The educational requirements for chiropractors are similar to that of medical doctors. In general, chiropractors must complete four years of undergraduate study from one of the nation's 17 accredited chiropractic colleges. During the first two years of study, students receive classroom and laboratory work in anatomy, physiology, public health, microbiology, pathology, and biochemistry. The final two years involve courses in manipulation and spinal adjustments, as well as clinical experience in areas that may include physical and laboratory diagnosis, neurology, orthopedics, geriatrics, physiotherapy, and nutrition, biomechanics, radiology, and natural medicine.
Undergraduate study is followed by a one-year internship at a college clinic. Many chiropractic colleges rotate interns through hospital rounds with medical students. Many chiropractors also undertake four to five additional years of advanced or post-graduate study in a clinical area.
After obtaining their Doctor of Chiropractic degree, chiropractors must complete at least two board exams - the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE) exam and the board exam from the state in which they practice.
All 50 states license Doctors of Chiropractic to practice. All chiropractors must meet certain requirements, including:
- Completion of a four- or five-year chiropractic college course of study at an accredited program leading to the Doctor of Chiropractic degree.
- Satisfactory completion of board exams.
- Ongoing continuing education courses or programs offered by accredited chiropractic programs and institutions, as well as chiropractic associations.
Chiropractors also are able to obtain certification in such areas as orthopedics, neurology, sports injuries, occupational and industrial health, nutrition, diagnostic imaging, thermography, spinal rehabilitation, and internal disorders.