Chiropractic students undergo thorough teachings in the structure and function of the human body, how disease occurs and how to prevent, correct, and maintain proper health.
Commonly required classes include: psychology, biology, organic and inorganic chemistry, and physics. Other common medical classes are: anatomy or embryology, physiology, and microbiology.
Chiropractic programs require at least 4,200 hours of combined classroom, laboratory, and clinical experience. The last two years stress courses in manipulation and spinal adjustment, and provide clinical experience in physical and laboratory diagnosis, orthopedics, neurology, geriatrics, and nutrition. This includes a minimum of 1,000 hours of supervised clinical training
Once undergraduate requirements have been met, a rigorous four- to five-year chiropractic program begins, which is very similar to that of medical school. Course requirements include gross anatomy, physiology, pathology, neurology, radiology, biomechanics, spinal and extremity adjusting techniques, along with a variety of other health sensitive subjects. Chiropractic school focuses on the ability to recognize and treat various soft tissue and structural disorders.
Doctors of Chiropractic (DC) are also trained in identifying disorders that are beyond their scope of practice and when various outside medical referrals are needed.
To qualify for licensure, graduates must pass at least four examinations (NBCE parts I – IV), and in some jurisdictions five examinations (NBCE Physiotherapy), from the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners and complete state specific requirements. Most state boards require at least two years of undergraduate education, and an increasing number require a four-year bachelor’s degree.
All licensing boards in the US require the completion of a four-year program at an accredited college leading to the DC degree. Once licensed, most States require chiropractors to attend 12-50 hours of continuing education annually.