Deciding to become a doctor of chiropractic (DC) is a major life choice and one that isn’t entered into lightly.
However, once you’ve made the commitment to a career committed to helping others achieve higher levels of musculoskeletal health, your decision-making process doesn’t stop there.
You also have to decide where to go to school to earn the degree necessary to engage in this type of profession. Why does school matter?
Why chiropractic school of choice matters
One reason school of choice is important is future income potential.
For instance, one Nerd Wallet study found that the average income for those graduating from a top-20 undergraduate program was $61,424, whereas the average income for those graduating from all programs combined was $43,700. At almost $18,000 per year difference, over the course of a 40-year career, this could total almost $709,000 in earnings.
In an editorial published by The New York Times, author Jacques Steinberg notes that some of these types of studies fail to consider other factors associated with earning a degree, thus they cannot be taken on face value alone.
Yet, income potential aside, many readers responded to the editorial, sharing how school of choice has other impacts as well. For example, many commenters mentioned how it affects students’ attitude and drive, ultimately impacting the person’s life (and career) post-college.
One such commenter indicated that she attended a well-known, prestigious school and shared that her school helped her achieve more. Specifically, she wrote, “The people I met at those places were amazing-talented, driven, high-achievers. It pushed me to do my best.”
Factors to consider when choosing the best chiropractic school for you
Because everyone’s idea of what constitutes a “top school” is different, doing your own research can not only help you decide which chiropractic school is the best, but, perhaps more importantly, which one is the best for you.
Here are some factors to consider when looking at each one:
- School accreditation: Before spending your hard-earned cash on a chiropractic degree, it’s important to make sure the school you attend is accredited, which means that it is recognized officially within the profession. The Council on Chiropractic Education (CCE) has a list of CCE accredited programs and institutions on their website. Check it out before narrowing your choices.
- Graduation Rate: The Open Education Database (OEDb) states that a school’s graduation rate “is an indicator of success of a college’s student in attaining their educational goals.” Therefore, attending a college with a higher graduation rate means that more students are able to achieve their education-based objectives, increasing the odds that you will do the same. Some of the top schools, according to OEDb stats, have graduation rates of 80 percent or more.
- School Location: Chiropractic classes differ from those offered in many other fields in that labs are a large portion of the required coursework. This makes school location an important consideration due to spending a decent amount of time on campus. While this may not be a big deal if you’re fresh out of high school or able to move to attend the school of your choice, it may limit your choices if you’re established in your current geographical area and/or unable to relocate for school-related reasons.
- School cost. Another factor to consider when looking at chiropractic schools is cost. If it doesn’t fit into your budget, there’s no sense in keeping it on your list. This requires looking not only at total expenses, but also financial aid opportunities available at that particular school. A phone call or visit to its financial aid office can help you decide whether you can afford that specific program or not.
- Student feedback. You can find pros and cons about most any chiropractic school, but sometimes it’s nice to hear from current and former students to get their input. One way to do this is to talk to chiropractors in your area and ask about the schools they went to. You can also search via online college review sites such as StudentsReview and College Times.as they offer this type of feedback.
Choosing the right chiropractic school can help you better achieve your professional goals. Looking at all of these factors places you one step closer to selecting the best one for you.
Chiropractic school requirements and prerequisites
At last report, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicated that there were 47,400 chiropractors in the U.S. To put this number in perspective, Statista reports that there are currently 1.08 million doctors of medicine in the U.S. So, for every 23 practicing doctors, there is only one chiropractor.
The BLS also shares that this particular profession is expected to grow 12 percent between 2016 and 2026. This is a rate that is reported as being faster than the national average, which is currently around 7 percent for all occupations combined.
That makes now a great time to get into the field of chiropractic as many people will be looking for these types of services in the years to come. However, prior to being accepted into chiropractic school, there are certain requirements, or prerequisites, you must meet.
Here are a few to consider:
- Previously earned educational credits. The Association of Chiropractic Colleges (ACC) reports that “most chiropractic programs require that applicants have at least three years of undergraduate education.” It goes on to say that “an increasing number require a bachelor’s degree,” which is traditionally a four-year degree program.
- Coursework in life and physical sciences. The three years (roughly 90 semester hours) of study required for a chiropractic degree must include a certain number of classes in the science and humanities areas according to the ACC. The current amount is 24 semester hours.
- Minimum cumulative GPA. To qualify for entrance into a chiropractic program, the ACC reports that applicant’s cumulative grade point average (GPA) must be a 3.00 or higher. College Board breaks GPA down into easy-to-understand terms by saying that this is the equivalent of having a “B” average—or an 83 to 86 percent—in all of your classes combined.
- Lab experience. Gaining access to chiropractic school also requires that you’ve spent some time in the lab. In fact, out of the 24-semester hours in life and physical courses required, “at least half of these courses will have a substantive laboratory component” according to the ACC.
While the ACC spells out these requirements for admittance into most any chiropractic school, it’s important to remember that each individual institution sets its own guidelines regarding prerequisites necessary for application and admittance into its chiropractic program.
Therefore, it’s important to check with your school of choice specifically to ensure you meet its minimum application requirements.
The difference between a chiropractic school and a chiropractic college
Before you can pursue your dream of practicing chiropractic care, you must first obtain your doctor of chiropractic (DC) degree.
