Chiropractors continue to be in high demand as more people turn to alternative healthcare and medicine to treat and manage various conditions, pain and other health problems. Chiropractic schools train students how to diagnose, treat and prevent common musculoskeletal disorders and nervous system imbalances by using unique spinal alignment techniques, massage and other modalities. In order to become a chiropractor, candidates must obtain a State and national license, and can do so after completing all education requirements from the school's program and passing a formal examination.
What is Chiropractor School?
Schools allow students to complete chiropractic education requirements and obtain their license to practice as a chiropractor. The school curriculum is centered on several health, wellness and science subjects including: spinal joint misalignments, natural therapies, an in-depth understanding of the musculoskeletal system, and an understanding of how health, exercise, diet and the environment play a fundamental role in the level of health and wellness a person experiences.
Chiropractic school trains students on various protocols and principals to include:
Conducting neurological assessments
Completing physical examinations
Reviewing X-rays and diagnostic images
Learning about proper spine function
Understanding alternative medicine modalities
Using acupuncture, ultrasound and heat techniques to treat muscle tissues and fascia
Chiropractic Education Requirements
All chiropractors must obtain a license by completing an accredited college course program and taking both national and State examinations. Chiropractor schools require candidates to complete at least 90 semester hours of undergraduate studies that encompass basic educational requirements; after this is complete, the candidates can move onto an official education program that is typically completed within four years.
These education programs are a combination of classroom work, laboratory training and clinical experience where students are able to work with different types of patients and conduct case studies. The educational component typically involves classes such as microbiology, biochemistry, anatomy, physiology and public health. Clinical experience and lab work focuses on tissue manipulations, physiotherapy treatments, nutrition and neurology.
After completing all requirements, a student can apply for a State and national license. The State board must recognize the education received from the chiropractic school and graduates can sit for the examination. After passing an examination, chiropractors must take part in continuing education to maintain their license; these programs are typically offered by area chiropractic associations and other institutions.
Skills Needed to Become a Chiropractor
Education programs provide the foundational knowledge needed to excel in this career, and each level of study offers students a chance to gain clinical experience and hands-on training in their field. Chiropractor schools may also offer postdoctoral training in areas such as pediatrics, applied chiropractic sciences, family practice management and industrial consulting. This is valuable for those who want to continue their education to specialize in a certain field.
Strong communication skills
Consultation and patient evaluation skills
Ability to work with different types of people
Basic business and marketing skills
Practicing Chiropractic Medicine
After graduating from chiropractic school and obtaining a license, a chiropractor may choose to specialize in a particular field of study and care. Some specialize in sports injuries and offer services to athletes, sports teams and coaches; others may choose to specialize in pediatrics where they work only with children and teenagers. Other areas of specialization include nutrition, weight management, internal disorder treatment, and energy balancing.
Accreditation of Chiropractic Education
The Council on Chiropractic Education (CCE) is a national agency that develops the accreditation criteria for schools across the United States. The CCE regulates chiropractic education and make sure that all program objectives, goals and outcomes of an educational program meet a certain standard.
Career and Employment Opportunities with a Chiropractic Education
Chiropractors are in high demand as more people turn to alternative health and wellness solutions to manage pain, improve posture and improve their overall well-being. Since chiropractors specialize in musculoskeletal systems and treating nervous system disorders, they provide more options for people who do not want to pursue traditional forms of care from a physician or medical facility, but still want to benefit from professional care and expertise.
Job opportunities are expected to grow faster than average according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Occupational Statistics Report for 2007. Median annual earnings of salaried chiropractors were $65,220 in 2006, but those who choose to work in their own independent practice earn a significantly lower salary in the beginning, but enjoy an income increase as they build their practice.
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