay a fee for your license and provide further proof like fingerprinting, improve your skill set, and provide a list of referees etc. You should check with your state board to specify details on licensure.
#4. Become a Specialist Chiropractor
You can aim higher to become a chiropractor who is highly specialized. There are many options available in radiology, nutrition and dietetics, exercise and sports medicine. You will need further education in addition to your chiropractic degrees. This will make you more valuable to your patients and respected by colleagues
#5. Practice as a Chiropractor
When you become a Chiropractor, you can choose to work with an established Chiropractor or begin your private practice. This can take longer to set up and you will need to gather your own client base. Starting your practice will require management and business skills and you must know how to manage your finances to run a successful practice.
Good enough, a Chiropractic degree often covers business and management skills and courses in finance and interpersonal relationships. This will come in handy in your future practice.
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HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO BECOME A CHIROPRACTOR?
Chiropractor education includes extra fees, licensing costs plus monies for the needs of a typical student.
Here’s an estimate by the National University of Health Sciences in Illinois.
- On-campus students – $16,200 per year.
- Off-campus students – $17,400
- Day students with parents or relatives – $13,700.
According to this estimate, these costs include tuition, living expenses, activity fees, technology fees, books, and supplies.
You can see that education for a Chiropractor will cost an average of $70,000-$105,000 to complete.
To earn a chiropractic degree, most schools charge up to $10,000 to $30,000 per year in tuition. That being said, a student should have a budget of $120,000 for a Chiropractic degree depending on the school.
CHIROPRACTIC SCHOOL TUITION COMPARISON
Tuition costs vary from one school to another.
The undergraduate college degree starts from $5,000 per year at a state college and $20,000 per year if you attend a private college.
For instance, the Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Cleveland Chiropractic College in Kansas City or Los Angeles, costs about $91,500 while The Sherman College of Chiropractic in Spartanburg costs $6,445 every quarter . A total of 14 quarters makes it $90,230.
The University of Rochester in New York costs $28,000 per year, including an extra $2,200 in compulsory fees for full-time students.
Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa charges $9,950 per trimester. To earn a Chiropractic degree, you must complete 10 trimesters making the total cost close to $100,000.
Sherman College of Chiropractic, South Carolina charges $6,445 per quarter in tuition. Other costs like living expenses, books and fees, brings the estimated total to $11,245 per quarter.
Also, the licensing cost for chiropractors varies by state. However, the initial license costs $100-$300.
Chiropractic college costs include living expenses, books, seminars and fees of approx. $15,000-$27,000 per year.
For example, Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, IA, includes an annual sum for books and equipment for $1,575 per year, while the living expenses such as room, board, and transportation cost $18,285 annually.
In some schools, additional costs may include room, books and board fees.
Some students enjoy discounts in the form of scholarships if they meet a set of criteria.
BEST CHIROPRACTIC SCHOOLS
It is important to note that there is a marked difference between chiropractic schools and colleges.
A college offers other degrees apart from a chiropractic degree. Therefore their focus is spread over other areas.
But a Chiropractic school only specializes in chiropractic training.
Below is a list of schools that offer a degree for Chiropractors and their unique offers.
- Keiser University – West Palm Beach, Florida
- Cleveland University – Overland Park, Kansas
- D’Youville College – Buffalo, New York
- Life University – Marietta, Georgia
- Logan University – Chesterfield, Missouri
- National University of Health Sciences – Lombard, Illinois or Pinellas Park, Florida
- University of Bridgeport – Bridgeport, Connecticut
- University of Western States – Portland, Oregon
This school is the newest of chiropractic colleges and was awarded accreditation in 2019.
You can complete your Chiropractic program at Cleveland University in 10 trimesters or three and a half years. This University runs an accelerated program.
D’Youville gives you an option of two different degree programs. One takes about 7 years to complete and involves earning a B.S. degree in biology. You can then follow up with the DC program.
