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What is Chiropractic Medicine?

Chiropractic is one of the most sought after holistic health care professions. Chiropractors go through extensive training to become experts on anatomy and physiology of the body to provide patient care, therapeutic interventions, and to focus on patients’ overall health and well-being. Some chiropractors use procedures such as massage therapy, rehabilitative exercise, and ultrasound in addition to spinal adjustments and manipulation. Patients can seek out chiropractic care in private practices, hospitals, healthcare clinics, or rehabilitation centers. 

Chiropractors areas of expertise include: 
● The spine, joints, and neck 
● Using neuromusculoskeletal expertise to treat a wide variety of symptoms 
● Approaching healing from a holistic and naturopathic point of view 
● Administering diagnostic tests such as x-rays 
● Researching a patient’s medical history 
● Manually adjusting a patient’s spine, hips, knees, and other joints 
● Recommending lifestyle changes and diet as part of a more comprehensive treatment regimen 


Things to Consider When Searching for a Chiropractic School:

Doctorate of Chiropractic (D.C.) Program Search:

  • School Reviews:

    • There are several sites online, including Students Review, where you can read candid advice from other students about both the school and the course to give you an honest and open insight.

  • Accreditations:

    • The Council on Chiropractic Education has a list of accredited courses on its site, so you can check whether the course is reputable and has the necessary accreditation.

  • Tuition: 

    • Any professional school can be extremely costly but it is very beneficial to look at the cost of the school you plan to attend. You want to make sure you can pay for tuition especially if you plan on paying out of pocket. 

    • Chiropractic school within the U.S. charges the same amount whether you are in-state or out of state.

    • International fees and tuition are important as they differ from U.S. citizens' tuition and can be expensive due to U.S. funding varies at each school.

    • Financial aid and scholarships are important, which is why you check to see what type of aid and scholarships your school offers and do you qualify.

  • Location: 

    • It’s always important to consider proximity when it comes to choosing where you would like to live for the next 3 to 4 years.

    • You want to make sure you are not just looking at the school you plan to attend but the surroundings as well or even distance. For example: How far home is from where you will be attending school? Traveling can add up and become costly, if you plan on being far from home you may want to add that in your budget. 

    • On-campus or off-campus living is something every student should look at because the last thing you want is to move somewhere you have never seen in person. Your environment is important and you do not want to have any disruptions when it comes to studying for classes.

    • You want to make sure you live in close proximity to school because that's where the majority of your time will be spent.

  • Diversity:

    • If you would like to attend a multicultural chiropractic school take a tour and see what all do they have to offer when it comes to educating other ethnicities on the culture within the healthcare field.

    • Chiropractic is a healthcare profession that lacks diversity but is starting to become a field that is capable of evolving to be more diverse. According to a 2012 study found that the chiropractic profession has yet to achieve diversity proportionally with the U.S. population, and; chiropractic educational institutions are not meeting diversity proportional to their local communities. The authors concluded, “[t]he chiropractic profession urgently needs to develop and implement strategies to address issues of diversity and cultural competence in order to prepare for inevitable changes by the year 2050.

    • While the United States is an increasingly diverse nation, according to the U.S. Census in 2018, the Black/African American population in the U.S. was 13.8 percent, Hispanic or Latin was 18.3 percent, and in 2014, more children in the United States under the age of five years of age were minorities rather than white. The chiropractic profession continues to lack diversity.

    • Racially, the profession continues to be overwhelmingly white (92%), with just 2.3% Black. The profession is also underrepresented by Hispanic, Asian, and Native Americans. 

  • Dual-Degree Opportunities: 

    • Attending chiropractic school offers various collaborative dual-degree opportunities for students interested in diversifying their training. These combined degree programs usually allow chiropractic students to complete an additional degree at a lower cost and in a shorter duration. The most common dual-degree programs offered by chiropractic schools include earning a bachelor of science degree in biology in three years, while transitioning into the Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.), Masters in Sports Health Science, Clinical Nutrition, or Positive Psychology.

    • Clubs/Certifications: 

      • SABCA ( Student American Black Chiropractic Association 

      • Hispanic club 

      • ICPA (International Chiropractic Association) 

      • Gonstead 

      • Upper Cervical 

      • Activator 

      • AMED 


      • Acupuncture 

      • Sports chiropractic 

  • Other Factors:

    • It is important to explore the structure of the curriculum, national ranking, accreditation, and class-size. In addition to the program overview, the program’s website gives access to school tours, orientation leaders, and student ambassadors addressing various topics for prospective students. Questions to consider in evaluating program curriculum: 

      • Does the curriculum seem innovative and/or progressive? When was the last time there was a change in curriculum?

      • Do you prefer traditional lectures, online learning, break-out workshops, case studies, or another method? Does this curriculum offer a learning style that works for you? (Keep in mind that your learning style may change throughout chiropractic school, as this is a rigorous program.) 

      • Do you prefer to work/study independently or to work with classmates on projects? (Programs aim to distribute learning evenly among both methods, but ultimately utilize one more than the other at various stages in the curriculum.) 

Things to Consider

Tips for Prospective Students

  • Being a Strong Applicant: 

    • Letters of Recommendation (LORs): Every chiropractic school's requirements vary. Some schools may require having LORs—the content of your LOR is just as important, if not more important than the title of your reference. Be sure that your references will advocate for you strongly and positively speak to your experiences. 

    • Essay/Interviews: As stated before every chiropractic school has its various requirements, some programs may require you to complete an essay and interview before admission into the programs. 

    • Credits: You must have, or have the equivalent of, three academic years of undergraduate study, which is 90 semester hours. 

    • Required Courses – Both lecture and laboratory components in coursework from the life and physical sciences (biology, physics, and chemistry) are required, with a minimum of 24 semester hours. 

    • Minimum GPA: Some schools appear to consider a lower GPA if other criteria are met, so it is certainly worth still looking into if you do not have the required GPA. 

    • Soft Skills: As well as the educational prerequisites to consider, there are a number of soft skills the course providers and eventually, employers and patients will be hoping to find. 

    • Strong communication skills, for example, to help put people at ease and a sense of empathy so you can understand the patient’s pain. Passion for chiropractic care is also important, to progress and best showcase the technique. 

Financial Aid &  Scholarships

Financial Aid

Additional Resources

Additional Resources
  • Melanin Chiro: a student doctor social media initiative aimed at providing motivation, for aspiring chiropractic healthcare professionals.

  • American Chiropractic Association (ACA)

  • National Board of Chiropractic Education: (NBCE)

  • American Black Chiropractic Association (ABCA)

    • Student American Black Chiropractic Association (SABCA)  

Contributions by: Chelsea Davis, D.C candidate, MS Biology

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