How To Become a Chiropractor
Job Duties of a Chiropractor
Skills and Qualities of a Chiropractor
Chiropractor Salaries
Influential Professional Chiropractors
Leading Chiropractor Organizations
Top Cities for Chiropractor Jobs
Other Careers of Interest

How to become a Chiropractor

Chiropractors in the United States must graduate from an accredited chiropractic program, completing a total of at least 4,200 hours of clinical and classroom hours. In order to be accepted to a chiropractic program in the United States, applicants must have 90 semester units toward a bachelor's degree, and many in the field predict that a bachelor's degree will soon become the new minimum standard for applicants. Chiropractic students study anatomy, biochemistry, public health, physiology, microbiology, and many other related subjects. Upon graduating, a student is awarded the title of Doctor of Chiropractic, or DC.

Licensing is regulated by state, and chiropractors may only practice in the particular state or states in which they are licensed, unless that state has an agreement with the state where the chiropractor is licensed. Some state licensing boards require a bachelor's degree in addition to a chiropractic degree and most require a minimum number of hours of continuing education before licenses can be renewed. Continuing education classes and seminars are offered by many different chiropractic programs and associations.

What does a Chiropractor do?

Chiropractors are responsible for diagnosing and treating problems in the musculoskeletal system, especially as they are related to the spine. Chiropractors, or doctors of chiropractic, believe that problems in the musculoskeletal system can affect other aspects of a patient's health, especially as regards the nervous system. Chiropractic medicine works on the premise that vertebral subluxations, or vertebrae that are out of alignment, negatively affect the nervous system as well as a person's resistance to disease.

Before diagnosing or treating a patient, chiropractors take a detailed medical history and perform an examination. X-rays may be ordered, and posture analyzed. When the chiropractor has finished diagnosing the patient, he or she begins treatment. Chiropractic treatment traditionally consists of manual manipulation of the spine, although other tools can be used. Working with the idea that the body has the power to heal itself, chiropractors use a variety of alternative medicine techniques to help the body attain its natural equilibrium. Many chiropractors specialize in one area such as sports injuries, pediatrics, nutrition, or neurology.

In addition to their medical job duties, chiropractors are often responsible for running an office, with all the tasks that go along with that. Keeping patient records, hiring and overseeing employees, scheduling appointments and returning phone calls, and developing a client base are all responsibilities that a chiropractor may have.

There is now a group of chiropractors, involved in what is called the Reform school of chiropractic, who do not accept the premise of vertebral subluxations, and only use chiropractic for the treatment of muscular and skeletal problems.

What skills or qualities do I need to become a Chiropractor?

Chiropractors must have good interpersonal skills, as they will be almost constantly interacting with patients. They should have good powers of observation in order to diagnose problems and symptoms. Most chiropractors work fairly independently, so it is important that they are self-disciplined and independent. Having empathy and a sincere desire to help others is important for chiropractors as it is for all medical professionals.

How much do Chiropractors make?

The job outlook for chiropractors is supposed to be very good in the next decade, since more people are becoming comfortable with alternative medicine, and more insurance companies are covering chiropractic care. This may lead to an increase in both jobs and salaries of chiropractors in the near future.

In May 2006, the median yearly salary for a chiropractor working in the United States was $65,220. The middle fifty percent of chiropractors made between $45,710 and $96,500 per year. Most chiropractors tend to not earn much money when they first begin their practice and see their salary increase each year after that. In 2005, the mean (or average) salary for a chiropractor in the United States was $104,363.

Who are some influential professionals in this field?

Daniel David Palmer, born in 1845, founded the field of chiropractic. Palmer started by practicing magnetic healing and moved into studying anatomy and physiology. his first chiropractic patient was a janitor who had lost all of his hearing and had a large lump on his back. Palmer postulated that the deafness and the lump were related and managed to restore the janitor's hearing. He had a theory that all diseases in humans were caused by altered nerve flow, which in turn was usually caused by spinal misalignment. Palmer founded a school based on these principles, which became the science of chiropractic. This school is now called the Palmer School of Chiropractic.

What are some leading organizations in this field?

The Council on Chiropractic Education or CCE is the agency which oversees accreditation of chiropractic schools and programs in the United States. This agency develops standards for accreditation, and provides information to the public about the services offered by chiropractors.

The World Chiropractic Alliance is another organization, founded in 1989, helping the field of chiropractic around the world. The WCA defends the rights of chiropractors, informs and educates the public about chiropractic, and monitors chiropractic practices around the world.

What are the top cities for Chiropractor jobs?

Because chiropractic is gaining in popularity and acceptance with the general public, many cities are expected to have more opportunities for chiropractic careers in the near future. Currently, New York City is the top American city for chiropractic jobs, with Los Angeles, California a close second. Salt Lake City, Utah comes in third for cities with chiropractic jobs available and Phoenix, Arizona is a distant fourth place.

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