I remember being in my early twenties and just bouncing right back up after falling off the roof of a house. No injuries, nothing hurt. No problem. But as the body gets older, it’s a lot harder to bounce back up. You develop pains here and there and kinks that just need to be straightened out. One of the few professions that can help you out with all those aches and pains is a chiropractor.
Chiropractors rely on non-medicated health that centers on the nervous system of the spine and the vertebrae to solve patients’ problems. Chiropractors use their skills to realign the vertebrae and various bones to ease stress and pain. Some consider it to be alternative medicine but the results cannot be denied. And going to a chiropractor is less expensive than seeing a doctor for medical treatment. It takes a lot of study to become a chiropractor (but not as long as to become a doctor) but chiropractors are in demand these days and one can make a good living with their own practice. Here is what you need to know in order to become a chiropractor.
Have Confident Social Skills
Anyone interested in becoming a chiropractor needs to have certain skills to make sure the chiropractic field is the right one. You need to be comfortable with people. Being a chiropractor involves a lot of physical contact. If you are uncomfortable touching strangers, you need to reconsider your career choice. Chiropractors need to have good communication skills to be able to talk to their patients and understand the exact cause of their pain. Good manual skills with your hands are also important. Although you will learn most of that in chiropractic school, it helps to already have a sensitive touch.
Get An Undergraduate Degree
Before you can get into chiropractic school, you need a four-year college degree in science with emphasis in biology, chemistry, and psychology. Some marketing classes are always a good idea because they can help later when you open your own business. State licensing requirements for college degrees vary from state to state. Some states only require two years of college to apply for a chiropractic license but since most chiropractic schools require four years anyway, you might as well get the degree. Plus, the additional classes will only benefit you later on.
Before taking college classes, check out the chiropractic schools you want to attend to find out what they require. There may be some differences and you don’t want to waste time and money on classes that you will not need later on. Also, some chiropractic schools offer pre-chiropractic programs and even some bachelor degrees.
Go To Chiropractic School
Once you graduate with a bachelor’s degree, you aren’t done. If you want to be a chiropractor, you have to go to chiropractic school. Chiropractic schools are four-year schools that offer a Doctor of Chiropractics degree. This involves over 4,000 hours of study, lad work, and supervised clinical work. Studies include anatomy, biochemistry, microbiology, and physiology. In the last half of your schooling, you get hands-on training where students get to diagnose patients and assist in treatment. To find out which schools are accredited, go to the Council on Chiropractic Education’s website for a list. After you obtain your Doctor of Chiropractics degree, you can continue your education and specialize in certain fields. You can enter into sports injuries, orthopedics, neurology, occupational therapy, nutrition, internal disorders, and diagnostic imagery.
Get Your Chiropractic License
After graduating, you need a state license in order to practice. Similar to a bar exam for lawyers or a doctor’s final exams, you cannot legally practice without it. To get a license, you need to first decide what state you want to practice in. Then you will need to take a series of national board exams as well as the state exams to obtain your license. To apply, you can contact your state board of chiropractors to find out the details on the exam.
State licensing boards also require chiropractors to participate in continuing education programs in order to keep up with license. You need to be aware of new methods that are introduced in the field of chiropractics and to stay abreast of changes in the industry.
Work Under An Experienced Chiropractor
After acquiring your license, you are going to need to find a job. Most chiropractors work in private practices but a few work within the healthcare system such as hospitals or physical therapy clinics. There are usually many positions open for chiropractors. Search for a private practice that is looking for a new partner. The ideal is to find a practice that has already been established for several years. You will want to partner with an experienced chiropractor who already has a client base. Some positions are temporary and it might take awhile to find a permanent position.
Salaries for Chiropractors
Salaries for chiropractors vary and depend largely on whether you are working within the public or private sector. A modest salary for a chiropractor is around $80,000 annual. Of course, starting out you are most likely to make less and have to build up to a higher salary. But once you have been in the field for several years you may end up making more than the average. Working in the public sector you are likely to make less than the average, particularly if your place of employment is state funded. In the private sector, you always have the option of making a higher salary.