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11258 IL-59 #2 Naperville, IL 60564

How qualified is your Chiropractor?

Degree Requirements

These basic educational requirements for graduates of both chiropractic and medical schools show that although each has its own specialties, the hours of classroom instruction are about the same. (The class hours for basic science comparisons were compiled and averaged following a review of curricula of 18 chiropractic colleges and 22 medical schools.)

Minimum Required Hours

Chiropractic College Medical School
520 Anatomy/Embryology 508
420 Physiology 326
205 Pathology 401
300 Chemistry/Biochemistry 325
130 Bacteriology 114
420 Diagnosis 324
320 Neurology 112
65 Psychology/Psychiatry 144
65 Obstetrics & Gynecology 198
217 X-ray 148
225 Orthopedics 156
2,887 Total Hours for Degree 2,756

College Faculty

The U.S. Department of Education, through the separate accrediting agencies for chiropractic and medical schools, dictates the credentials of faculty members. In both chiropractic and medical schools, the classes for the first two academic years are usually basic sciences.

Faculty members in the basic sciences divisions are either Ph.D.s in each subject taught (such as microbiology or biochemistry), or D.C.s, M.D.s, or D.O.s who also have bachelors, masters, or Ph.D. degrees in the basic science subjects being taught. Classes in the clinical sciences division are usually taught by D.C.s, M.D.s, or D.O.s.

In many chiropractic colleges, M.D.s or D.O.s are permitted to teach certain courses, such as laboratory diagnosis. However, D.C.s must teach courses in which M.D.s or D.O.s don't have sufficient education or practical clinical experience.

Some chiropractic colleges have active research departments in which researchers conduct both basic science and clinical studies. The subjects of study range from biomechanics to biochemistry.

Traditionally, chiropractic colleges have minuscule research funding compared to medical schools.  However, critics typically fail to note that minimal funding and lack of funding altogether has been a direct result of the medical & pharmaceutical industries successfully lobbying to block funding of studies to chiropractic colleges for decades.

Some medical schools have D.C.s as full-time faculty members. The University of Colorado School of Medicine, for example, has a full-time chiropractic radiologist as a faculty member.

Dr. James P. Barassi, a chiropractor, is Research Fellow in Medicine at Harvard Medical School. D.C.s occasionally teaches part-time or special classes through medical schools.

It's not unusual for D.C.s and M.D.s to co-teach both medical and chiropractic audiences. Most often, chiropractic physicians and medical neurologists or neurosurgeons co-teach.

Licensing and Postgraduate Education

The chiropractic physician must pass four levels of national board exams and a physical therapy exam to be eligible to sit for state board examinations. State board exams involve both written examination and oral practical exams involving clinical practice and x-ray interpretation.

After graduation, the DC may undergo postgraduate training to become board certified as a chiropractic radiologist, neurologist, orthopedist, internist, family practitioner, sports physician, rehabilitation specialists, clinical nutritionist, or pain management specialist. Medical physicians also may become board certified.

Options such as surgery are open to medical and osteopathic physicians. Board certification is not necessary for either type of physician to become licensed and to practice. Chiropractic physicians are required to obtain continuing education units each year for license renewal.

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