Those who wish to become a chiropractor need to earn their D.C. degree or Doctor of Chiropractic designation. Licensing needs to be obtained prior to working on people. Most chiropractors earn their degree within 4 years and need a minimum of 3 years of undergraduate college education for admission to be possible.
Education & Training
The D.C. or Doctor of Chiropractic degree is a postgraduate professional degree that takes approximately 4 years to complete. Students seeking admission to D.C. programs need a minimum of 90 semester hours of undergrad studies. Most students earn their bachelor's degree prior to entering the chiropractic program. Classes such as biology, physiology, physics, liberal arts, chemistry and anatomy are covered in detail.
Training consists of clinical experience hours. Topics include: spinal assessment, practicing spinal adjustment techniques and diagnosis.
Upon graduating, some chiropractors continue postgraduate study programs that lead to diplomate credentials and certification. These extra courses offer extra training in areas such as pediatrics and orthopedics. Individuals may continue to earn their master's degree in a related field such as sports rehabilitation and nutrition. Certain D.C. programs feature a dual-degree option. In this scenario, students may earn an additional master's degree in another topic while they complete their D.C.
Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
Chiropractors need to be licensed in order to be legit. Requirements vary from place to place; however, all require completion of an accredited D.C. Doctor of Chiropractic program. Certain places insist that chiropractors have a bachelor's degree.
The National Board of Chiropractic Examiners offers an exam that must be passed prior to certification. This exam covers clinical case studies, clinical sciences, a practical exam and basic sciences. The majority of jurisdictions additionally require applicants to complete specific law exams. Continuing education requirements are ongoing in order to keep licensing active.
Skills and Qualities that will Help
Decision-Making Skills: When treating a patient, chiropractors need to determine the best course of treatment. Deciding when other health care professionals need to be involved may also be part of the overall treatment and referrals will be given.
Detail Oriented: In order to be successful, chiropractors need to pay attention to tiny details in order to ensure a correct diagnosis. Mistakes could be detrimental and cause patients harm.
Dexterity: Relying on their hands to execute manual adjustments to the joints and the spine require that chiropractors are well-coordinated.
Empathy: Caring for individuals while they are in pain requires sympathy and understanding in order to take care of the patient's individual needs.
Interpersonal Skills: Remaining personable will make patient's comfortable and keep them returning in the future. Being able to put patients at ease is an important part of the visit; especially when they have to be in an uncomfortable position temporarily.