What Are the Continuing Education Requirements for Chiropractors?

If you're a chiropractor, you'll be required to hold a state license. As part of your licensing requirements, you may have to complete continuing education, which allows you to keep your skills current and up-to-date. Most states have specific guidelines regarding acceptable continuing education options for chiropractors. Schools offering Allied Health degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Chiropractor Career Overview

Chiropractors treat problems involving the neuromusculoskeletal system like back and neck pain. They administer techniques such as spinal adjustments and manipulation. As a chiropractor, you'll review a patient's medical history, conduct a physical examination, take x-rays and advise the patient on proper diet and exercise.

Important Facts About This Occupation

Median Salary (2014)$66,720
Job Outlook (2014-2024)17% growth
Work Environment Individual or group practice
Similar Occupations Athletic trainers and exercise physiologists, massage therapists, occupational therapists, physical therapists

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education and Licensure Requirements

To become a chiropractor, you'll first need to complete at least three years of undergraduate education (though most admitted into chiropractic programs have earned at least a bachelor's degree). You'll be required to take certain prerequisite courses, such as biology, physics and chemistry. In addition, you'll need to finish a three and a half-year chiropractic program consisting of both classroom and clinical education.

To practice in the United States, you'll need to earn a license. Though requirements vary, you must complete an accredited Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) degree. Some states require that you earn a bachelor's degree as well. Once meeting the appropriate education requirements, you'll need to pass the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners exam. Depending on your state, you may also need to pass an exam on state-specific laws. In every state, you'll have to complete continuing education (CE) to maintain your license.

Continuing Education General Requirements

Continuing education requirements must be completed within the renewal period, which is typically every one to three years, according to the Federation of Chiropractic Licensing Boards (www.fclb.org). As of 2016, the board showed that the required hours of continuing education ranged from as little as 12 hours for a one-year renewal period to as many as 150 hours for a three-year period. Some states also required a specific number of CE hours per year for a two-year renewal period.

States often have specific guidelines for continuing education, such as restricting or completely prohibiting hours obtained through distance learning. Many states set requirements for the content that must be covered by continuing education. Topics, such as patient management, anatomy, risk management and record keeping, may be required as part of your CE hours. Your state may require you to spend a particular number of hours on a specific subject.

Continuing Education State-Specific Requirements

Specifics for CE requirements generally vary from state to state. For example, in the state of Delaware, you'll need to complete 24 hours of CE that's approved by the state chiropractic board, according to the state's official website (www.delaware.gov). Three of those CE hours must be in risk management, ethics or record keeping. Delaware does allow all the CE hours to be completed through distance learning, but only if the courses are held in real time with interaction between students and teachers. You may take up to six hours of CE in a course that is not offered live.

In Minnesota, according to its board of chiropractic examiners, you must complete 20 hours of CE within the licensing period (www.mn-chiroboard.state.mn.us). Your CE hours must be completed in board-approved subjects, which include x-ray imaging, professional boundaries and acupuncture as of 2016. In Minnesota, you may complete all of your CE hours through distance-learning programs. You may also receive up to six CE units for developing a continuing education program, or if you're a full-time employee of a college.

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