Through independent research and discussions with graduates of chiropractic programs, Allied Health World compiled information specific to chiropractic degree programs in order to help our readers better prepare for a career in chiropractic medicine. We provide answers to the questions most frequently asked by aspiring students specific to prerequisites, expected coursework, and the clinical requirements of chiropractic training programs:
What level of degree is needed to practice chiropractic medicine?The Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) is one of the most highly recognized and respected credentials in medicine today. It is a doctorate level degree that requires the successful completion of between four and five years of chiropractic college after earning a four-year Bachelor of Science (BS) degree. Most students spend a total of between eight and nine years in college to prepare for a chiropractic career.
Most chiropractic college programs are broken into 10 or 13 trimesters, which can be completed in just less than four years if pursued full time without breaking for the summer. With summer breaks expect the full program to take five years.
What are the prerequisites for entering a chiropractic program?Most chiropractic college programs require applicants to have completed four years of postgraduate pre-med study leading to the successful completion of a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree. Chiropractic programs often have high standards for admission requiring applicants to meet specific course requirements in the sciences, as well as social science and the humanities. A minimum 2.5 Grade Point Average (GPA) will allow entrance to schools with less stringent requirements. Prerequisite science courses would include the biological sciences, chemistry, physics and related studies. The humanities portion would consist of English communication, psychology, and the social sciences.
Are there internships or externships available to chiropractic students?After students have completed all the clinical requirements of the chiropractic program, they may elect to go out into the field and work with a practicing chiropractic physician in what is referred to as a preceptorship. During a preceptorship students would typically be restricted from performing adjustments and their participation would be limited to performing exams, and observing the treatment administered by the resident chiropractor. In a very few states, students are allowed to perform adjustments during their preceptorship.
What is the cost of a Doctor of Chiropractic training program?Chiropractic college programs can typically be completed for between $40,000 and $50,000. Most chiropractors describe having no issue paying off student loans, as the average chiropractor salary earned in a single year is comparable to the total cost of schooling. For more prestigious institutions the cost can, of course, be higher. When speaking with chiropractic physician, Alta Mahan, she described to us the cost of schooling at three different campus locations in various parts of the country specific to the school she attended. The East coast campus charged $6,920 per quarter, which comes to $89,960 total for 13 quarters. The western campus was comparable at $6,825 per quarter, or $88,725 for 13 quarters. The Midwest campus charged $9,160 per trimester for a total of $91,600 for all 10 trimesters.
To help lighten the financial burden, students enrolled in Doctor of Chiropractic programs can qualify for traditional financial aid including state and federal programs such as Stafford Loans.