Chiropractic School Requirements
Because chiropractic medicine involves diagnosis and treatment of real patients, chiropractic schools have admissions requirements that rival the stringent requirements for traditional medical schools. From academic performance to prerequisites for admission and even to the classroom training and clinical practice of the education, graduates of chiropractic colleges must meet the highest standards.
Many of the best chiropractic schools will not admit students without a Bachelorís degree, and none will accept students who have failed to get at least an Associateís degree. While the subject of the degree is not always important, some elite schools will only accept students who have studied in a pre-medical field such as chemistry, biology, or anatomy. Students must have performed well in those areas of study, receiving minimum overall GPAs of 2.5 and minimum subject area GPAs of 3.0. Some schools may be willing to overlook lower GPAs for non-traditional or returning students, but they may require subject matter tests to demonstrate minimum understanding of certain subject areas.
As chiropractic is a field of medicine, students need to have a minimal grounding in the life sciences and some comprehension of lab work and psychology. Many colleges will review the courses a student took as an undergraduate, looking for basic science classics like organic chemistry and biology. More specialized courses like nutrition, physical therapy, or public health may give an admitting college an expectation of the studentís interests and future areas of study. If students lack these basic science courses, colleges may be willing to offer some refresher courses to familiarize students with the tools they will need to succeed.
Once students make it to the college, there are a number of requirements they will need to fulfill in their ongoing chiropractic education. Several of the common curricular requirements include the history of chiropractic medicine, diagnostic studies, psychological assessments, record keeping and technology in the office, and ethics courses. Students can also elect to take optional clinical courses to specialize their competencies and future practice. Failure to demonstrate proficiency in any one course could greatly diminish a future doctorís ability to deliver prompt and appropriate care to patients.
On top of the classroom training that is fairly standardized across the field, students must complete an average of 1,000 hours of clinical study and field training. Students are often sent out to study and work with practicing chiropractors in much the same way medical doctors complete their residencies. This supervised training with real hands-on experience allows students to put to the test their knowledge about the human body and its interactions, as well as their ability to interact with patients in a reassuring and professional way.
The road to becoming a chiropractic doctor is a long one, requiring students to exceed their own expectations on a regular basis. While challenging, many of the rigorous programs at chiropractic colleges are designed to help students rather than hinder them in their educational journey. With the right training and dedication, passionate students can quickly become some of the most passionate and hardworking doctors.