Updated: Aug 14, 2019
I have heard this question a lot over the years, and the answer is yes. Chiropractors are designated as physician-level providers in the vast majority of states including Arkansas. The undergraduate must have nearly four years of pre-medical undergraduate college education, including courses in biology, inorganic and organic chemistry, physics, psychology and related lab work. Following a Bachelors in biology, I completed my graduate studies at Parker College of Chiropractic, including the standard four to five academic years of professional study. Because of the hands-on nature of chiropractic and the intricate adjusting techniques, a significant portion of time is spent in clinical training. The national board exams for DC's are four parts over four weekends. Then each state has its own requirements and minor testing.
My coursework at Parker College of Chiropractic (now called Parker University) included the following: cell biology, histology, embryology, biochemistry I-II, nutrition, gross anatomy I-II (with 23 human cadavers), physiology I-II, microbiology, diagnostic imaging I-IV, physical diagnosis, biomechanics, physiotherapy I-II, clinical reasoning, systems pathology, bone pathology, clinical orthopedics, functional assessment, differential diagnosis, clinical psychology, pediatrics, geriatrics, lab diagnosis, neurology I-II, pharm/tox, and other relevant subjects. We undergo rigorous education in the healing sciences and take more than 30 credit hours (that's not semester hours, but a lot of hands on training time) of adjusting techniques to learn to work with the hands-on-body chiropractic work. It is a lot to take in, but working with people presenting with many different health issues, it is important to know what to do and when to do it.
Like other primary health care doctors, we spend a significant portion of our curriculum studying clinical subjects related to evaluating and caring for patients. Typically, as part of the professional training, we complete a minimum of a one-year program dealing with actual patient care. In total, the curriculum includes a minimum of 4,200 hours of classroom, laboratory and clinical experience. The course of study is approved by an accrediting agency, the Council on Chiropractic Education, that is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
This extensive education prepares us doctors of chiropractic to diagnose health conditions, treat those that are within their scope of practice and refer patients to other healthcare practitioners when appropriate.
I will write about my acupuncture training in another post.