Qualifications and Requirements to Become a Chiropractor

Becoming a Chiropractor

If you have a pain in your back, you may wonder if you can perform self-adjustment, or have a friend crack your back for you, instead of seeing a chiropractor. However, neither of these is a good idea. At best, they will be ineffective, and at worst, they could cause you serious injury.

The only one who should attempt to perform an adjustment on your spine is a reputable chiropractor. However, how do you know if a chiropractor is really qualified? To answer that question, It is first necessary to know what the requirements are to become a chiropractor.


A chiropractor has to have a license before he or she can practice spinal adjustment. Licensure requirements vary by state. However, a universal requirement to obtain a chiropractic license is to successfully pass a four-part test administered by the National Board of Chiropractors.

In order to keep the licensure current, chiropractors undergo continuing medical education on a regular basis. This is a standard requirement for licensed health care providers, including medical doctors.


Before taking the test, a prospective chiropractor has to receive a Doctor of Chiropractic degree from an accredited chiropractic college, of which there are 16 across the United States. A DC is not a medical degree and does not grant the graduate the ability to prescribe drugs or perform surgeries. However, medications and surgeries are usually counter to the goals of chiropractic treatment anyway, which seeks to help the body to heal itself.

Most students take four years to complete their studies at chiropractic college. An undergraduate degree is not required for admission, but many students take at least some university courses before entering a chiropractic program. Science classes are helpful to people in most health care professions, and chiropractic is no exception. Chiropractic students take classes in anatomy, biology, pathology, and physiology, to name a few examples.

Professional Organizations

Though not required to practice chiropractic, membership in a professional organization indicates that a DC adheres to rigorous standards. The largest professional chiropractic association in the United States is the American Chiropractic Association. Membership requirements include the following:

  • License to practice chiropractic
  • Graduation from an accredited college of chiropractic
  • Adherence to ACA Code of Ethics

If you are looking for a qualified chiropractor, like a Chiropractor in Silver Spring, MD, the ACA website is a good place to start. It will put you in contact with chiropractors who are licensed and meet their standards for excellence.

Thank you to the experts at AmeriWell Clinics for their input into chiropractic care.