A career as a Chiropractor is challenging … yet it is an unquestionably rewarding profession, too. As such, individuals who have a keen interest in science and a genuine desire to help others often are interested in this career path.
Chiropractors, themselves, diagnose and treat problems that are associated with the musculoskeletal and nervous systems. To be more specific, chiropractors believe that misalignments in the spinal joints have an adverse effect on the health of the nervous system. In turn, this situation results in diminished health and a lower resistance to disease. To realign the spinal joints and promote a healthier state, chiropractors manipulate the spine. Besides this process, there are some chiropractors that also offer other complementary therapies.
In the United States, individuals must complete at least two years of an undergraduate degree. More specifically, students must complete at least 90 credit hours of schooling and undertake various courses in Biology, Psychology, Physics, Organic and Inorganic Chemistry, English - and Social Studies or the Humanities. That said, many successful applicants to a Chiropractic College often do complete a four-year degree. In fact, in the not so distant future, a four-year degree may become the new minimum requirement for US-based Chiropractic Schools.
After completing this required undergraduate schooling, prospective students can apply to specialized four-year programs at chiropractor schools. As of 2007, there are a grand total of sixteen chiropractic programs that are Council on Chiropractic Education accredited institutions. Of course, these programs only accept the best students – so an excellent curriculum vitae and academic record is vital.
During the first two years of chiropractic school, most chiropractic colleges provide the groundwork for aspiring chiropractors. As such, the schools effectively cover the subjects of microbiology, physiology, pathology, biochemistry, anatomy and public health through course and laboratory work. The third and fourth years of chiropractic college are more “hands on” and consequently, practical instruction on spinal adjustment and manipulation is a priority. Further, students participate in patient and laboratory diagnosis learning about clinical orthopedics, neurology, physiotherapy, geriatrics, and nutrition. Upon successful completion of this intensive four-year chiropractic degree, students are awarded with the Doctor of Chiropractic Degree designation.
Graduates do need to obtain a license in the state in which they intend to practice their respective chiropractic careers. To accomplish this task prospective chiropractors must pass a state administered exam. Most states utilize all or part of the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners’ test. However, depending on the state, there may be additional testing. Although chiropractors can only practice in the state where they’re granted licenses, some states cooperate with each other so that a chiropractor can practice in another state without further examination – as long as the chiropractors meet a states specific requirement.
Since on-going learning is important in health related careers, all states, except for New Jersey, require that licensed Chiropractors partake in continuing education training - in order to maintain their licensure. Further, if they so desire, chiropractics can elect to obtain an advanced post-doctoral education at certain chiropractic institutions.
All in all, becoming a chiropractor does require a great deal of work and dedication, but for those who enjoy lifelong learning … and aiding other people in the process, this career is definitely a fulfilling one.