Being a chiropractor can be very rewarding and very lucrative. As you may know, chiropractors are licensed professionals who treat injuries to the neck and back. They’re trained in taking X-rays and other diagnostic tests as well as perform a number of therapies and counseling patients on lifestyle.
You’ll need to have a high school diploma or a GED to start with and take your college entrance exam (ACT/SAT). This will allow you to enter college.
You’ll need a four year bachelor’s degree and then apply to to a chiropractic program. Your undergraduate coursework needs to have a number of science courses such as physics, math, chemistry and biology. So you’ll need to be good in science.
Once you have been accepted into a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) program, you’ll take 4 more years of schooling. The first and second years will expose you to anatomy and physiology, biology and a wide range of other courses. Your last two years will expose you to supervised clinical training in spinal manipulation and diagnosis. Then you can do a residency when you graduate chiropractic school and study different specialties that are available of which you will probably specialize in one of them such as pediatrics or sports injuries.
Next on the agenda is getting licensed. In the U.S., all states require a chiropractor to be licensed. Know that these requirements vary from state to state so check with your state. Your program counselor can help you with this. You will also have to take a series of tests which include national and local exams depending on what state you studied in. If for some reason you decide to move, you’ll have to become re-certified in that state.
Once you have completed all the above, you can look for employment. You can start your own private practice or join an already existing practice. It’s also possible to work in a hospital or clinic or even a doctor’s office. A chiropractor’s job is demanding so you must be physically fit. You’ll be realigning joints which can take some man power. You’ll work at least a forty hour week and be on your feet most of the time. You need well developed interpersonal skills as you will be working with patients closely and many of them will be in pain. You’ll need a really good bedside manner.
You’ll be pleased to know that the job growth rate has been estimated at 30 percent from 2010 to 2020. More and more people are seeking chiropractic services than ever before.
If you decide to open your own practice, you’ll need to know about managing your business, overseeing staff and marketing yourself. Hopefully you have taken this kind of coursework in your graduate years. If opening your own practice is an after thought, you need to seriously consider picking up business management courses as soon as possible. It might be better for you to work with an established practice and gain practical experience there and then move on.
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Susan has studied at the University of Texas Medical Branch Marine Biomedical Institute in Galveston, Texas and the University of South Florida in Tampa and received a Ph.D. in Biology with a major in Neuroscience and minors in physics and mathematics. Area of research is in brain transplantation and behavior testing with twenty years of teaching experience. Fields of interest include the physical basis of memory and learning, brain repair and regeneration as well as neuro-development. As an educator, has taught thousands of students at the college level in anatomy and physiology, biology, microbiology, marinebiology, nutrition, communications, radiography, ultrasound, mathematics and physics. She enjoys reading current scientific literature and simplifying the material making it readily available to the public.