Chiropractors diagnose and treat patients whose health problems are associated with the body’s muscular, nervous, and skeletal systems, especially the spine. Chiropractors believe that interference with these systems impairs the body’s normal functions and lowers its resistance to disease. The chiropractic approach to health care is holistic, stressing the patient’s overall health and wellness. It recognizes that many factors affect health, including exercise, diet, rest, environment, and heredity. Chiropractors provide natural, drugless, nonsurgical health treatments and rely on the body’s inherent recuperative abilities. (bls.gov 2008-05-08)
Tips for students interested in pursuing a chiropractic degree:
- A Chiropractic program typically results in a Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) degree. Schools generally accept students who have completed at least 90 credits of college level work. A bachelor's degree can often be completed at the Chiropractic school on the way to earning the DC degree. Expect to spend at least three years in an undergraduate program and 4 years at a Chiropractic school.
- Start looking at the schools you would eventually be interested in applying to. Two helpful resources are: The Association of Chiropractic Colleges and the Chiropractic Schools Directory. Both provide lists of schools and links to those schools.
- Consider who you will ask for letters of reference for your applications. You should have representation from professionals and professors, instructors or advisors who can speak to your academic ambition and ability, as well as any health-related experience you have acquired.
- Admission is competitive, so take advantage of any coursework or experience that may give you an advantage. Make sure that you at least meet the minimum GPA and pre-requisite requirements for every school you apply to.
- See the chart below for recommended pre-requisite courses to take prior to admission to a chiropractic program:
Courses required for admission by most Chiropractic schools**:
|General chemistry with lab||
|Chem 105X, 106X|
|Chem 321, 322 (also Chem 324 if lab required)|
|General biology||8||Biol 115X & 116X or Biol 111X & 112X|
|Physics||8||Phys 103X & 104X or 211X & 212X|
|Engl 111X, Engl 211X or Engl 213X|
|Comm 131X or 141X|
|Humanities/social sciences (including anthropology, sociology, the arts, and history)||
|UAF core courses|
Courses recommended for completion of 90 credits (varies by school):
|Mathematics: at least one course||
|Math 107X, 108, 200X|
|Human Anatomy and Physiology||8||Biol 111X and 112X|
|Statistics||3||Stat 200X, 300|
|Medical terminology||3||Hlth 204|
|Additional Psychology courses||3-12||Psy 240, 245, 304, 310, 335, 370 or 469|
|Computer literacy||3||CS 101, AIS 101, or CIOS 150|
|Philosophy||3-6||Phil 102, 204|
|Additional Biology courses||4-12||Biol 240, 300, 303, 317, 342, 362, 417, 418, 444|
**Admission requirements vary by school. While Chiropractic schools tend to be consistent in their pre-requisites, it is important to check for the admission requirements of the specific school that you are interested in. A course listed as recommended here may be required by your school of choice.
Many UAF students choose to major in either Biological Sciences or Chemistry (see the degree worksheets) while pursuing a pre-chiropractic curriculum, because they require many of the same courses as listed above. Since students are not required to complete a degree for admission, choosing a major is up to each student. Having a basic understanding of what is required for a UAF bachelor's degree, and following the recommendations to some extent, can benefit the student if goals change and a bachelor's degree becomes necessary.
Students who are considering becoming chiropractors should contact their major department or the Academic Advising Center to be assigned an academic advisor.