Created by the Center for Spirituality & Healing and Charlson Meadows.

Is Chiropractic Regulated?

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Yes. All states and Canadian provinces require licensing for chiropractors. To be licensed, a chiropractor must have earned a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) degree from an accredited institution and must have passed a four-part national board examination.

Individual states have their own additional requirements and licensure limitations, and in most cases, a state board of chiropractic examiners oversees practitioners.

A chiropractor's professional responsibility to diagnose and treat patients and the range of services he or she can offer varies from state to state under licensure laws. Some states, for example, do not allow chiropractors to perform certain diagnostic tests in their offices. Some states allow chiropractors to offer additional therapies, such as homeopathy or acupuncture or the distribution of nutritional supplements, and some don't.

Most states require chiropractors to earn continuing education credits to maintain their licenses. This typically requires about 20-25 continuing medical education hours each year in areas such as radiography, professional boundaries, and clinical skills development.

What do chiropractors study to get their degree?

Students must complete at least three years of preparatory college work with an emphasis in the life sciences to be admitted into chiropractic schools.

Chiropractic coursework for the degree program of Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) typically includes:Woman studying

  • Anatomy, physiology, microbiology, biochemistry, pathology, nutrition, public health, and many other subjects
  • The principles and practice of chiropractic
  • Research methods and procedures
  • Direct patient care

Chiropractic training is a rigorous four-year academic program consisting of both classroom and clinical instruction. This is followed by state licensure board examinations, which chiropractors must pass in order to practice.

Some chiropractic colleges also offer postgraduate courses, including two to three year residency programs in subspecialty areas such as nutrition, orthopedics, neurology, pediatrics, rehabilitation and imaging.

Expert Contributor: 
Larry Kuusisto, PhD, DC

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