How to Tell if a Chiropractor Is Qualified

If you are interested in chiropractic adjustment, it is essential that you receive it only from a qualified doctor of chiropractic. The spine is as crucial to the proper functioning of the body as it is complex and delicate. An amateur attempt at adjustment by someone who has not received the proper training could result in injury. The damage that results could be permanent.

In a nutshell, a qualified chiropractor has a doctor of chiropractic degree from an accredited program at a chiropractic school. Additionally, he or she has a state-issued license to practice. Membership in a professional organization is optional but speaks to the chiropractor’s good standing.

Educational Requirements

Certified by the Department of Education, the Council on Chiropractic Education is the organization that sets minimum guidelines for U.S. chiropractic colleges. Altogether, there are 18 CCE-accredited chiropractic colleges in the United States.

A doctor of chiropractic degree is a four-year program of classroom training in the basic and clinical sciences, followed by a one-year internship at a college clinic. Prerequisites for admission vary by institution. Typically, at least 90 hours, i.e., approximately three years, of undergraduate education is required, although some chiropractic colleges may require a bachelor’s degree.


After completing the D.C. degree, a chiropractor must receive a license from the state where he or she wishes to practice. At the very least, a doctor of chiropractic must pass an exam by the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners.

National Boards, as these exams are called, take place in four parts. The first part is taken after the chiropractic student completes the first two years of the program. After the student completes the four-year program, he or she takes the second part of the National Boards, with parts three and four to follow.

Maintaining a license after initially receiving it requires continuing education. Some states also require jurisprudence exams and/or background checks to obtain a chiropractic license.

Professional Membership

The professional organization for chiropractors in the United States is the American Chiropractic Association. Not all qualified chiropractors are ACA members, but all ACA members are qualified chiropractors.

The ACA sets a standard for chiropractors’ conduct through its Code of Ethics. Members must adhere to the Code of Ethics in addition to obtaining a D.C. degree and licensure.Any type of medical treatment involves a risk. However, risks from chiropractic adjustment are relatively low when administered by a qualified chiropractor, like a chiropractor or back pain doctor. We would be happy to discuss our credentials with you further when you contact our office for more information.