Chiropractic Education

The pre-chiropractic education requires a (Baccalaureate degree) 4-year undergraduate/college prerequisite in most states followed by the 4 to 5 years of graduate professional chiropractic education.

Following graduation from chiropractic college the new graduate is required to successfully complete the National Board Examinations. 

Chiropractic education includes the clinical sciences, practical skill areas including diagnostic imaging (x-ray, MRI, CT scans, etc.), physical therapy, chiropractic manipulative technique and case management.   

An internship of 1 year in a college outpatient clinic is also required.

Preceptorship programs are available after the National Board examinations are successfully completed by the student.  The internship requirements must be completed prior to state chiropractic licensure.  In the program, the chiropractic physician is able to acquire the skills included in a private practice setting by working in a clinic outside the teaching institution.

South Carolina, and most other states, requires additional testing and background checks prior to licensing.

Post-graduate requirements for chiropractors:

On a post-graduate educational level, the state of South Carolina requires an additional 24 hours of approved course work credits every two years in order to renew the state license to practice, which is also similar to the requirements in other states.

Post-graduate residency programs are also available in which the chiropractic physician can gain specialist board certification.  These programs are offered at many of the chiropractic colleges in 3 year programs or can be taken while in active practice at various sites throughout the U.S. 

These chiropractic specialty certification programs include:

1.      Orthopedics

2.      Neurology

3.      Radiology

4.      Sports medicine

5.      Rehabilitation

6.      Nutrition

7.      Family Practice

The following tables compare professional graduate school education for the Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) and the Medical Doctor (M.D.).

Comparison of Hours of Basic Sciences Education in Medical and
Chiropractic Schools

Chiropractic SchoolsMedical Schools
Hours% of TotalHours% of Total
Total Hours1,420100%1,200100%
SubjectChiropractic SchoolsMedical Schools
Basic science hours1,41629%1,20026%
Clinical science hours3,40671%3,46774%
Total Contact Hours4,822100%4,667100%