Chiropractic Education

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Training to become a chiropractor generally takes about seven to eight years of college (four undergraduate years followed by three to five at chiropractic college) and then a clinical internship.

In the United States, the Council on Chiropractic Education (CCE) accredits chiropractic programs and institutions.

To earn and maintain accreditation, chiropractic colleges must meet a variety of stringent requirements. Each program’s curriculum must include at least 4,200 instructional hours of course credits.

Once accepted into an accredited program, chiropractic students typically follow a curriculum like this:

First year

  • General anatomy
  • Histology
  • Chiropractic principles
  • Palpation
  • Human physiology
  • Chiropractic procedures
  • Embryology
  • Introduction to physical examination
  • Human biochemistry
  • Clinical chiropractic
  • Neuroanatomy and neurophysiology
  • Normal radiographic anatomy
  • Fundamentals of nutrition
  • Functional anatomy/biomechanics
  • Spinal anatomy

Second year

  • Pharmatoxicology
  • Pathology
  • Chiropractic procedures
  • Clinical orthopedics and neurology
  • Community and public health
  • Clinical nutrition
  • Practice management
  • Differential diagnosis
  • Emergency care
  • Clinical microbiology
  • Chiropractic principles
  • Physics of clinical imaging
  • Nutritional assessment
  • Physiological therapeutics
  • Research methods
  • Imaging interpretation
  • Applied clinical chiropractic

Third year

  • Integrated chiropractic clinical application
  • Chiropractic principles
  • Radiologic positioning and technique
  • Clinical application of manual procedures
  • Clinical internship
  • Clinical psychology
  • Pediatrics
  • Clinical laboratory clerkship
  • Original research project
  • Physiological therapeutics
  • Practice management
  • Diagnostic imaging interpretation
  • Differential diagnosis
  • Dermatology
  • Obstetrics and gynecology
  • Geriatrics
  • Ethics and jurisprudence

In the fourth year of chiropractic college, students work a clinical internship in a chiropractor’s office. In addition to treating patients under the supervision of an experienced chiropractor, many students also complete a clinical rotation at a hospital or veterans clinic.