Chiropractic & Physical Therapy
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All degrees in chiropractic are considered to be first professional degrees. This means that the individuals are adequately prepared for a particular profession and have the competency and skill required for that profession. A D.C. is considered a "primary health care" provider in the United States and Canada. This implies that a patient does not require a referral to seek treatment from a chiropractor. In this sense they are considered a "portal of entry" to the healthcare system.
Also known as a "chiropractic doctor", "chiropractor", or "chiropractic physician", a Doctor of Chiropractic degree differs from the Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) and Doctor of Osteopathic (D.O.) degrees in scope and practice. In chiropractic, the practitioner health care provider seeks to diagnose, treat, correct, and prevent neurological, skeletal, or soft tissue dysfunction by primarily employing manual and conservative therapies; the most frequent being spinal and other articular adjustments and manipulations.
Common prerequisite classes include those of the biological, chemical, & physical sciences, including: human anatomy and physiology, embryology, genetics, microbiology, immunology, cellular biology, exercise physiology, kinesiology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, analytical chemistry, biochemistry, nutrition, nuclear medicine, physics, biomechanics, and statistics. Chiropractic programs require at least 4,200 hours of combined classroom, laboratory, and clinical experience. The last two years stress courses in manipulation and spinal adjustment and provide clinical experience in physical and laboratory diagnosis, orthopedics, neurology, geriatrics, and nutrition.
To qualify for licensure, graduates must pass at least four (NBCE parts I - IV), and in some jurisdictions five (NBCE Physiotherapy), examinations from the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners and complete State specific requirements; most State boards require 4 years of undergraduate education, and bachelor’s degree. All licensing boards in the US require the completion of a 4-year program at an accredited college leading to the DC degree.Once licensed, most States require chiropractors to attend 12–50 hours of continuing education annually. Chiropractic colleges also offer postdoctoral training in chiropractic neurology, orthopedics, sports injuries, nutrition, industrial consulting, rehabilitation, radiology, family practice, pediatrics, and applied chiropractic sciences. After such training, chiropractors may take exams leading to "diplomate" status in a given specialty including orthopedics, neurology and radiology.
The Chiropractic Profession
Chiropractic education trains future Doctors of Chiropractic (DC), also referred to as "Chiropractors". In the USA, the typical criteria to enter a Doctorate program in Chiropractic is to hold a Bachelor's Degree focusing on Biology or Science. The entry criteria, structure, teaching methodology and nature of Chiropractic programs offered at Chiropractic schools vary around the world. In general, the World Health Organization lists three potential educational paths involving full‐time chiropractic education across the globe. This includes: 4 years of pre-requisite training in basic sciences at university level followed by a 4 year full‐time Doctorate program; 8 years are required in order to become a Chiropractor.