You will have to go through many steps before you can become a chiropractor. But do not despair, consider it an opportunity to learn as much about adjusting as you can before calling yourself a chiropractor.
Now that you’ve decided that becoming a chiropractor is the right career move for you, the next question is how do you get there? While this depends on several factors, one commonality you will find no matter what route you take is that each step leads to the next.
Whether it’s undergraduate school, doctor of chiropractic school, or adjusting school, there are certain courses and tests along the way to becoming a licensed chiropractor.
So, with this in mind, I have put together this article to serve as an overview of what you need to know to become a chiropractor. Let’s start.
What is a Chiropractor?
If you’re interested in pursuing a career as a chiropractor, the first thing you need to figure out is what it is.
A chiropractor is an alternative medicine branch of healthcare that focuses on the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of problems related to the spine and nervous system.
A chiropractor is a qualified healthcare professional who uses the science of spinal adjustment to treat disorders of the nervous system and musculoskeletal systems.
Chiropractors may specialize in treating patients with back and neck pain or in a particular field of healthcare, for example, sports medicine.
Chiropractors believe that the body can heal itself without medicine or surgery. They use their hands to adjust parts of the body, especially the spine so that problems with nerves, muscles, and joints can be corrected.
Chiropractors aim to reduce pain and increase mobility.
Some of the responsibilities of a chiropractor are;
- Analyzing patients’ histories
- Making a diagnosis based on the patient’s symptoms
- Treating a wide range of symptoms with neuromusculoskeletal expertise
- Holistic and naturopathic approaches to healing
- Providing professional advice and treatments for health problems
- Developing the skills to help people lead healthy lives permanently
- Lifestyle changes and dietary recommendations as part of a comprehensive treatment plan
The specific treatment a chiropractor offers will vary depending on their training, experience, and skills.
The Process of Becoming a Chiropractor
So you’ve decided you want to become a chiropractor? Great. Chiropractors are in high demand. If you decide that the chiropractic profession is right for you, these are the steps you will need to take:
1. Get a college degree
If you want to become a chiropractor, you’ll need to start by earning a college degree and meeting all of the other prerequisites for admission to chiropractic school.
If you haven’t already done so, you will need a minimum of 3 years of undergraduate college education to be accepted into one of the chiropractic colleges.
Most chiropractors get their undergraduate degrees at a college or university. You must also have completed a minimum number of courses in biology, psychology, physics, chemistry (both organic and biology), and other specific areas.
2. Attend an accredited chiropractic school
Attending an accredited chiropractic school is the first step to achieving your career goals in this field of health care.
The Council on Chiropractic Education (CCE), is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as a nationally recognized accrediting agency for chiropractic programs.
If you enroll in a chiropractic program that is not accredited by CCE or CACE, you may find that you cannot sit for your state’s licensing examination or may lack credibility with certain insurance plans.
3. Obtain a license
Once you have completed your educational requirements, it is time to get licensed. Licensing for chiropractors is required in all states, which means you must go through the chiropractor’s licensing board in whatever state you choose to practice.
However, licensure requirements vary from state to state.
In general, you must obtain a Doctor of Chiropractic degree from an accredited chiropractic school. You’ll also have to pass the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners exam.
Most states require that you also complete one or two years of supervised practice before you’re granted full licensure.
4. Consider a specialty
The process of becoming a chiropractor requires a lot of training and specialization. Before you can provide treatment to your patients, you need to become licensed.
There are tons of things you can do with a chiropractic degree, but it’s always good to have a specialty up your sleeve.
You should know what your strengths and interests are before applying to schools so that you know where to narrow down your search.
Don’t be afraid to attend career fairs and talk to chiropractors about their experiences—they’ll be able to give you the inside scoop.
5. Work as a chiropractor
Once your training is complete and you have earned your certificate, it’s time to find jobs. Congratulations on choosing chiropractic as a career.
You’re well on your way to beginning a rewarding job helping patients get out of pain and back to their normal lifestyles.
In the field of chiropractic, there are many available opportunities in various medical settings, including private practices and clinics.
Apply for jobs, and start a clinic if you can. Whatever you do, be good at it. The world is your oyster.
What Are the Important Qualities of a Chiropractor?
