Chiropractors must meet rigorous standards to become licensed in the United States. Their education is intense. Anyone wishing to become a chiropractor must have at least 90 hours of a bachelor’s degree already completed. Of those 90 hours, students must follow strict standards as to the number of credits per course in specific areas. There are only 16 colleges that offer the program, and every state requires that a chiropractor have a Doctorate to practice there, so prospective students must meet the school’s guidelines.

Educational Requirements

In general, the standard requirements for all 16 colleges that will count toward the 90 hours of credit are as follows:

  • Twenty-four semester credits in Life/Physical Sciences – such as Biology or Chemistry. Some colleges have specific requirements for the number of types of class and number of hours.
  • At least half of the Science credits must be labs.
  • The remaining 66 hours should be a well-rounded curriculum relevant to a Doctor of Chiropractic degree.
  • A minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.

Once accepted into an accredited program, it takes four years to receive a Doctor of Chiropractic degree. Potential candidates study a rigorous curriculum, including:

  • Foundations and Applications of Chiropractic
  • Adjustive Techniques and Spinal Analysis
  • Anatomy, Biochemistry and Physiology
  • Microbiology, Pathology and Public Health
  • Physical, Clinical and Laboratory Diagnosis
  • Gynecology, Obstetrics, Pediatrics and Geriatrics
  • Dermatology, Otolaryngology and Nutrition/Dietetics
  • Diagnostic Imaging Procedures
  • Psychology and Neurology

A few colleges have created a “3-plus-3” curriculum where students can get their undergraduate degrees in three years and then continue straight into an accelerated three-year Doctor of Chiropractic degree.

Certification Requirements

Anyone who wants to become a chiropractor must become certified by the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners. All candidates must pass a four-part series of exams to become certified in any state. The examination process begins during the second year of the Doctor of Chiropractic degree program when students are eligible to take Part I of the NBCE exam. This exam tests knowledge of six basic sciences. Part II can be taken in the third year of the Doctor of Chiropractic program and covers six Clinical Science areas. Part III requires a candidate to be within nine months of graduation and covers another nine areas of Clinical Science areas. Finally, Part IV is a hands-on test consisting of three parts. There are also a series of specific specialty exams that candidates can take voluntarily, such as physiotherapy and nutrition.

As you can see, becoming a chiropractor takes a lot of skill and dedication. So, if you have any problems with your joints or back pain, contact a chiropractor, like from Mid Atlantic Spinal Rehab & Chiropractic, today!