Doctor of Chiropractic
Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) is a degree of chiropractic for chiropractors in North America. Chiropractors practice chiropractic medicine, a health care profession concerned with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disorders of the neuromusculoskeletal system and the effects of these disorders on general health. Chiropractors emphasize manual and manipulative therapy for the treatment of joint dysfunctions. Chiropractic is generally classified as complementary/alternative medicine.
In some countries it is a professional doctorate where training is entered after obtaining between 90 and 120 credit hours of university level work (see second entry degree) and in most cases after obtaining a bachelors degree. The World Health Organization lists three potential educational paths involving full‐time chiropractic education across the globe. This includes: 1 – 4 years of pre-requisite training in basic sciences at university level followed by a 4 year full‐time doctorate program; DC. A 5 year integrated bachelor degree; BSc (Chiro). A 2 - 3 year Masters degree following the completion of a bachelor degree leads to the MSc (Chiro). In South Africa the Masters of Technology in Chiropractic (M.Tech Chiro) is granted following 6 years of university. No less than 4200 student/teacher contact hours (or the equivalent) in four years of full‐time education. This includes a minimum of 1000 hours of supervised clinical training. Health professionals with advanced clinical degrees, such as medical doctors, can meet the educational and clinical requirements to practice as a chiropractor in 2200 hours, which is most commonly done in countries where the profession is in its infancy.
Upon meeting all clinical and didactic requirements of chiropractic school, a degree in chiropractic medicine is granted. However, in order to practice, chiropractors must be licensed. The regulatory boards are responsible for protecting the public, standards of practice, disciplinary issues, quality assurance and maintenance of competency. Currently, chiropractors practice in over 100 countries in all regions of the world, however chiropractors are most prevalent in North America, Australia and parts of Europe. 
- 1 Scope of practice
- 2 Training
- 3 Regulation and accreditation
- 4 Chiropractic specialities
- 5 Chiropractic career
- 6 References
- 7 See also
Scope of practice
Chiropractors emphasize manual and manipulative therapies as an alternative to medications and surgery for neuromusculoskeletal disorders Chiropractors are generally regarded as primary contact, portal of entry health care providers. Although chiropractors have many attributes of primary care providers, chiropractic has more attributes of a limited medical specialty like dentistry or podiatry. Chiropractors are licensed to communicate a neuromusculoskeletal diagnosis and order X-rays and may use broad diagnostic methods including skeletal imaging, observational and tactile assessments as well as orthopedic and neurological evaluation. A chiropractor may also refer a patient to an appropriate specialist, or co-manage with another health care provider. Common patient management involves spinal manipulation (SM) and other manual therapies to the joints and soft tissues, rehabilitative exercises, health promotion, electrical modalities, complementary procedures, and lifestyle counseling. When indicated, chiropractors may also refer a patient to an appropriate specialist, or co-manage with another health care provider.
Due to the historical differences in philosophy and treatment approaches, there are range of 'broad' and 'narrow' scopes of practice for American chiropractors which tend to reflect 'straight' or 'mixer' underpinnings. A focus on evidence-based research has also raised concerns that the resulting practice guidelines could limit the scope of chiropractic practice to treating backs and necks. However, the majority of chiropractors currently view themselves as "back/neck pain musculoskeletal specialists." The vast majority who seek chiropractic care do so for relief from back and neck pain and other neuromusculoskeletal complaints; most do so specifically for low back pain. Although it is generally accepted that chiropractic care is appropriate for musculoskeletal complaints, there is considerable debate on their role in treating visceral disorders. Certain jurisdictions allows the practice of animal chiropractic, whereby licensed chiropractors and veterinarians practice manual and manipulative therapies on animals for musculoskeletal disorders. Increasing evidence-based practice and aligning with conventional medicine has been suggested to obtain more university affiliation and access to hospitals and long-term facilities; aligning with the complementary and alternative medicine movement could bring more patients looking for non-medical approaches. In 2005, the World Health Organization developed chiropractic guidelines on basic training and safety to help standardize formal accreditation and licensure of chiropractors in countries where they remain unregulated. Currently, chiropractic medicine is regulated and practiced in over 100 countries, however chiropractors are most prevalent in North America, Australia and parts of Europe. The majority of mainstream health care and governmental organizations classify chiropractic as traditional or complementary alternative medicine.
Regardless of the model of education utilized, prospective chiropractors without relevant prior health care education or experience, must spend no less than 4200 student/teacher contact hours (or the equivalent) in four years of full‐time education. This includes a minimum of 1000 hours of supervised clinical training. Health professionals with advanced clinical degrees, such as medical doctors, can meet the educational and clinical requirements to practice as a chiropractor in 2200 hours, which is most commonly done in countries where the profession is in its infancy. Upon meeting all clinical and didactic requirements of chiropractic school, a degree in chiropractic medicine is granted. However, in order to legally practice, chiropractors, like all self regulated health care professionals, must be licensed. All Chiropractic Examining Boards require candidates to complete a 12 month clinical internship to obtain licensure. Licensure is granted following successful completion of all state/provincial and national board exams so long as the chiropractor maintains malpractice insurance. Nonetheless, there are still some variations in educational standards internationally, depending on admission and graduation requirements. Chiropractic medicine is regulated in North America by state/provincial statute. The regulatory boards are responsible for protecting the public, standards of practice, disciplinary issues, quality assurance and maintenance of competency.
Regulation and accreditation
Regulations for chiropractic practice vary considerably from country to country. In some countries, such as. the United States of America, Canada and some European countries, chiropractic has been legally recognized and formal university degrees have been established. In these countries, the profession is regulated and the prescribed educational qualifications are generally consistent, satisfying the requirements of the respective accrediting agencies. However, many countries have not yet developed chiropractic education or established laws to regulate the qualified practice of chiropractic. In addition, in some countries, other qualified health professionals and lay practitioners may use techniques of spinal manipulation and claim to provide chiropractic services, although they may not have received chiropractic training in an accredited programme.