1. Attention to detail
As a chiropractor, you will be required to treat each patient with care and accuracy. This requires the ability to closely observe patients detect any changes in their symptoms, as well as perform physical examinations.
Thus, being a chiropractor requires extreme attention to detail, especially when it comes to diagnosing your patients. If you’re not detail-oriented already, start practicing now by paying close attention to even the smallest details around your work and home life.
2. Excellent communication skills
Communication skills are essential in the healthcare field because doctors, nurses, and other health professionals often address complex medical issues with patients and family members.
In addition to explaining treatment options, healthcare workers must compassionately give bad news.
Communication is one of the most important skills a chiropractor can possess. Chiropractors will be working with patients over prolonged periods and must obtain deep trust, so successful chiropractors must have excellent communication skills.
3. Time management skills
For any career, you need to be organized and able to balance your day. This is even more important if you want to be a chiropractor.
Time management skills are indispensable in the busy world of a chiropractor. Chiropractors often have to work long hours and be on-call after hours depending on their practice.
Since most patients value their time, they have come to expect chiropractors to operate within time limits.
Additionally, chiropractors need sufficient time to evaluate patients’ conditions and manage patients’ expectations. A chiropractor needs to be able to prioritize and stay organized
4. Knowledge of coping skills
All patients who visit the chiropractor’s office will experience some degree of pain. And while the amount of pain that is experienced can vary, the fact remains that it will be present.
That’s why the chiropractor must be able to understand how each patient copes with different situations, and how they react to stress, anxiety, and depression (which also affect their psychological health).
You need more than basic science to be a successful chiropractor. You also need to know how to put patients at ease, manage their expectations, and stay focused under stress.
Look for the emotional health skills in your personal history that will help you succeed as a chiropractor and highlight them when interviewing.
5. Interpersonal skills
To understand how a patient’s body reacts to the treatment and to provide the best possible treatment, a chiropractor must be able to listen carefully to the patient.
A chiropractor must also be able to communicate clearly with patients so that they can express their pain and other symptoms.
A good bedside manner and the ability to set a patient at ease are essential. Some people are afraid of chiropractors because they are concerned that chiropractic treatment will cause injury or pain.
If a chiropractor can put patients at ease simply by talking with them, then many of these feelings of fear and worry can go away. To do this, chiropractors need solid interpersonal skills.
Why Become a Chiropractor?
Do you have a knack for understanding how the body functions and already lead a healthy lifestyle? If so, you’re a great candidate to become a chiropractor, where you can put your knowledge of anatomy and love of people to use.
You’ll get to help people live lives free from physical pain, and can walk away each day knowing you’ve made a difference in someone’s livelihood.
Being a chiropractor is a rewarding and meaningful career.
Not only do you make a difference in other people’s lives, but you also learn about the human body, how it works, how to heal injuries, and how to prevent them from reoccurring.
How Much Money Can You Make as a Chiropractor?
Aside from being a highly rewarding and fulfilling profession, chiropractors have excellent earning potential.
According to the BLS, the average annual salary for chiropractors is about $82,390 to $100,000. The median income was $76,220 with an hourly mean wage of about $35.
Do you need a doctorate to be a chiropractor?
Yes, you do. Many chiropractors learn their craft through a chiropractic college. They earn a Doctor of Chiropractic degree and then get either a state license or a certification to practice.
What is the job market like for chiropractors?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of chiropractors will grow by 11 percent between 2020 and 2030.
Following graduation, most start their own practice, but many also find employment in a public facility or complementary healthcare organization.
Because of chiropractic’s popularity and increased public awareness of the benefits associated with spinal manipulation, the field is growing.
Whether you are an aspiring chiropractor yourself or just someone curious about gaining a better understanding of these fascinating individuals, it’s great to have a resource that can provide you with an overview.
The article above has covered a lot of information on how to become a chiropractor and what you might do as one. So there you have your basic overview of how to go about becoming a chiropractor.
The road might not be as easy as you thought it would be, but if you are determined and you stick with it, then, in the end, you’ll find the help you want.
Hopefully, this guide helped you gain insight into the chiropractor field.
In addition, you can find out what you can do with your biology degree by checking out an article on the best biology careers.
Thanks for reading.