Education chiropractic is to be found on six continents. It falls into two broad categories:
Either way, most programs require a minimum of six years post high school education.
This page was updated by Dr Barrie Lewis on 12th October, 2018
Usually this would include a full research dissertation to prepare the young graduate for the modern world where the doctor of chiropractic has to be fully conversant with modern research concepts.
Graduates of education chiropractic schools receive the degree Doctor of Chiropractic (DC), and are referred to as "doctor". The Council on Chiropractic Education (CCE) sets minimum guidelines for chiropractic colleges, but additional requirements may be needed for a license depending on the country where a chiropractor chooses to practise.
The two part course, followed in the Americas, has the advantage of less fall out. Having completed an initial degree, the young graduate is in a much stronger position to make a mature decision of a life's career. It has the disadvantage of taking slightly longer but proponents would say this model of chiropractic education makes for more rounded personalities.
All 19 chiropractic institutions in the United States are accredited by the CCE. Several universities in the USA have established a College of Chiropractic, a full affiliate within the university.
Students often enter chiropractic school with a Bachelor's degree, but, in 2005, only one chiropractic college (The National University of Health Sciences in Chicago) required this as an admission requirement.
The minimum prerequisite for enrollment in a chiropractic college set forth by the CCE is 90 semester hours, and the minimum cumulative GPA for a student entering is 2.50.
Commonly required classes include: psychology, biology, organic and inorganic chemistry, and physics. Other common medical classes are: anatomy or embryology, physiology, microbiology, diagnosis, neurology, x-ray, orthopedics, obstetrics/gynecology, histology, and pathology. Chiropractic programs require at least 4,200 hours of combined classroom, laboratory, and clinical experience.
The second half of the course stresses studies in manipulation and spinal adjustment and provides clinical experience in physical and laboratory diagnosis, orthopedics, neurology, geriatrics, physiotherapy, rehabilitation and nutrition.
"My idea of education is to unsettle the mind and inflame the intellect."
- Robert Maynard Hutchins
A school leaver, perhaps 17 or 18 will be much less prepared for an education that is consciously unsettling. So, during the first phase of Model II, chiropractic college students making the transition from school are introduced to the basic sciences in a more traditional way. Not exactly "chalk and talk" but learning basic anatomy is not much different from learning multiplication tables and bonds; repetition is the way we learn things.
At the end of the first year, faculty have the difficult task of deciding whether a student has what it takes to make a successful transition to the demands of a highly sophisticated education. And of course whether s/he will make a fine doctor of chiropractor. Investing huge sums of money in a young person who is clearly unsuitable does neither that person, his parents nor the tax payer any favours.
CCE sets the standard for chiropractic education around the world. Many countries outside the USA and Canada, such as Britain, France and South Africa allow for such an all-inclusive chiropractic education that begins immediately post school, and generally has a duration of about six years.
An honest look.
The education chiropractic requirements in both models are not dissimilar, and of course the demands of the public are the same. What they want is a caring and competent physician, able to care for their aches and pains, and contribute to the glaring gaps in medicine's grasp of prevention.
Perhaps it's time for an independent research project comparing these two very different educational models. Does one produce a better doctor than the other? We just don't know.
Historically, our profession has had much in common with natural
living and naturopathy. That background has given the profession an
antipathy not only to the taking of drugs, but also an aversion to
preservatives, emulsifiers, hydrogenation of fats and the like; and a
fascination of nutrition. Students are faced with some difficult issues in
With this in mind you'll find this site littered with pages such as Healthy Living Tips and natural methods of overcoming constipation and a fascination with the innate contents of food, like what are PHYTOSTEROLS and hydrogenated foods?
Certainly an undergraduate degree, with the fundamentals of organic chemistry, will give today's chiropractor a leg up in the understanding of the complex biochemistry. Type words like homocysteine, omega-3, lignans, lycopene, selenium into this search engine. All vital subjects to the patients who wants to live long in the land with all his/her marbles intact.
Lower Back Exercises
Nowhere is the research more unequivocal about the effectiveness of chiropractic than in the treatment of lower back pain; we gets the patient back to work quicker, much more cheaply and generally with less ado than taking dangerous anti inflammatory drugs or lower back surgery. Students of education chiropractic are immersed in research.
Not that chiropractors are rabidly against either. We just think, and it's based on strong research (medical research too), that they should be the second and third options, not the first and second.
However, even the most diehard chiropractor will acknowledge that the chiropractic adjustment of the spine has its dangers too. Unskillfully and unwisely applied manipulation can aggravate a spinal condition.
More, without the requisite rehabilitation and a faithfully done program of lower back exercises almost every chronic lower back pain sufferer will inevitably find him or herself back in the chiropractic clinic with a few months. Today every Education Chiropractic programme has a strong emphasis on nutrition and sports physiology.
What certainly produces better doctors are those who whole-heartedly embrace continuing education. What makes it difficult is that so much of these lectures may be interesting, but quite irrelevant to the practitioner in the field.
Many doctors go to continuing education courses grudgingly, jumping through the hoops but with very little benefit to them or their patients.
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