(revised 1 Feb. 2008)
Overview of Chiropractic education
Today there are an estimated 50,000 doctors of chiropractic with over 20 million patients in the U.S., making chiropractic the second largest of the three primary health care providers -- medicine (allopathy), chiropractic and osteopathy -- and by far the largest of natural health care providers. As a school of healing, chiropractic may be defined as the diagnosis and treatment of human ailments without the use of drugs, medicine or incisive surgery. It is a drugless, non-surgical form of therapy utilizing manipulation of the spine and other articulations, clinical nutrition, physiological therapeutics, counseling, hygiene and sanitation in the prevention and treatment of disease. Doctors of Chiropractic (D.C.) are primary care physicians who specialize in the treatment of neuro-musculo-skeletal disorders.
The practice of chiropractic is regulated by statute in all fifty states. Education and licensure requirements include between three and four years of Baccalaureate level coursework followed by the D.C. degree earned from a chiropractic college accredited by the Council on Chiropractic Education (CCE). Accredited chiropractic education at a school of chiropractic typically consists of 10 trimesters of 15 weeks each. If a student pursues studies continuously year round (Fall, Spring, Summer) they can earn their D.C. degree in 3 years and 4 months. Students may take one or two terms off in the first five trimesters. In general, the first five trimesters represent the pre-clinical curriculum in the basic sciences with a concluding five trimester curriculum in the clinical sciences and internships in associated college clinics. A license must be obtained from the state in which the individual chooses to practice.
The total cost of chiropractic school (2008 prices), including fees, transportation, room and board, tuition and licensing, would be on average $100,000.
Starting salaries for a person with an associate position in an established Doctor of Chiropractic practice in 2008 are typically in the low 40K range. Established chiropractors may earn on average 100K per year.
Regions where the need for chiropractors is the greatest include Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and the mountain states (Oregon, Washington, Colorado, etc.).
Preliminary coursework prior to application to a chiropractic college
Chiropractic colleges typically require a minimum of 90 semester hours of college credit before one can apply for admission. Three schools in this region, Palmer College (Davenport, IA), Northwestern Health Sciences University (Bloomington, MN), and Logan College (Chesterfield, MO), fall into this category. However, National University of Health Sciences (Lombard, IL) mandates a Bachelor’s degree. It is essential that you contact the chiropractic college to which you wish to apply as early as possible in your college career in order to determine whether they require a minimum of 90 semester credits. There is a trend in which schools are increasing their requirements. Furthermore, the vast majority of applicants to chiropractic colleges have earned significantly more than the minimum number of prerequisite credits.
Listed below are the specific courses at UW-Whitewater that will meet the minimum prerequisite requirements for admission to the accredited colleges of chiropractic in the United States. Note that all science courses taken must be designed for science majors. Survey courses (e.g., BIOLOGY 120) will not be accepted.
English / Communication
|ENGLISH 101||Freshman English I||3 units|
|ENGLISH 102||Freshman English II||3 units|
|SPEECH 110||Fundamentals of Speech||3 units|
|PSYCH 211||Introductory Psychology||3 units|
|BIOLOGY 141*||Biology I: Plant Focus||4 units|
|BIOLOGY 142*||Biology II: Animal Focus||4 units|
*Biology I and Biology II are prerequisites for all other biology courses. Two or more additional unduplicated courses in anatomy, physiology, cell biology, zoology and microbiology are highly recommended.
|CHEM 102||Introductory Chemistry I||5 units|
|CHEM 104||Introductory Chemistry II||5 units|
|CHEM 251||Organic Chemistry Lec. I||3 units|
|CHEM 252||Organic Chemistry Lec. II||3 units|
|CHEM 261||Organic Chemistry Lab I||2 units|
|CHEM 262||Organic Chemistry Lab II||2 units|
#Only offered in spring semesters. Biochemistry (CHEM 456) may be
substituted for this course.
|Physics Lecture & Lab I||5 units (co-requisite MATH 152)|
|PHYSICS 141@||Physics Lecture & Lab II||5 units|
@ Notes: Kinesiology (PEPROF 371, 3 u), statistics (MATH 230, 3 u) or exercise physiology (PEPROF 471, 3 u) may be substituted for second semester physics lecture/lab. The calculus-based physics sequence (PHYSICS 180 & 181 series) may be substituted for PHYSICS 140 & 141. This has a co-requisite of MATH 253.