Chiropractic is governed internationally by the Councils on Chiropractic Education International (CCEI). This body is officially recognized by the World Federation of Chiropractic and the World Health Organization as the accrediting agency for schools of chiropractic across the world. The minimum prerequisite for enrollment in a chiropractic college set forth by the CCEI is 90 semester hours, and the minimum cumulative GPA for a student entering is 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. Common prerequisite classes include those of the biological, chemical, & physical sciences, including: human anatomy and physiology, embryology, genetics, microbiology, immunology, cellular biology, exercise physiology, kinesiology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, analytical chemistry, biochemistry, toxicology/pharmacology, nutrition, nuclear medicine, physics, biomechanics, and statistics. Chiropractic programs require at least 4,200 hours of combined classroom, laboratory, and clinical experience.
In Australia, a minimum of five-years worth of chiropractic education is needed before one may register as a practicing chiropractor. Chiropractic is taught at four public universities: RMIT in Melbourne, Murdoch University in Perth, Macquarie University in Sydney and new in 2012 Central Queensland University in Mackay. The RMIT, UCQ and Macquarie programs graduate chiropractors with a bachelors degree followed by a masters degree while Murdoch University graduates attain a double bachelors degree, any of which is necessary for registration with state registration boards.
A graduate of RMIT will have attained a Bachelor of Applied Science (Chiropractic) and a Master of Clinical Chiropractic. Similarly, a typical graduate of Macquarie University will have a Bachelor of Chiropractic Science followed by a Master of Chiropractic. Murdoch University graduates possess the double-degree of Bachelor of Science (Chiropractic Science) / Bachelor of Chiropractic. Students at University of Central Queensland graduate with a Bachelor of Science (Chiropractic) followed by a Master of Chiropractic Science.
Canadian chiropractors received their Doctorate in Chiropractic (D.C.) following a minimum of 7 years of university. There are currently two schools of chiropractic in Canada: Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College, in Toronto, Ontario and the Universite du Quebec a Trois Rivieres, in Trois Rivieres, Quebec. Both programs are fully accredited by the Canadian Federation of Chiropractic Regulatory and Educational Accrediting Boards. In 2010, the majority of students (87%) entering the CMCC program had completed a baccalaureate university degree, and approximately 3% have a graduate degree.
In SA (South Africa) there are two schools of chiropractic: the Durban Institute of Technology and the University of Johannesburg. They are both 6-year full-time courses leading to an MTECH or Masters of technology in Chiropractic. It's a legal requirement that chiropractors must be registered with the Allied Health Professions Council of SA (AHPCSA) the governmental statutory body in order to practice Chiropractic in SA. Being a member of the Chiropractic Association of SA (CASA) is voluntary. CASA is the only voluntary national association in the country and aims to promote the profession through publications in newspaper, interviews, internet and public enquires over the phone.
In 1993 Princess Diana visited the Anglo-European College of Chiropractic and became its patron by calling for legislation to prevent unqualified individuals from practicing chiropractic in the UK. In 1994, Parliament passed legislation regulating the practice of Chiropractic, like other health care professions, and creating the General Chiropractic Council as the regulatory board. Since that time, it is illegal to call oneself a Chiropractor in the UK without being registered with the General Chiropractic Council. There are three UK chiropractic colleges with chiropractic courses recognised by the General Chiropractic Council (GCC), the statutory governmental body responsible for the regulation of chiropractic in the UK. McTimoney College of Chiropractic offers an Undergraduate Master Degree in human Chiropractic and two post-graduate Masters programmes in Animal Manipulation, plus a masters in Paediatric Chiropractic. The Anglo-European College of Chiropractic and the University of Glamorgan chiropractic graduates with the Masters degree (MChiro).
American chiropractors received their Doctorate in Chiropractic (D.C.) following a minimum of 7 years of university. There are currently 18 schools of chiropractic in the United States. In the United States, schools of chiropractic follow either a 'mixer' or 'straight' paradigm; the two schools of thought lead to two national bodies, the International Chiropractors Association and the American Chiropractic Association. Mixers form the majority of American chiropractors; however, straight practice chiropractors are believed to have a disproportionate influence since they are "purists".
As of 2005, the New Zealand College of Chiropractic (NZCC). obtained accreditation by the CCEA (Council on Chiropractic Education Australasia) and subsequently the CCEI.
Chiropractic scientists (DC/PhD)
Chiropractors can conduct clinical and basic scientific research and publish in peer-reviewed journals during training and after graduation. Chiropractors can also pursue a Ph.D degree in various health care disciplines including epidemiology, biomechanics, neurophysiology and kinesiology,
Fellowships and other credentials
Chiropractors, like other health care professionals, can pursue post-graduate education in various chiropractic specialties. Most are 2 year post-graduates degrees in chiropractic specialities such as clinical sciences, sports chiropractic, radiology, animal chiropractic and others.There are other chiropractic credentials that may or may not be recognized by the major health care organizations, medical or chiropractic communities.
Realistic median annual wage of chiropractors was $67,200 in May 2010. According to Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Chiropractic Student Loan Default Rates for October 1999, May 2010, and January 2012 are 54%, 53.8%, and 52.8% respectively. Chiropractic school graduates default on their loans more often than law school graduates, engineers, medical doctors, and business school graduates.
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- RMIT Chiropractic
- Macquarie University Department of Chiropractic
- Murdoch University Chiropractic
- CQU - Bachelor of Science (Chiropractic)
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- Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), January 2012: http://www.chirobase.org/03Edu/