About chiropractic

Healing with a Human Touch

Doctors of chiropractic (DC) are primary care professionals for spinal health and wellbeing who provide vital, life-changing care to over 40 million American adults. They are concerned with the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disorders of musculoskeletal system and effects of such disorders on the nervous system and overall health. Chiropractic relieves pain, increases mobility, and optimizes performance through safe and effective spinal adjustments and manipulation.

Who are doctors of chiropractic?

Patient centered

  • DCs provide patient-centered care to help patient reduce pain and regain function, empowering them to live a their life the way they want without relying on drugs or surgery.
  • Patients reported DCs build deeply rewarding and long-lasting relationships with the patients they serve.

Highly trained

  • A doctor of chiropractic degree is earned after attending 3.5 years of post graduate education at an accredited chiropractic education program.
  • Chiropractic education encompasses core knowledge of the basic sciences, clinical sciences, and many related health subjects.
  • DCs must complete all four parts of the national board exam as well as obtain a state license to practice in their state.

Increasingly in demand

  • More than 50% of American adults have seen DC and the numbers are growing.
  • Employment of DCs is projected to grow 10 percent from 2021 to 2031, faster than the average for all occupations.
  • About 2,100 openings for DCs are projected each year, on average, over the decade.

Why become a doctor of chiropractic?

Career Flexibility

  • A career in chiropractic means expanding choices in how and where a doctor wants to practice, including owning a practice or associating with an established clinic, teaching or conducting research or working at an on-site corporate health clinic or in a hospital setting.
  • DCs can also specialize in areas like sports medicine, physical therapy, rehabilitation, and gerontology.

Competitive salary

  • The average salary for a DC varies based on geography, years of experience and position.
  • In 2020, DCs earned an average of $86,000, which is $30,000 more than the national average salary of $56,000.

Rewarding profession

  • A career in chiropractic means improving the quality of a person’s life and few things are more satisfying or fulfilling.
  • Doctors of chiropractic can pursue their dream of small business ownership and being their own boss.
  • A chiropractic career offers great work-life balance.

Where can I study chiropractic?

Chiropractic colleges and universities across North America offer doctor of chiropractic degree programs that are accredited by the federally-recognized Council on Chiropractic Education. 

See a complete list of ACC member programs.

How do I become a chiropractor?

Step 1

Complete the required prerequisites and other admissions requirements and speak with a health professions' advisor to learn about the field.

Step 2

Request information from a variety of chiropractic colleges and universities to find the right program for you.

Step 3

Achieve a doctor of chiropractic degree from an accredited, four-year chiropractic education program.

Step 4

Pass all four parts of the national board exam administered by the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE).

Step 5

Obtain a license to practice in your state. Check with the state chiropractic licensing board to satisfy all requirements since they vary from state to state.

Where to study?

Best Chiropractic Schools Guide 2024

Read our definitive guide to accredited Doctor of Chiropractic programs across North America.