How To Become A Chiropractor

How To Become A Chiropractor

How To Become A Chiropractor
Ashma Shrestha

Do you strongly desire to see others achieve better health and well-being? Do you have a burning desire to work in healthcare and a strong interest in alternative medicine? Becoming a chiropractor is the ideal career for you. Chiropractors are medical specialists who specialize in diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal conditions, especially those that affect the spine. 

This in-depth manual will take you step-by-step through the training, education, and licensure requirements needed to become a chiropractor.

What Does a Chiropractor Do?

Before becoming a chiropractor, let's look closely at what chiropractors do. Chiropractors are specialists in neuromuscular healthcare, and their primary focus is on the spine and its connection to the nervous system. They use hands-on techniques to manipulate and adjust the spine and other parts of the musculoskeletal system, aiming to improve the body's overall function and relieve pain.

Chiropractors treat a wide range of conditions, including:

  • Back Pain: Chiropractic care is often sought to relieve lower back, upper back, and neck pain.
  • Headaches: Chiropractic adjustments can help alleviate tension and migraine headaches.
  • Joint Pain: Conditions like osteoarthritis can benefit from chiropractic treatment.
  • Injuries: Chiropractors can provide rehabilitation and pain management for injuries sustained in accidents or sports.
  • Posture Correction: They help patients improve their posture and prevent future issues.
  • Overall Wellness: Some patients visit chiropractors for general wellness and preventive care.

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Steps to Become a Chiropractor

Becoming a chiropractor is a multi-step process that requires dedication and a solid educational background. Here are the essential steps to follow:

1. Obtain a Bachelor's Degree

Before applying to a chiropractic program, you must complete a bachelor's degree. While no specific major is required, choosing a pre-medical or science-related field is advisable. Biology, chemistry, physics, and psychology courses will provide a solid foundation for your chiropractic studies.

2. Enroll in an Accredited Chiropractic Program

To become a chiropractor, you must attend a chiropractic college accredited by the Council on Chiropractic Education (CCE) or an equivalent accrediting body. Chiropractic programs typically take four years to complete, including classroom instruction, laboratory work, and clinical experience.

During your chiropractic education, you will study anatomy, physiology, biomechanics, radiology, and chiropractic techniques. You will also gain hands-on experience through internships and clinical rotations.

3. Pass the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE) Exams

After completing your chiropractic program, you must pass a series of exams administered by the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE). These exams assess your knowledge and skills in various areas of chiropractic practice. Completing these exams is a prerequisite for obtaining a license to practice as a chiropractor.

4. Complete State Licensing Requirements

In addition to the NBCE exams, you must fulfill your state's specific licensing requirements. Each state has its licensing board, and requirements may vary. Typically, these requirements include passing a state board exam and meeting any additional educational or clinical experience criteria.

5. Consider Specialization

While not mandatory, some chiropractors choose to pursue specialized training in areas such as sports chiropractic, pediatric chiropractic, or chiropractic neurology. Specialization can enhance your skills and open up new career opportunities.

6. Obtain Malpractice Insurance and Set Up a Practice

Once licensed to practice, you must secure malpractice insurance to protect you in case of legal issues. You can then decide whether to open your chiropractic practice, join an existing practice, or work in a healthcare facility.

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Skills and Qualities of a Chiropractor

To excel in your chiropractic career, you should possess the following skills and qualities:

  • Excellent Communication: Chiropractors must explain complex medical concepts to patients and collaborate with other healthcare professionals.
  • Empathy: Understanding patients' pain and discomfort is crucial for adequate care.
  • Dexterity: Chiropractic adjustments require precise manual skills and coordination.
  • Problem-solving: Identifying the root cause of musculoskeletal issues and developing treatment plans is essential.
  • Business Acumen: If you plan to run your practice, business skills are valuable for managing your clinic effectively.

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Career Prospects & Salary of Chiropractor

Chiropractors are healthcare professionals specializing in diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal disorders, particularly those related to the spine. 

In India, the demand for chiropractors was relatively low compared to established healthcare professions like doctors, nurses, and physiotherapists. Chiropractic care was primarily sought by individuals with specific musculoskeletal issues, often through private clinics.

Chiropractor Salary in India:

Chiropractor salaries in India vary significantly based on location, experience, qualifications, and the type of facility or clinic where they work. 

  • Entry-Level Chiropractor: ₹2,00,000 - ₹4,00,000 per year
  • Mid-Level Chiropractor (with 5-10 years of experience): ₹4,00,000 - ₹8,00,000 per year
  • Experienced Chiropractor (more than 10 years of experience): ₹8,00,000 - ₹15,00,000 per year
  • Chiropractic Clinic Owner: Earnings can vary significantly based on the clinic's success, but it can range from ₹10,00,000 to ₹50,00,000 or more per year.

Chiropractic Role

Entry Level (per annum)

Mid-career (5-10 years)

Experienced (10+ years)

Clinical Chiropractor

₹3,00,000 - ₹6,00,000

₹6,00,000 - ₹10,00,000

₹10,00,000 - ₹20,00,000+

Academic/Research Chiropractor

₹3,00,000 - ₹6,00,000

₹6,00,000 - ₹10,00,000

₹10,00,000 - ₹20,00,000+

Sports Chiropractor

₹3,00,000 - ₹6,00,000

₹6,00,000 - ₹10,00,000

₹10,00,000 - ₹20,00,000+

Consulting Chiropractor

₹3,00,000 - ₹6,00,000

₹6,00,000 - ₹10,00,000

₹10,00,000 - ₹20,00,000+

Frequently Asked Questions

Indeed, here are four frequently asked questions (FAQs) about becoming a chiropractor:

1. How long does it take to become a chiropractor?

Becoming a chiropractor typically involves four years of undergraduate education to earn a bachelor's degree, followed by four years of chiropractic college. Becoming a licensed chiropractor usually takes about eight years of education and training.

2. What are the job prospects for chiropractors?

Job prospects for chiropractors can vary by location, but the demand for chiropractic services has been steady overall. Chiropractors can work in private practices, join group practices, or collaborate with other healthcare providers. The increasing focus on holistic and alternative healthcare approaches has contributed to a positive outlook for chiropractic careers.

3. Is chiropractic care safe?

Chiropractic care is generally considered safe when performed by trained and licensed professionals. Chiropractors are trained to assess patients' health conditions and determine appropriate chiropractic adjustments. However, as with any medical intervention, there can be risks and side effects. Communicating openly with your chiropractor and disclosing any pre-existing health conditions or concerns is essential.

4. Should I specialize in a particular area of chiropractic care?

Specializing in a specific area of chiropractic care is optional but can benefit career growth. Some chiropractors choose to specialize in areas such as sports chiropractic, pediatric chiropractic, or orthopedics. Specialization can lead to opportunities for working with specific patient populations or in niche areas of healthcare, but it requires additional training and certification beyond the standard chiropractic education.

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