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Chiropractor: Education and Career Information

Chiropractors are an important asset in the medical community. They assist in promoting a healthy lifestyle, disease prevention and enhance the performance of the body. Chiropractors use natural methods in helping correct spinal issues and problems occurring in the nervous system. They treat a number of injuries and issues that interfere with the body’s ability to function properly. This is a very lucrative position that has a high level of compensation.

What does a chiropractor do?

Chiropractors help to correct misalignment, restore proper nerve flow, and improve performance of the body. They concentrate on the spinal area and how injuries or ailments can interfere with how the body functions and its ability to heal properly. Chiropractors work hard to correct any issues a patient may be experiencing without drugs or surgery. Those alternatives are recommended only in severe situations.

Chiropractors believe that the nervous system can be severely affected by structural complications arising from a number of scenarios. Chiropractors also believe treatment can restore integrity of the spine while reducing pressure on neurological tissue to improve the condition of the body and the health of the patient.

They treat patients on the following areas: headaches, repetitive strains, car accident and sports injuries, lower back pain, leg pain, neck pain, and pain arising from arthritis. They use a number of methods to diagnose and treat patients with non-surgical alternatives. Chiropractors can use water, light, ultrasound, massage, heat and electric therapy to treat patients to determine which method would work best in getting the patient back to their natural healthy state.

How much does a chiropractor earn?

The annual salary of a chiropractor depends on location, where they work, years of experience and how much education they have attained. The median annual pay for a chiropractor is around $136,291 as of July 2015. On a higher scale, chiropractors can make anywhere from $187,000 to $234,800. There are a number of chiropractors with solo practices, which increases their earning potential. The projection for this career field is estimated to grow by twenty-eight percent through 2020, which is twice the growth rate for the job market.

What types of skills are required to be a chiropractor?

Although chiropractors specialize in working with the joints and areas of the spine, they must possess a large range of additional skills that will assist in treating patients:

Business skills: Chiropractors must have business skills in marketing and accounting to function as a solo practitioner. Even when working with other agencies, they should possess computer knowledge and business skills to maintain high levels of professionalism and understanding of the inner workings of the business setting.

Communication: A chiropractor must be able to communicate with patients, listening to all of their concerns of pain and recovery to make sure the right methods of treatment are being employed. They must also be able to convey that information to other agencies or medical professionals to ensure the patient is taken care of in every way.

Empathy: Pain can be hard to manage, especially if it is hindering the patient from functioning at full capacity. Chiropractors must be able to understand the patient’s pain threshold and help put them at ease. This means a certain amount of empathy must be employed to gain the patient’s trust.

Focus: Chiropractors must be able to fully focus on their patient’s while in their care to ensure they provide the best treatment. This means having a comforting and relaxed environment to administer their treatment plan.

Manual coordination: A chiropractor must use their hands on a consistent basis. Maintaining proper manual coordination is key in performing the duties of the job.

Knowledge: Chiropractors must have a thorough background knowledge of the spine, nervous system and other functionality of the body. They must also conduct research to explore new methods of treatment that will work well with their patients.

Critical Thinking Skills: Chiropractors must be able to think logically and reasonably in not only assessing the extent of the patient’s pain and injuries, but in determining the best method of treatment that would be most effective.

Internship Requirements

The terms of an internship vary per program, but the standard is a one-year clinical-based program dealing with actual patients at a minimum.

Education Requirements

Although a chiropractor somewhat works in the medical profession, they do not possess an MD or DO degree from medical school. Individuals who attend chiropractic school are not required to have a bachelor’s degree, but many students complete this education, as a minimum of 90 hours of undergraduate coursework is required for consideration into the program. The length of time needed for this program varies based on the school, but the average time for completion is four years.

This area of specialization is very demanding and stringent. Coursework in this area includes:

•Anatomy
•Biochemistry
•Biology
•Physiology
•Inorganic chemistry
•Physics
•Psychology
•Pathology

The requirements become more demanding as you progress, with four or five academic years of professional study being the norm. Most programs have a total of at least 4,200 classroom, lab and clinical experience hours for completion.

Pre-requisites for most chiropractor schools include:

•90 semester credit hours of undergraduate coursework
•3.0 GPA or higher
•24 semester credit hours in life and physical sciences with lab components
•15 semester hours in humanities, social and behavioral sciences
•English and speech coursework

Once the program is completed, chiropractor candidates must pass a four-part test given by the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners. Chiropractors have the designation of D.C. (Doctor of Chiropractic) degree.

This can be a very rewarding career, both professionally and financially, but takes dedication and hard work to achieve the levels of excellence that are required of the profession. Chiropractors are well respected in the medical industry, and work in conjunction with other medical professionals in the treatment and care of patients to ensure they live their best lives.

Therapy Scholarships

American Psychological Foundation Scholarships Association of Black Psychologists Epilepsy Foundation
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