The above headline comes from a February 3, 2020, article in US News and World Report. The article, written by Ilana Kowarski, takes an outside look at what it takes to become a doctor of chiropractic.
The article describes chiropractic as being for pain conditions specifically of the lower back. Whereas a high percentage of patients going to a chiropractor suffer from musculoskeletal conditions of the lower back and neck, chiropractic has proven itself to be helpful for people with a wide variety of health issues. This is because chiropractic deals with correcting interference to the nervous system which controls all the body’s functions.
The article begins by saying, “When people struggle with intense back pain or body aches as a result of a traumatic event such as a car accident, they often seek help from a chiropractor, a health care provider who specializes in fixing problems with bones, nerves, muscles, ligaments and tendons.” After that quote, the author then goes on to offer a “guide for anyone interested in becoming a chiropractor.”
The article correctly states that all 50 U.S. states require a chiropractor to have a “doctor of chiropractic” degree. It should be noted that states do refer to chiropractors differently in their state licensure. Some states only use the term “chiropractor” while others include “doctor of chiropractic” or “chiropractic physician.” While some states use the term “chiropractic medicine” there is no degree for chiropractic medicine, and all chiropractic education in the U.S. receives the same accreditation from the Council of Chiropractic Education recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
Today, many states require new chiropractic applicants to not only have a doctor of chiropractic degree, but also a bachelor’s degree. Some of the chiropractic colleges require the bachelor’s degree before entering their schools, while other require 90 hours toward a bachelor’s degree for entry and allow the student to complete their bachelor’s degree while in chiropractic school.
The article reports on the various reasons that a person might want to become a chiropractor. The author focuses on one such doctor who was on the path to be a medical physician, when he suffered a sports injury and was helped by chiropractic when medical care had failed. In many cases, young future doctors of chiropractic are drawn to the drugless approach chiropractic offers patients.
A chiropractic education has much of the same course structure as other professionals when it comes to anatomy and physiology. The difference occurs in the specific training future chiropractors receive for chiropractic adjusting, spinal analysis and x-rays. A chiropractic education typically takes 4 years of higher education after regular college.
The author reports that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics listed the median income for a chiropractor as of May 2018 at $71,410 annually. The Bureau also predicts that the chiropractic profession will grow at a rate of 7% for the next decade which is 2% higher than other professions.