Explore: Chiropractic

What is a Chiropractor?

Doctors of Chiropractic (DC) are physicians who practice their healing art through drug-free, non-surgical means and give special attention to the physiological and biochemical aspects including structural, spinal, musculoskeletal, neurological, vascular, nutritional, emotional and environmental relationships. Chiropractic does not include pharmaceuticals or incisive surgery.

The practice and procedures which may be employed by Doctors of Chiropractic are based on the academic and clinical training received in and through accredited chiropractic colleges and include, but are not limited to, the use of current diagnostic and therapeutic procedures.


A standard DC program is usually completed within four years of professional study.  The program generally consists of two years of classroom and laboratory study followed by two years emphasizing community based clinical services dealing with the diagnosis and treatment of disease. After graduation, a DC must pass the sciences and chiropractic sections of the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners. All states administer a state board exam following the passing of the national exam.  Chiropractic is recognized and regulated in every state, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Canada.

Admissions Requirements

Typically, DC programs expect a BA or BS with the following undergraduate curriculum:

Number Course UNH Course
1 year Biology with lab BIOL 411-412
1 year Chemistry with lab CHEM 403-404
1 year Physics with lab* PHYS 401-402 or PHYS 407-408
1 year Organic Chemistry CHEM 651-654 or CHEM 547-550
1 semester General Biochemistry BMCB 658/659
1 year English  
1 semester Psychology PSYC 401

* The second semester of physics can be completed by taking General Physics II; or by one of the following courses: Biomechanics, math-based Statistics, Kinesiology, or Exercise Physiology. (Second semester does not need a laboratory component as long as the first semester Physics course included a lab.)

An applicant’s undergraduate major is not a factor in school admission, so students may complete these prerequisites as major requirements, general education requirements, or as electives.  Admissions requirements can vary somewhat from school to school, so students should consult the individual programs to determine the specific requirements of the programs they are interested in. (www.chirocolleges.org)

Most DC programs will also expect applicants to have had exposure to the field of chiropractic and a record of service to the community.

Application Process 

The MCAT is not required.  Since there is no central application service for DC programs, applications should be requested directly from the schools themselves.  Applicants are encouraged to apply one full year prior to the desired start term.

Further Information 

The most up to date sources of information are the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) and the Association of Chiropractic Colleges (ACC).  Contact them at:

1701 Clarendon Blvd,
Arlington, VA 22209
Phone 800/986-4636
Fax 703/243-2593

4424 Montgomery Avenue, Suite 102,
Bethesda, Maryland 20814

Additional Information


Sources: Most of the information on this page was taken from ACA and ACC literature.