One option for doing such is to earn this higher level of education by attending a chiropractic school. The other is to enroll in and graduate from a chiropractic college.
What’s the difference?
Though chiropractic school and college sound like the same thing, they are actually two very different entities.
Degree program offering
For starters, a chiropractic school is an educational institution that, in addition to offering a DC degree, offers additional, non-chiropractic degree programs as well.
For example, Parker University in Dallas, Texas offers an on-campus Doctor of Chiropractic program. However, students can earn other degrees at Parker, some of which include computer information systems, health information technology, massage therapy, diagnostic sonography, and more.
Palmer College of Chiropractic, on the other hand—which has campuses in Davenport, Iowa; San Jose, California; and Port Orange, Florida—is a chiropractic college because it offers only degrees associated with the chiropractic profession. For instance, in addition to the DC degree, students at Palmer can also earn a Bachelor of Science in General Science.
Colleges that specialize in chiropractic (and only chiropractic) have more resources to put toward this field, making it easier to stay updated and current with the latest advancements and innovations.
This is much different than for schools, as these entities must split their efforts—and their financial resources—among all of their available degree programs.
That’s not to say that chiropractic colleges are better than schools, as that isn’t necessarily the case. It is more so to point out that chiropractic colleges are often more specialized because that is their one and only area of expertise.
Another main difference between chiropractic schools and chiropractic colleges is the time it takes to earn your degree.
If you go to a chiropractic school, for example, you’ll likely spend four years earning a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree and an additional four years earning your DC.
However, if you go to a chiropractic college, you can potentially cut one full year off your educational requirements, which means graduating in seven years as opposed to eight.
Earning your DC degree in seven years instead of eight helps not only saves time, but also money as living expenses, books, and fees can cost as much as $25,000 per year according to CostHelper.
Add to that the amount of money you stand to make your first year in practice—the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the 2017 median pay for chiropractors is $68,640 per year—and that one year difference can put you almost $94,000 ahead.
It’s important to stress that, while there are some benefits of attending a college that specializes in chiropractic, there are many reputable, top-notch schools that offer DC degrees.
Therefore, these are simply factors to consider when deciding which type of institution to attend. Factors that can help you make the best decision for you.
Fastest Chiropractic Program: A Shortcut to Your Dream Career
When it comes to pursuing a career in chiropractic care, many aspiring healthcare professionals are eager to find the quickest and most efficient path to become a chiropractor. The demand for chiropractic services has been steadily increasing, and as a result, the desire to enter this field has grown as well. In this article, we will explore the options available for those looking to embark on their journey to becoming a chiropractor, including the fastest chiropractic program, the top chiropractic school, the shortest path to licensure, and whether it’s easy to get into chiropractic school.
#1 Chiropractic School: Navigating Your Way to Excellence
If you’re considering a career in chiropractic care, you’ll want to start with the best education possible. Many chiropractic programs exist worldwide, but some institutions stand out as the top choices for prospective chiropractors. When it comes to being the #1 chiropractic school, it’s essential to consider factors such as accreditation, faculty expertise, clinical training, and overall reputation. A top-tier chiropractic program provides students with a solid foundation in the field, making it an attractive choice for those looking to excel in their careers.
Shortest Chiropractic Program: A Quick Route to Practicing Chiropractic Care
For many individuals, time is of the essence when it comes to pursuing a chiropractic career. While the shortest chiropractic program may seem tempting, it’s important to remember that the duration of your education can directly impact your proficiency and knowledge as a chiropractor. Nevertheless, there are accelerated chiropractic programs that condense the traditional coursework to get you licensed and practicing more quickly. These programs are ideal for those who have prior healthcare experience or are transitioning from another healthcare field.
Quickest Way to Become a Chiropractor: A Fast-Track Approach
If you’re eager to become a chiropractor as quickly as possible, there are several strategies you can employ. One common approach is to opt for a chiropractic program that offers a shorter duration, such as a three-year program, instead of the traditional four-year program. Another option is to combine undergraduate coursework with chiropractic studies, which can shave off some time from your overall educational journey. However, it’s essential to ensure that any shortcuts you take still meet the requirements for licensure in your area.
Is It Easy to Get into Chiropractic School: The Admission Challenge
Getting into chiropractic school, whether it’s the #1 choice or not, can be a competitive process. Chiropractic programs typically have specific admission requirements that include prerequisites like undergraduate coursework in biology, chemistry, and anatomy. You’ll also need to take the Chiropractic College Admission Test (CCAT) or other standardized tests, which evaluate your readiness for chiropractic education.
While it might not be “easy” to gain admission to chiropractic school, the process is certainly manageable if you are well-prepared. It’s crucial to have a strong academic background, relevant extracurricular experiences, and a well-crafted application that highlights your passion for chiropractic care. Each school may have its unique requirements, so researching and understanding what they seek in applicants can give you an edge in the admissions process.
In conclusion, becoming a chiropractor is a rewarding and fulfilling career choice, but the path to get there can vary in terms of duration and ease of entry. It’s important to carefully consider your options, whether you’re looking for the fastest chiropractic program, the #1 chiropractic school, the shortest educational path, or the quickest way to licensure. Your journey to becoming a chiropractor should align with your goals, abilities, and dedication to providing quality healthcare services to your future patients.