Medical Professions Resources Directory: Chiropractor
How to Become a Chiropractor
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The chiropractic career is the second largest healing profession in the world. Chiropractics help their patients heal their body aches and pains. A chiropractics job is to misalignment of spinal vertebrae or irritation of the spinal nerves can alter many important body functions by affecting the nervous system. Chiropractics take patient history, conduct, physical examinations, diagnose and give treatments for illness and injury. Most chiropractics just x-rays to help locate the source of patients' difficulties and also to rule out fractures or disease.
Chiropractics use manual adjustment treatments especially for spinal column. They use other therapies including massage, water, light, ultrasound, electric, cold and heat to aid in the healing of the muscles, joints and nerves. They could make dietary and nutritional recommendations, advise exercise and sleeping habits and also suggest and apply the use of support like straps, tapes, bandages, and braces if necessary.
There are some chiropractics who specialize in athletic injuries, neurology, orthopedics, nutrition and internal disorders. Others specialize in taking and interpreting x-rays and other diagnostic images. Chiropractics do not perform surgery or prescribe drugs. If a patient is discovered to have other injuries or diseases outside the chiropractic field then the chiropractic must refer his or her patient to the appropriate health care provider. Chiropractics work in private offices with other health professionals or in multi-doctor clinics. Chiropractics could have either basic equipment or full and modern therapy and x-ray equipment. Some chiropractics treat their patients in hospitals. A practitioner does not need a great amount of physical strength, but they should have good manual dexterity, health, energy, physical endurance, and the ability to diagnose and treat their patients.
The number of Chiropractors is expected to grow faster than average through 2005. The State Board of Chiropractic Examiners reports that there were approximately 10,500 Chiropractors holding active licenses in California in 1998. About 70 percent of active Chiropractors are in solo practice with the remainder in group practice or working with other Chiropractors. A small number teach, conduct research at chiropractic colleges, or work in hospitals and for health maintenance organizations (HMOs).
The educational standards for chiropractic colleges require that all students seeking admission furnish proof that they have completed a minimum of two years of undergraduate education. A few states require a four-year bachelor's degree. Pre-professional course requirements include English or communications, psychology, social sciences or humanities, biological science, general or inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, and physics. Most colleges have additional requirements.
A minimum of four academic years of study at an accredited chiropractic college, including practice in a teaching clinic, is required for the Doctor of Chiropractic degree. The curriculum that must be completed should not be less than 4,400 hours. Courses must be presented in the proper sequence to provide sufficient depth to adequately prepare the student for professional practice.
Courses offered in chiropractic colleges include human anatomy, biochemistry, physiology, microbiology, pathology, public health, clinical and laboratory diagnosis, gynecology, obstetrics, pediatrics, geriatrics, dermatology, psychology, dietetics, orthopedics, physical therapy, first aid, spinal analysis, principles and practice of chiropractic, adjustive technique, and other appropriate subjects.
The Board of Chiropractic Examiners regulates the practice of chiropractic and grants licenses to Chiropractors who meet educational requirements and pass the state board examination. The board also requires practitioners to complete annual postgraduate study for license renewal. Currently, the State of California requires that candidates complete at least two years of pre-chiropractic education plus 4,400 hours of course work in a recognized chiropractic school or have a valid license from another state.
Chiropractic requires keen observation to detect physical abnormalities and considerable hand dexterity, but not unusual strength or endurance. Persons desiring to become Chiropractors should be able to work independently and handle responsibility. The ability to work with detail is important. Empathy and understanding are desirable qualities for dealing effectively with patients.
The nationwide median wage for Chiropractors is about $70,000 a year. The average workweek is about 40 hours; this ordinarily includes some evening and week-end hours. Self-employed Chiropractors can set their own hours.
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