The second runs for a 3.5-year DC degree and is suitable for those who have completed their undergraduate work.
This University offers a 4-year, 14-quarter program. And requires that applicants complete 90 semester credit hours. To be eligible, you must also have a minimum GPA of 3.0 although those with a 2.75 are considered.
To be admitted at Logan University for their 3-year DC program, students must bag a bachelor’s degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0. As of 2018, the DC student with the highest GPA is granted a scholarship around the third semester. The student must also meet other criteria to stay on the scholarship.
The National University offers a three-phased program. One of which covers basic sciences, the other covers clinical sciences and the last one clinical practice. Apart from academic requirements to become eligible, you must also be immunized for tetanus, mumps and other diseases like measles.
The DC program at the University of Bridgeport takes 4 years to complete. Applicants must have 90 completed credit hours (24 in life and physical sciences) and a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0.
Students at University of Western States can typically earn their DC degree in 12 quarters which is about 3-4 years. and tuition is roughly $10,011 per quarter.
One of the factors which can affect a worker’s salary and perceived value is the choice of school. So make sure to visit each school’s website to check which one fits your budget, location, time frame, structure and general requirement.
How much does Chiropractor make? | Chiropractic Salary
The median annual wage for chiropractors was $70,720 in May 2020 according to the US BLS.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics also states that chiropractors make a median annual income of $70,720 or $34.00 per hour.
The lowest 10 percent of chiropractors earned $35,390 and the highest 10 percent earned $137,950 and more.
Chiropractors can have a financially rewarding practice—they earn more than the average worker in their industry as well as the country. Infact, Chiropractors earn about 65% more than the average salary for all professions.
Chiropractor Job prospect
The Job prospects for a Chiropractor are very bright. This is because advocacy for the use of alternative medicine continues to rise and more and more people are embracing natural non invasive ways of treating their chronic pain. Many openings also result from retirement and exit to different occupations.
It has been projected that openings for chiropractors will rise up to 12 percent from 2020 to 2030. This average is higher than the national average for all occupations.
Infact, according to the US Bureau of labor statistics, there is only one Chiropractor for every 23 practicing doctors and the projection for each year is up to 1,800 annually.
This is indeed a good time to consider a Chiropractor degree as there is an increasing need for practitioners. You will need to imbibe other qualities in addition to obtaining an education for Chiropractors.
These qualities include dexterity, empathy, decision making skills, interpersonal and communication skills. With the right dose of discipline and study, you can earn a Chiropractic degree and fulfill your dreams of becoming a revered Chiropractor.
FAQs On How to Become a Chiropractor
How long is chiropractic school?
Depending on whether you choose college or chiropractic school, the duration of time can take anything from 3.5 years to 8 years including licensing and certification..
How can one become a Chiropractor?
You can become a chiropractor after earning a Chiropractic degree from college or an accredited chiropractic school, getting your license and certification to practice. This requires intense hours of coursework and clinical practice including specified hours of continuing education.
Where do Chiropractors work?
Chiropractors typically work in their own private establishment or larger establishments after signing a contract. They will need to build their own clientele, do their own marketing, manage their business finance if they decide to work on their own.
Some chiropractors also specialize in similar areas like nutrition, orthopedics, sports injuries and neurology and work in these fields.
How much does it cost to see a Chiropractor?
It all depends on your need, reason for visit, location, insurance and treatment plan. So it can range from $30 to $ 300 or even as little as $60
Is a Chiropractic degree worth it?
Yes, getting a chiropractic degree is absolutely rewarding. The need for experts in the field will bring more openings which is estimated to rise higher than the national average for other jobs. Apart from this, being able to provide solutions, help , support , and relief for those in chronic pain can be very satisfying.
- kamerpower.com– how to become a chiropractor
- bls.gov – Chiropractors.
- vocationaltraininghq – How much does chiropractic school cost?
- chiroeco.com – the complete guide to choosing a chiropractic school
- onetonline.org – summary report for Chiropractors