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To become a chiropractor you must attend and graduate from a chiropractic college or university that is accredited by the Council on Chiropractic Education (CCE). This involves completing at least 4,200 hours of credits in the classroom, laboratory, clinical and internship settings, which in total takes about four to five years to complete. After graduation you must pass the examination given by the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners and obtain licensure from your state. After receiving your Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) degree, there are many levels of chiropractic advancement that you can pursue in your postgraduate education. You may obtain a “diplomate” (advanced) status in a certain chiropractic field such as pediatrics, orthopedics, neurology or radiology. This involves first graduating from a two- to three-year diplomate program and then passing the board exam in a given specialty.
The study of chiropractic pediatrics involves evaluating, diagnosing and treating chiropractic-related health problems of pregnant women and children from infants to adolescence. To begin this postgraduate educational path, you first must attend a CCE-accredited chiropractic institution and complete all assignments and projects and pass their final internal examination. Next, you are eligible to take the two-part written and oral test given by the International College of Chiropractic Pediatrics. When you pass the board examination, you are awarded the Diplomate in Clinical Chiropractic Pediatrics (DICCP) credential.
Another field you can pursue advanced chiropractic skills in is orthopedics. Chiropractic orthopedics involves advanced knowledge in the anatomy of bones, muscles, joints and tendons, and physical conditions such as fibromyalgia, Lyme disease and multiple sclerosis. You can obtain a “diplomate” status and board certification in chiropractic orthopedics by first graduating from a CCE-accredited orthopedic diplomate program and then passing the certification examination given by the Academy of Chiropractic Orthopedists (ACO).
The advanced field of chiropractic neurology involves detailed knowledge of the human nervous system. Your joints and muscles are highly connected with the receptors of your nervous system. Thus, as a doctor of chiropractic neurology you would be able to evaluate and treat musculoskeletal and nervous system health problems caused by such factors as trauma, stress, diet, nutrition and oxygen intake. To become certified you must complete a CCE-accredited chiropractic neurology program and then pass the certification examination given by the American Chiropractic Neurology Board.
As a chiropractic radiologist you will have advanced knowledge of using technology and imaging devices to evaluate and treat abnormal anatomy. You will gain expertise in interpreting radiological images, write radiology reports, provide consultation services to other doctors and continue to pursue your education in radiology imaging technology. To become a board-certified chiropractic radiologist you must first attend and complete a CCE-accredited chiropractic radiology program and then pass the certification examination given by the American Chiropractic College of Radiology.
Other Levels of Advancement
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, there are several other specialty fields to consider if you want to advance your career as a chiropractor. These specialty fields include the following: sports injuries, rehabilitation, nutrition, family practice, industrial consulting and applied chiropractic sciences. You can achieve “diplomate” status in any of these fields as long as you attend and graduate from a chiropractic specialty program that is accredited by the CCE and you pass the certification exam given by the specialty’s chiropractic board.