Becoming a chiropractor was an easy decision for me. As soon as I saw what chiropractic could do, I was hooked! Every chiropractor has a different story as to why they chose chiropractic, but the steps to get there are pretty much the same. Here are the 10 steps to becoming a chiropractor…
RESEARCH CHIROPRACTIC SCHOOLS
There are currently 17 chiropractic schools in the United States. That is a lot of schools to choose from! Researching schools will help you decide not only where you want to go to school geographically, but what type of chiropractic education interests you: evidence-based or philosophy-based. Schools like Logan University, Northwestern University of Health Sciences, and Texas Chiropractic College are more evidence-based, while Palmer College of Chiropractic, Parker University, and Life College of Chiropractic are more philosophy-based.
COMPLETE YOUR UNDERGRADUATE EDUCATION
Most chiropractic schools require a Bachelor’s Degree to apply; specifically, one that focuses on the sciences. However, some schools will allow you to earn a Bachelor’s Degree while in chiropractic school as long as you have enough pre-requisite credits to apply. Pre-requisite credits include biology, inorganic and organic chemistry, biochemistry, anatomy and physiology, and physics, just to name a few.
SPEND TIME WITH SUCCESSFUL CHIROPRACTORS
It is always important to observe different chiropractors before deciding to become one. Understanding what the profession requires physically, mentally, and emotionally as well as what it takes to run a practice is instrumental in your decision to become a chiropractor. Until you see it first hand, you will never know.
APPLY TO CHIROPRACTIC SCHOOL
Once you’ve decided that chiropractic is right for you and you’ve chosen a school, you must apply. One of the great advantages to applying for chiropractic school is that there is no entrance exam to pass in order to apply. Don’t let that fool you though, the first year of chiropractic school will weed out anyone who is not worthy.
WORK HARD IN ALL OF YOUR CLASSES
All classes in chiropractic school are difficult. It is a medical school after all. But it is important to do the best you can do throughout school because your classes will prepare you for your National Board exams throughout your education; not to mention patient care including diagnosis and treatment. Chiropractic school is choreographed perfectly if you can succeed in all classes, however, poor performance in one class can derail your education by setting you back a term.
GET INVOLVED IN THE PROFESSION EARLY
Chiropractic schools offer a multitude of clubs and organizations you can join during your education. Take advantage of that! Find something you are interested in whether it's politics, sports, rehab, pediatrics, etc, and get involved. Join the club on campus and participate. Travel to the annual conference, learn and network with chiropractors in that specialty. I promise those connections will come in handy as graduation approaches. They definitely did for me.
FOCUS ON PATIENT CARE IN-CLINIC
Once you reach the level of your chiropractic education where you are able to treat patients, whether student or outpatient, make sure you focus on the care of your patients. It is so easy once you reach the end of your education to get complacent. Don’t! Stay focused and work hard until the end. Don’t just sit in the clinic and goof off with your classmates or watch YouTube. Really invest in your patients and the assignments necessary to complete your clinic requirements. Trust me…it’s worth it. It will make you a better doctor.
PASS NATIONAL BOARDS
Throughout your chiropractic education, you will be required to take and pass different parts of the national board exam. Take preparations seriously! Sure you can continue through school without having passed boards, but you will not become licensed until you pass all 5 parts. Follow step 5 and preparation is much easier but still necessary.
DO AN INTERNSHIP/PRECEPTORSHIP
No matter how much you focus on your clinical education in school, it still doesn’t prepare you for clinical practice in the real world. Finding an internship or preceptorship will adequately prepare you for real practice. You will see complex cases and how to manage them. You will learn how to run all aspects of a chiropractic practice from front desk to insurance processing to chiropractic assisting to actual patient care. Not to mention, they can potentially lead to a job after graduation!