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Chiropractic is the area of study and practice that provides healthcare solutions to certain ailments through the use of manipulations of muscles and the human skeletal structure. Individuals educated in this field will work to reset bones and alleviate muscle tension in order to reduce various pains and aches, include headaches. Chiropractors usually maintain their own offices, or work within a clinical or group setting.
What Does a Chiropractor Do?
A chiropractor is a licensed provider of an alternative medicine is concerned with the diagnosis and remedy for mechanical disorders of the musculoskeletal system. The musculoskeletal system includes head, muscles, cartilage, joints, tendons, ligaments and connective tissue. In the world of chiropractic medicine, these types of mechanical disorders or alignment issues affect the nervous system. The most common type of treatment provided by chiropractors in the United States is known as manual therapy in which providers manually manipulate the spine and knead muscles & soft tissue.
What Chiropractic Training Will I Receive?
In virtually every case, a college or university offering chiropractic programs will be 3-4 years or around 4,200 cumulative student hours with approximately a quarter of that time spent performing supervised clinical training. During a student’s clinical experience, they will be exposed to spinal adjustment techniques, diagnosis, and spinal assessment. In school, students will take anatomy classes where substantive time will be spent performing human cadaver dissection. Learning of this type is designed to help students blend the lectures in anatomy with gross anatomy (seen with the naked eye) to provide real-time, immediate learning opportunities for students. Other important core classes a chiropractor will take include biochemistry, physiology, patient management, biology, neurological disorders, nutrition, internal disorders, and physical rehabilitation.
Students completing an accredited chiropractic program (found below) will earn a DC or Doctor of Chiropractic. Many will choose to continue schooling with postgraduate programs to earn additional credentials. These credentials and specific training modules provide chiropractors with the opportunity to expand their operation or specialize in a number of fields. Examples of areas of specialization for chiropractors are built on the following techniques:
- Thompson Technique
- Sacro Occipital Technique (SOT)
- Upper Cervical
- Instrument-Aided Soft Tissue Mobilization
- Flexion-Distraction Technique
- Gonstead System
- Applied Kinesiology
- Advance Release Technique (ART)
- Advanced Activator Methods Technique
- Myofascial Technique
- Reinert Diversified Technique
Do Chiropractors Need to Be Licensed?
Students graduating from an accredited chiropractic college or university in the United State will receive a Doctor of Chiropractic or DC designation. Upon receiving a DC, graduates will be able to seek licensure in their state of jurisdiction. All chiropractic colleges in the U.S. are accredited by The Council on Chiropractic Education (CCE) which is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Licensing requirements for chiropractors varies by state but all DC’s are required to successful pass the NBCE (National Board of Chiropractic Examiners). The NBCE test includes sections basic sciences, clinical sciences, a practical exam, and clinical case studies. After passing the NBCE test, many students will need to take and pass a state-specific law test for chiropractors. Continuing education is a key piece of meeting your state’s licensure requirement for chiropractors found through the health department or board of chiropractic examiners website.
Education and Schools
Individuals studying within the chiropractic field will take courses in a variety of subjects, including human anatomy and physiology, a variety of sciences, and various healthcare related courses to become familiar with ailments and treatments. Some chiropractors may choose to augment their treatments through the use of alternative medicines and massage therapy, taking additional courses to be able to offer such additions. Students will earn a Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) degree which is a postgraduate degree that typically takes four years to complete.
A curriculum may include:
- Chiropractic Therapy
Chiropractic schools require students to apply to a program, followed by a commitment to education lasting for four years. Schools that keep current with trends in the field and maintain clean and up to date facilities in order to receive practical training alongside more traditional classroom education are generally the most desirable. Schools that also produce students that have high passage rate on state exams for licensure are also generally more preferable.
Job growth for chiropractors is expected to increase greatly over the next decade as more and more individuals seek out their services in lieu of surgical or medical treatments to relieve certain types of ailments and pains. An aging population will increase the demand for chiropractic treatment over the next decade.
The American Chiropractic Association works to promote the interests of doctors of chiropractic in the United States, as well as maintaining high standards for professionals within the field.
States with the Highest Number of Chiropractors
- California 2,970
- Texas 2,150
- Florida 2,070
- New York 1,840
- Illinois 1,650
Best Paying States for Chiropractors
- Rhode Island $134,270
- New Jersey $123,310
- Delaware $116,650
- Alaska $112,430
- Tennessee $107,310