If you’re considering a career in chiropractic care, one of the first questions you may have is how long it takes to become a chiropractor.

Chiropractors typically spend 7-8 years in school to earn their degree and become licensed.

In this article, we will explore the education and training required to become a chiropractor, what to expect from a chiropractic program, and the benefits of pursuing a career in chiropractic care.

Undergraduate Education

Chiropractors are healthcare professionals who focus on diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal problems, particularly those affecting the spine. Becoming a chiropractor requires significant education and training, which typically begins with undergraduate studies.

Prerequisite Courses

Before applying to a chiropractic program, students must complete prerequisite courses in science and math. These courses typically include:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Mathematics

These courses provide the foundational knowledge necessary to succeed in a chiropractic program.

Bachelor’s Degree

While not always required, many chiropractic programs prefer applicants who have earned a bachelor’s degree. In fact, some programs have specific requirements for undergraduate coursework. For example, one program may require applicants to have completed a certain number of credit hours in biology, while another may require coursework in psychology or sociology.

Even if a bachelor’s degree is not required, having one can be beneficial for several reasons. First, it can demonstrate a student’s commitment to their education and to the field of chiropractic. Second, it can provide a more well-rounded education, with courses in subjects like English, history, and the arts. Finally, having a bachelor’s degree may make a student more competitive for scholarships and other forms of financial aid.

Chiropractic Education

Chiropractic education is rigorous and demands a strong commitment from students. Chiropractors are highly trained medical professionals who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal disorders. To become a chiropractor, one must complete a comprehensive educational program that covers a wide range of topics related to the human body and its functions.

Doctor of Chiropractic Degree

The first step in becoming a chiropractor is to earn a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) degree from an accredited chiropractic college. The DC program typically takes four years to complete. During this time, students are required to complete coursework in anatomy, physiology, pathology, biochemistry, microbiology, diagnosis, and chiropractic technique, among other subjects. Students also gain hands-on experience through clinical training.

Clinical Experience

Clinical experience is an essential component of chiropractic education. Students must complete a certain number of clinical hours before they can graduate and become licensed chiropractors. During their clinical experience, students work with patients under the supervision of licensed chiropractors. This hands-on experience allows students to apply the knowledge they have gained in the classroom to real-life situations and develop their skills as chiropractors.

Licensure and Certification

After completing their education, chiropractors must obtain a license in order to practice. The requirements for licensure vary by state, but typically include passing an exam and completing continuing education courses. In addition to licensure, many chiropractors choose to become certified in a particular area of practice, such as sports chiropractic or pediatric chiropractic. Certification is not required, but it can demonstrate a chiropractor’s expertise in a particular area and may make them more attractive to patients seeking specialized care.

Postgraduate Education

Chiropractors are licensed healthcare professionals who diagnose and treat patients with musculoskeletal problems. They are required to complete extensive education and training to become licensed. In addition to completing an undergraduate degree, chiropractors must attend a chiropractic college and undergo postgraduate education to earn their license to practice.


Chiropractors can choose to specialize in a variety of areas. Some of the most common specializations include sports medicine, pediatrics, orthopedics, neurology, and nutrition. To become a specialist, chiropractors must complete additional postgraduate education and training in their chosen area of focus.

The length of time it takes to complete postgraduate education and become a specialist can vary depending on the program. However, it typically takes an additional 1-2 years of education and training beyond the standard chiropractic program.

Continuing Education

Like all healthcare professionals, chiropractors are required to participate in continuing education courses to maintain their license. Continuing education helps chiropractors stay up-to-date with the latest research and techniques in their field.

The amount of continuing education required varies by state, but most states require chiropractors to complete a certain number of hours each year. Chiropractors can fulfill their continuing education requirements by attending seminars, conferences, or online courses.

Continuing education is important for chiropractors to provide the best possible care for their patients. By staying current with the latest research and techniques, chiropractors can offer more effective treatments and improve patient outcomes.

According to the American Chiropractic Association, chiropractors complete an average of 30 hours of continuing education per year.

Career Opportunities

Chiropractic is a growing field that offers a variety of career opportunities. Chiropractors can work in private practice, hospitals and clinics, sports teams and fitness centers, and more. Here is a closer look at the different career paths available to chiropractors:

Private Practice

The majority of chiropractors work in private practice. They may own their own practice or work as an associate in someone else’s practice. Chiropractors in private practice diagnose and treat patients with musculoskeletal issues, such as back pain, neck pain, and headaches. They also provide guidance on nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle changes that can improve overall health and wellness.

Chiropractors in private practice must have strong business skills, as they are responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of their practice, including billing, insurance, and marketing. They must also have excellent communication skills, as they work closely with patients to develop treatment plans and provide ongoing care.

Hospitals and Clinics

Chiropractors can also work in hospitals and clinics. In these settings, they typically work as part of a healthcare team, collaborating with other medical professionals to provide comprehensive care to patients. Chiropractors in hospitals and clinics may work with patients who have chronic conditions, injuries, or illnesses that require ongoing care.

Chiropractors in hospitals and clinics must have excellent communication and collaboration skills, as they work closely with other healthcare professionals to develop treatment plans and ensure that patients receive the best possible care.

Sports Teams and Fitness Centers

Chiropractors can also work with sports teams and fitness centers. In these settings, they provide care to athletes and fitness enthusiasts, helping them to prevent injuries, recover from injuries, and optimize their performance.

Chiropractors who work with sports teams and fitness centers must have specialized training in sports medicine and rehabilitation. They must also have excellent communication skills, as they work closely with coaches, trainers, and athletes to develop treatment plans and provide ongoing care.


Becoming a chiropractor requires a significant amount of education and training, but it can be a rewarding and fulfilling career path for those who are passionate about helping others achieve optimal health and wellness.

With a strong foundation in anatomy, physiology, and other medical sciences, as well as hands-on experience through clinical rotations and postgraduate training, chiropractors are well-equipped to provide non-invasive, drug-free care to patients with a variety of musculoskeletal conditions.

If you’re interested in pursuing a career in chiropractic care, be prepared to invest several years of your life in education and training, but know that the rewards can be well worth the effort.

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