As a child, I suffered from allergies and bouts of bronchitis every year. I just thought it was a fact of life. After I sustained an ankle injury, my mother’s friend referred us to a chiropractor, who examined my back and found problems all along my spine. As it turned out, the nerves exiting my spine were the cause of my allergies and frequent illnesses. Once he’d helped me heal my spine, those problems disappeared.
This experience is what inspired me to become a chiropractor. Maybe you or someone you know has had a similar experience and is thinking about pursuing chiropractic. In this article, I’m going to discuss what it takes to become a professional doctor of chiropractic.
What is Chiropractic? Before we dive into the prerequisites of a career in chiropractic, let’s talk about what a chiropractor actually does. While the focus is often on the spine, chiropractors are able to treat a myriad of different conditions. They are trained to help patients with any issues that relate to the neuromusculoskeletal system, which includes nerves, bones, muscles, ligaments, and tendons.
Chiropractors use their in-depth knowledge of the human body to treat patients for all types of pain. Since chiropractic is a form of natural medicine, it uses the power of the body to resolve issues from within, rather than using surgical intervention or prescription medications. The ultimate goal is to follow the symptoms to the source of the pain, not just treat each symptom that arises.
Educational Requirements. Before obtaining your doctor of chiropractic (D.C.), you will need to have a pre-med background. This usually means attending an accredited undergraduate program and earning a bachelor of science. If you have certain chiropractic schools in mind, I would recommend checking their admission requirements before selecting your undergraduate program.
After you’ve earned your bachelor of science, it’s time to head to your D.C. program. These programs usually take four years to complete. As a chiropractor, you must have a thorough knowledge of the inner workings of the human body. The first two years are spent in classrooms and labs, studying subjects like anatomy, physiology, biology, biochemistry, and pathology. The last two years of the program are spent in clinical training. This means you’ll be learning on-sight at clinics and working with patients.
Getting Your License. To practice chiropractic in the U.S. you must be licensed on a national level. The laws in each state vary, but all of them require that you have completed an accredited Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) degree program and passed all four parts of the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE) exam.
Once you’ve passed your boards and met any other additional requirements your state has, then you’re ready to start helping patients. Some chiropractors start a private practice while others work alongside other doctors. No matter what, you’ll be helping people find relief from pain and achieve better overall health.