Contrary to popular jokes, including in the media, a chiropractor is as educated and skilled as a regular medical doctor. The chiropractor’s job is no less difficult and no less essential than the medical doctor’s job. When you have these facts in hand, it should not come as a surprise that becoming a chiropractor requires a similar amount of time and work as becoming a medical doctor.
The first requirement for becoming a chiropractor is to attend, pass, and graduate from an accredited undergraduate school. After this has been accomplished, he can then begin his chiropractic education. The chiropractic school consists of four years of relevant coursework. These include, but are not limited to, courses in physiology, anatomy, biochemistry, and others. The required number of hours for these courses in chiropractic school are more than those required for traditional medical school. The coursework consists of classroom training, laboratory experience, and hands-on clinical experience.
Prior to being allowed to practice chiropractic medicine, he is then required to take and pass an extensive National Board exam. The National Board exam consists of four parts. The practical application of knowledge is stressed as well as the academic factors. He must demonstrate that he has adequate knowledge of how to conduct examinations, the proper use of equipment, and other knowledge which he will need to work successfully.
The National Board exam is not the last of the prospective chiropractor’s testing requirements. If he has successfully passed the National Board, his next step is to be evaluated by the state. Each state has its own requirements, and these requirements must be satisfied in order for the prospective chiropractor to be eligible to take the state exam. Taking and passing the state exam means that he can practice chiropractic medicine in the state where he lives.
His licensure does not extend to other states. If he moves to a different state, he will need to become licensed in his new state, no matter how long he has been practicing. Some states allow chiropractors to transfer their qualifications to receive a license without taking another exam, and some do not. The chiropractor who plans to move and practice in a new state needs to check into the new state’s regulations as soon as possible.
In the United States, almost every state also requires chiropractors to participate in continuing education. This is partially for the purpose of ensuring that their knowledge remains fresh, as well as ensuring that they are updated on any new developments in their field. The states which have this policy require continuing education for the chiropractor to continue to hold his license.
The person who is dedicated to providing an essential service to patients may wish to become a chiropractor. When he or she is aware of the importance of this career, and also knows how much time and hard work it takes to earn a license in chiropractic medicine, this is the first step toward a rewarding career. Earning a chiropractic license is a success in itself.