HUMANITIES / SOCIAL SCIENCES REQUIRED: 15 units
Recommended courses for the Humanities include : Classics, Communication, Criminal Justice, Education, English, Fine Arts or Drama (history or appreciation only), Literature, Philosophy, Religion and Foreign Languages. Recommended courses for the Social Sciences include: Anthropology, Sociology, Political Science, History, Geography, Government and Psychology.
Students are urged to contact the office of admissions at the chiropractic institution they are considering attending to check whether a particular course is a humanities or social science course. The list does not include courses in mathematics, computer science, business, or physical education. Note that this requirement can be met by completing the UW-W general education requirements.
OTHER RECOMMENDED COURSEWORK
Advanced Science Classes – In addition to the prerequisite science classes
Business Classes – Marketing, Management, Advertising, Business Administration
Communication Classes – Speech, Mass Communications
See the document “UW-W Pre-Chiropractic Elective Courses” (http://facstaff.uww.edu/andersos/chiro_electives_3Jan04.htm) for a listing of specific recommendations.
Should I earn my Bachelor’s Degree from UW-Whitewater prior to enrolling in chiropractic college?
It really depends on your specific needs and plans. Several factors must be considered before coming up with the best answer for your particular situation. First and foremost, it is strongly recommended that you earn a Bachelor's degree from either UW-Whitewater or from the chiropractic college you choose to attend, provided they have a B.S. option. The reasoning for this is a number of states, Wisconsin included, require that you must hold the B.S. degree, in addition to the Doctor of Chiropractic degree, before issuing a license to practice. Moreover, a small number of states require that the bachelor's degree be granted prior to matriculation in a school of chiropractic. Accordingly, it is imperative that you confirm all requirements with the licensing board of the state in which you desire to be licensed early in your undergraduate career! A list of the states currently requiring a baccalaureate degree may be found through the Federation of Chiropractic Licensing Boards listed near the end of this document. Be aware that this list is subject to change.
In summary, the answer to the question of whether you should earn a degree from UW-W prior to entering chiropractic college is: "It depends". If you know where you ultimately want to live and work, and if that state does not require that you earn the bachelor's degree prior to matriculation, then it is not necessary to graduate from UW-W. Just stay here long enough to get your prerequisites completed. However, if you want to be licensed in Florida, Kansas, Maryland, or Rhode Island, you must earn an undergraduate degree before beginning chiropractic college.
My recommendation is to obtain your B.S. degree before starting chiropractic school. By first completing your undergraduate degree, you will not have any future problems with licensure requirements if you should change your mind about where you want to live. Furthermore, you will not have to take any additional courses above and beyond those in the chiropractic curriculum since you will already possess the bachelor's degree. Last but not least, you will be better prepared to handle the rigorous chiropractic curriculum by completing your undergraduate training first.
What should I choose as a major if I plan to earn a degree from UW-Whitewater?
First of all, be aware that UW-Whitewater does not offer a degree in "Pre-Chiropractic". Students just make this declaration in order to provide them with the appropriate advising. Basically, you could major in anything you desire (e.g., art, history, chemistry, biological sciences, physics, etc.). All that ultimately matters is that you complete the prerequisites previously listed. Most students choose to major in Biological Sciences. This major would likely provide the most comprehensive background in terms of preparation for chiropractic school. There are two recommended options within this major.
- Option 1: Biological Sciences major (Cell/Physiology track)/Physical Sciences minor. For particulars, see http://academics.uww.edu/biology/checklists/CellBio.html and http://www.uww.edu/Catalog/02-04/LnS/physics.html#Major (scroll to the Physical Science minor near the end of the document) or the UW-Whitewater Undergraduate Catalog 2002-2004, pp. 169 and 215.
- Option 2: Biological Sciences major (Cell/Physiology track)/Chemistry minor. For particulars, see http://academics.uww.edu/biology/checklists/CellBio.html and http://www.uww.edu/Catalog/02-04/LnS/chemistry.html#Majors (scroll to the Chemistry minor near the end of the document) or the UW-Whitewater Undergraduate Catalog 2002-2004, pp. 169 and 175.
