Chiropractors are educated and trained to act as portal-of-entry, primary care physicians, focusing on the diagnosis and treatment of conditions related to the musculoskeletal system (the muscles, ligaments, and joints of the spine and extremities) and the nerves that supply them.
Completion of a Doctor of Chiropractic degree requires four to five years of professional coursework. The education of a chiropractor is similar in total classroom hours to that of a medical doctor. An average of 4,665 hours is required in chiropractic schools, compared to 4,800 hours in medical schools.
Chiropractic colleges focus on chiropractic principles, diagnosis, orthopedics, physiologic therapeutics and nutrition. Three areas – adjustive techniques/spinal analysis, physical/clinical laboratory diagnosis, and
diagnostic imaging – account for more than half of the education in clinical sciences.
During their internship, chiropractors complete two years of hands-on clinical experience focusing on adjustment as the primary procedure. The emphasis in chiropractic clinical sciences is clearly on diagnosis and adjustive technique.
A chiropractic graduate must pass national licensing board examinations before receiving a license to practice. The multi-part examination is comprised of written and practical clinical sections and is equivalent to the medical examination. These national, standardized exams promote high standards of competence and assist state licensing agencies in assessing competence.