How Many Years Do You Have to Go to School to Be a Chiropractor

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How Many Years Do You Have to Go to School to Be a Chiropractor?

Becoming a chiropractor requires a significant investment of time and dedication to education. Chiropractic is a specialized field of healthcare that focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal disorders, particularly those affecting the spine. If you have an interest in pursuing a career as a chiropractor, it is essential to understand the educational requirements involved.

To become a chiropractor, you must complete a Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) degree. This degree is obtained from an accredited chiropractic college or university. The program typically involves a combination of classroom lectures, laboratory work, and clinical experience.

So, how many years do you have to go to school to be a chiropractor? On average, it takes around eight years to become a chiropractor, including both undergraduate and graduate studies. Let’s break it down:

Undergraduate Studies:
Before applying to chiropractic school, you must first complete a minimum of three years of undergraduate coursework. Most chiropractic schools require a bachelor’s degree, but some may accept applicants who have completed at least 90 undergraduate credits. During your undergraduate studies, it is advisable to focus on pre-chiropractic or science-related courses, such as biology, chemistry, physics, and anatomy.

Chiropractic School:
Once you have completed your undergraduate studies, you can apply to a chiropractic college or university. Chiropractic programs typically last for four years, leading to a Doctor of Chiropractic degree. These programs provide in-depth knowledge and practical training in various chiropractic techniques, diagnosis, and patient management. The curriculum includes courses in anatomy, physiology, pathology, chiropractic technique, radiology, nutrition, and clinical experience.

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After graduating from chiropractic school, you must obtain a license to practice as a chiropractor. The requirements for licensure vary by state, but generally include passing the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE) exams and fulfilling any additional state-specific requirements, such as jurisprudence exams or practical exams.

Continuing Education:
Even after obtaining your license, the learning does not stop. Chiropractors are required to complete continuing education courses to stay updated with the latest advancements in the field. These courses help expand their knowledge and skills, ensuring they provide the best possible care to their patients.


1. Can I become a chiropractor straight out of high school?
No, you must complete a minimum of three years of undergraduate coursework before entering chiropractic school.

2. Do I need a bachelor’s degree to become a chiropractor?
Most chiropractic schools require a bachelor’s degree, but some may accept applicants who have completed at least 90 undergraduate credits.

3. Can I complete chiropractic school online?
No, chiropractic education involves hands-on training and clinical experience, which cannot be fully replicated in an online setting.

4. Are chiropractic programs competitive to get into?
Chiropractic programs can be competitive, so it is essential to have a strong academic background and relevant experience.

5. Can I specialize in a specific area of chiropractic?
Yes, after completing your Doctor of Chiropractic degree, you can pursue postgraduate programs or certifications in specialized areas such as sports chiropractic, pediatric chiropractic, or chiropractic neurology.

6. Is chiropractic school as challenging as medical school?
Chiropractic school is academically rigorous, but the curriculum and training differ from medical school. Chiropractors focus primarily on the musculoskeletal system and spinal health.

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7. Can I work as a chiropractor while pursuing my degree?
No, you cannot work as a chiropractor until you have obtained your license. However, many chiropractic programs offer opportunities for clinical internships.

8. Are there any prerequisites for chiropractic school?
Prerequisites vary by school, but common requirements include courses in biology, chemistry, physics, and anatomy.

9. Can I transfer credits from my undergraduate studies to chiropractic school?
Some chiropractic schools may accept transfer credits, but it depends on the institution’s policies.

10. Is chiropractic school more affordable than medical school?
Chiropractic school tuition fees can vary, but generally, they are lower than medical school tuition fees.

11. Are chiropractors considered doctors?
Yes, chiropractors are considered doctors as they hold a Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) degree.

12. Can chiropractors prescribe medication?
Chiropractors cannot prescribe medication, but they may recommend nutritional supplements or refer patients to other healthcare professionals if necessary.

In conclusion, becoming a chiropractor requires a significant commitment to education. It typically takes around eight years, including undergraduate studies and chiropractic school. The journey to becoming a chiropractor is demanding but rewarding, as you gain the knowledge and skills to help patients improve their musculoskeletal health.