Note that for the Cell/Physiology track, it is possible to substitute BIOLOGY 361 & 362 (Human anatomy and physiology I & II) for BIOLOGY 341 (Animal Development) and BIOLOGY 345 (Animal Physiology).
Three plus three articulation agreement (Palmer College only)
A separate document describing this program is available. Articulation agreements are statements of equivalency between colleges with regard to courses, programs, or whole majors. Essentially a student will spend three years at Whitewater and then three and one-third years at Palmer. Upon successful completion of the approved equivalent courses between Palmer and UW-W, as described in this document, credits will be transferred back to UW-W, converted to semester credits, and applied toward a Bachelor of Science degree with a major In Biological Sciences (Cell/Physiology Emphasis) and a Chemistry minor. After all chiropractic coursework is completed at Palmer, a Doctor of Chiropractic degree (D.C.) is conferred. One of the most important requirements for entry and successful graduation is the maintenance of a minimum B (3.00) cumulative grade point average in UW-W coursework, including Palmer courses transferred back to UW-W. Refer to the document for full details.
Special Admissions: Applicants with unique background or experience who meet the admissions standards set by the colleges, but who do not meet one or more of the college requirements, may be eligible for special consideration by the Committee on Admissions. Students are encouraged to contact the Office of Admissions at their earliest possible convenience to discuss their chiropractic education. Once a class closes, students may be placed on a waiting list, and selected based on academic merit. Most schools reserve the right to interview an applicant.
Foreign student requirements: Foreign students also have additional admission requirements. These may include language proficiency, educational credit evaluation, chiropractic association endorsement and/or ability to pay certification.
Transfer credit: Transfer students from other chiropractic colleges who request transfer credit at a chiropractic college must be in good standing at their current college.
Advanced standing: This is available to graduates of some other health science programs.
UW-W Core requirements: Students electing to leave UW-Whitewater after three years of study to enter a chiropractic college do not have to complete the General Studies CORE courses. Transfer students to UW-W follow the schedule below:
0-less than 21 credits = take all four CORE courses
21-33 = Three CORE courses (including World of Ideas)
34-43 = Two CORE courses (including World of Ideas)
45+ credits = World of Ideas only
Assoc. degree = proficiency and gen. ed. (sometimes diversity) waived
Factors considered for admission: Typical factors which are considered for selection of students include: overall GPA, total hours of college credit, science GPA, letters of recommendation (including a required letter from a licensed D.C. and usually a professor), personal interview, work experience with a chiropractor, community service projects, alumni referral, and personal profile / essay (summarizing reasons for wishing to become a chiropractic physician and goals following graduation). Honorable withdrawal and not probation, is required from the college / university attended. The average GPA of students entering chiropractic colleges over the past several years has been about 3.00. As stated previously, the CCE has set of minimum GPA of 2.50 for acceptance. Some chiropractic schools may use a higher minimum GPA. Committees on Admissions will admit only those candidates who in the judgment of the College are of good character, are capable of performing in its entirety the doctor of chiropractic program, and who show promise of becoming a credit to the chiropractic profession and the College. Telephone or personal interviews may be required. For foreign applicants and others living a considerable distance from the College, college representatives in the area in which the applicant resides may be designated for such interviews.
When to apply: Candidates should ideally apply as soon as they begin their science prerequisites and minimally one year before the term in which they plan to enter. Schools generally have Fall-September, Spring-January, and Summer-May admission dates. Most schools will do a pre-evaluation of transcripts. Applications are usually accepted up to 30 days prior to the start of the term desired. Some colleges employ a rolling admissions process; therefore, early application could increase an applicant's probability for acceptance.
The most current information, including guided tours in some cases, is on the chiropractic school web sites. Each school provides information on financial aid programs including grants and scholarships, loans, federal work study, and fellowships.
For additional information on chiropractic:
American Chiropractic Association
1701 Clarendon Boulevard
Arlington, VA 22209
For information on chiropractic colleges and educational requirements:
Council on Chiropractic Education
8049 North 85th Way
Scottsdale, Arizona 85258-4321
For information on chiropractic licensing requirements:
Federation of Chiropractic Licensing Boards
501 E. California Ave.
Glendale, CA 91206
UW-W contact information:
Dr. Steven W. Anderson
Important note: This document is not legally binding; it is intended only to give guidance in planning one's program. The actual sequence of courses taken will vary according to student's backgrounds, course availability and other factors.