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Chiropractic Education

Some surveys have shown that some members of the general public severely underestimate the education received by chiropractors. Aspiring doctors of chiropractic receive extensive teachings in the structure and functioning of the human body, the disease processes, and how health is achieved and maintained. There is, of course, an emphasis placed on the management of spinal disorders and their role in the overall health and wellness of the individual.

The Undergraduate Education

Similar to the requirements of medical schools, prior to entering chiropractic college students must first complete 2-4 years of premed undergraduate studies - depending on the chiropractic college and state one wishes to practice in. During this time there is an emphasis on basic sciences including organic chemistry, general chemistry, physics, biology, and psychology.

The Chiropractic Education

Upon successful completion of the undergraduate studies, those students who are accepted to a chiropractic college enter a 4-5 year academic program, which is similar in content to medical school. Course work includes an in-depth study of anatomy, physiology, pathology, neurology, radiology, biomechanics, spinal adjustive techniques, including a variety of other health-related areas.

The primary focus of the chiropractic education is to teach the student how to recognize and effectively treat a wide variety of soft tissue disorders in order to reduce pain and discomfort, allow for effective and proper healing, restore normal body biomechanics and improve overall health. In order to treat such conditions, students are taught a number of different techniques and methods including chiropractic spinal adjustive techniques. Through chiropractic spinal adjustments, the students are taught how they can positively influence the body through the nervous system using specific spinal adjustive techniques. An emphasis is also placed on other aspects of health including diet, exercise, nutrition and wellness. Moreover, students receive thorough training aimed at identifying those conditions which are beyond the chiropractor's scope of practice and which require outside medical referral.

During the academic 4-5 year program, students must successfully complete a number of national board examinations which are required for licensure. In addition, students must spend several hundred hours of internship in which they treat patients suffering from true health ailments while under professional supervision. Some schools actually begin introducing and training students to the clinical setting in just their second year of studies. This ensures that the graduating doctors of chiropractic will have all the necessary education, skills and clinical experience to provide exceptionally safe and effective chiropractic health care. Many colleges have additionally employed externship programs in which student interns assist field doctors in their private practices prior to graduation.


Upon graduation and the passing of all national board exams, students undergo state board examination for the state which they wish to practice in. If successful, the new doctor of chiropractic will receive his or her license for the practice of chiropractic in that state.

Continuing Education

Once licensed, most states require the doctor of chiropractic to attend annual seminars in order to maintain a high level of competency and keep technical skills sharp and as current as possible. Failure to do so will result in the revocation of the doctor's license.

Postgraduate Studies

Many doctors further their knowledge and skills by completing additional studies after graduation. These one to three year programs provide the information to place the doctors at the top of the health care field in specific areas. Some of the areas of study include orthopedics, neurology, radiology, sports, rehabilitation, nutrition, pediatrics and research.

Chiropractic Physician
Western States Chiropractic College 1990

Course Title Class Hours
Gross Anatomy I-III 288
Histology I, II 144
Biochemistry I, II 120
Physiology I, II 132
Embryology 24
Neuroanatomy 96
Nutrition 48
Clinical Nutrition 36
Physical Diagnosis I, II 144
Clinical Psychology 36
General Pathology I, II 120
Genetics 48
CPR/Emergency Care 24
Microbiology & Public Health 84
Clinical Microbiology & Public Health 84
Toxicology & Pharmacology 48
Dermatology & Infectious Disease 24
Clinical Lab 60
Neurophysiology 72
Gastroenterology Diagnosis/Treatment 48
Cardiorespiratory Diagnosis/Treatment 24
Clinical Pathology 36
Genitourinary Survey 60
Jurisprudence & Ethics 24
Radiological Interpretation I-V 120
Radiographic Anatomy I-III 84
Roentgenometrics I, II 24
Soft Tissue Radiographic Interpretation I, II 48
Radiographic Technique I, II 120
Minor Surgery/Proctology 24
Obstetrics 36
Patient/Practice Management I-IV 108
Adjustive Technique I-IX 396
Clinical Pediatrics 24
Clinical Geriatrics 24
Spinal Anatomy 24
Biomechanics & Palpation I-IV 264
Neuromusculoskeletal DX/TX I-IV 276
Correlative & Differential Diagnosis 48
Physiotherapy I, II 120
Narrative Report Writing 24
Clinical Research Methodology I, II 60
Principles of Chiro.Philosophy I-IV 120

Clinic Observation I-III 72
Clinic Phase I, II, III-A, B, C, D 822
Optional hours not included in totals.

Medical Physician
Oregon Health Sciences University 1990

Course Title Class Hours
Gross Anatomy 190
Histology 84
Medical Biochemistry 145
Human Physiology 149
Developmental Biology 40
Neuroanatomy 84
Nutrition 20
Ophthalmology 36
Otolaryngology 72
Medical Psychology 49
Introduction to Psychiatry 43
General Pathology 68
Medical Genetics 32
Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation
Introduction to Medical Microbiology 90
Introduction to Public Health 26
Public Health and Epidemiology 40
Immunology 35
Pharmacology 72
Pathophysiology of Skin, Bone & C.T. 69
Blood/Reticuloendothelial Pathophysiology 117
Pathophysiology of the CNS/Muscle and
Special Sensory Organs 158
Neurology and Neurosurgery 216
Gastrointestinal Pathophysiology 123
Respiratory Pathophysiology 79
Cardiovascular Pathophysiology 117
Endocrine Pathophysiology 43
Reproductive Pathophysiology 55
Renal Pathophysiology 117
Law and Medicine 24
Radiographic Diagnosis 24
Child Health (CON 620, lecture) 48

Patient Evaluation (413, 611) 192
Third-Year Medicine 432
Child Health 384
Psychiatry Clinical Clerkship 216
Obstetrics and Gynecology 216
Surgery 432
Special Programmed Instruction 540
Optional hours not included in totals.

Data Compiled by: Glenn F. Gumaer, B.S., D.C., 1240 N. Riverside Ave., Medford, OR 97501