Best Chiropractic Schools Guide 2024

The definitive guide to accredited doctor of chiropractic programs across North America.

About the Guide

The Chiropractic Schools Guide is the place to start your search to discover how to become a doctor of chiropractic. This guide is designed to help you take the first steps on your journey by  choosing the right program from a selection of accredited chiropractic schools in the country. It will help you learn about the various programs in North America so you can choose the one that suits you best. 

The Chiropractic Schools Guide is maintained and updated by the Association of Chiropractic Colleges (ACC), a collaborative member network of accredited chiropractic educational programs across North America dedicated to excellence in chiropractic education.

Please contact Anne Marie Munson, Executive Director of ACC, if you have questions or need additional information. 

Why study chiropractic?

Chiropractic is a deeply rewarding healthcare career experiencing significant growth in demand across the United States and the world:
  • Many chiropractic students want to enter the field because they (or someone they know) have experienced a significant quality of life improvement from chiropractic care.
  • Prospective students want to become a chiropractor out of a deep desire to help others experience a whole-person approach to health.
  • Chiropractic has excellent future career prospects. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics² projects the demand for chiropractors will grow by 9 percent over the next decade, much faster than the vast majority of other jobs.
  • This uptick in demand is fueled by an increase in the number of people who want effective, safe, and holistic health solutions at which  chiropractic care excels.

As the demand for chiropractic care grows across North America, more and more prospective students want to know how to become a doctor of chiropractic:

  • Are you a high school student interested in chiropractic as a career? You’ll want to pursue prerequisite college courses that set you up for success at an accredited chiropractic school.
  • Are you a college student seeking to switch study paths? You’ll want to focus on science prerequisites along with humanities, communications, and social sciences.
  • Are you a healthcare professional who wants to shift into a new, dynamic chiropractic career? Learn how to choose a chiropractic school that will help change gears efficiently.

Selecting the right program will lead you to your desired goal of becoming a doctor of chiropractic and prepare you for an exciting career.

Becoming a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC)

Chiropractic physicians must graduate from an accredited doctor of chiropractic (DC) degree program and pass state licensure board examinations to obtain licensure and provide patient care. Accredited chiropractic programs prepare you for licensure examinations and train you in the skills necessary to be a doctor of chiropractic, including:

  • Obtaining and assessing patients’ health history
  • Evaluating spinal alignment and posture
  • Interpreting diagnostic blood and serum tests
  • Interpreting diagnostic tests such as x-ray, MRI, and CT
  • Establishing an accurate diagnosis and prognosis for each patient
  • Mobilizing and manipulating spinal joints and other articulations to optimize function
  • Recommending individualized treatment and health management plans for each patient
  • Empowering patients with guidance on ergonomics, lifestyle, diet, exercise, stretching, and nutritional counselling

Mastering these competencies is part of the core training received in accredited chiropractic programs.

Accredited Chiropractic Schools in North America

The chiropractic schools listed in this guide are each accredited by the Council on Chiropractic Education (CCE).

The CCE is recognized by the United States Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accredition (CHEA) as the autonomous accrediting agency to provide assurances of educational quality and integrity.

The accreditation process ensures that chiropractic schools comply with established educational standards and processes. The CCE evaluates chiropractic schools in the areas of faculty qualifications, curriculum, instructional content and objectives, admissions requirements, student learning assessments, student services and policies, research, and clinical competency assessment.

There are 20 accredited chiropractic school sites in the United States. These federally-accredited chiropractic programs provide the rigorous education and hands-on training necessary to obtain a license and successfully practice chiropractic care.

Each chiropractic programs undergoes a comprehensive  evaluation by the CCE to ensure it meets the criteria necessary to train proficient, compassionate chiropractors. Chiropractic doctors must achieve and demonstrate defined clinical competencies to provide excellent patient care. That’s why it’s so important to choose a chiropractic school that is accredited and recognized by state licensing bodies.

*Not members of ACC

Prerequisites for Applying to Chiropractic School

The accredited schools in this guide require these basic prerequisites for acceptance into the doctor of chiropractic program:

  • At least 90 semester hours (a minimum of three academic years) of undergraduate study from an accredited institution.
  • At least 24 semester hours spent in physical and life science classes, half of which must include substantial laboratory work.
  • An undergraduate cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher.
  • Additional courses in social sciences, humanities and communication.
  • Chiropractic schools look for applicants with well-rounded educational and life experience backgrounds.

Once accepted to an accredited chiropractic school, accredited Doctor of Chiropractic degree programs require at least four academic years to complete. Some programs are offered year-round and can be completed in three calendar years.

If you have some prerequisites to complete, chiropractic schools offer undergraduate courses to complete those requirements—make sure you inquire from the school’s admissions office.

Academic calendars may be organized in quarters, trimesters, or semesters, so be sure to find out which system the school uses and best suits you.

Practical Tips for Choosing a Chiropractic Program

As you learn about how to become a chiropractic doctor  and start comparing schools, it’s helpful to make a list of factors that will help you narrow down your search.

The following section provides important considerations to think about as you conduct your research on the various chiropractic programs.

1. Be clear on your career goals

Becoming a chiropractor involves rigorous education and hands-on training to develop the knowledge and skills necessary to restore and maintain a patient’s health and function effectively. 

Chiropractic is a dynamic career path with a broad spectrum of different techniques, and concentrations. These are examples of different chiropractic career paths in which you might be interested:

  • Sports chiropractic focusing on helping athletes overcome injuries and optimize athletic performance.
  • Caring for mothers and babies through pregnancy and early childhood.
  • Serving patients in the workplace to manage conditions including on-the-job ergonomics, safety, and injury prevention.
  • Integrative health settings with other providers such as medical and osteopathic physicians, nurse practitioners, naturopathic physicians, massage therapists, acupuncturists, dietitians, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and pharmacists.

Chiropractic students learn how to provide excellent care to help people with a wide variety of conditions, injuries, and wellness goals.

2. Compare and understand curricula

Review the chiropractic program’s curriculum to get an idea of the progression of classes, labs, and hands-on experiences offered. Chiropractic is a “hands-on” healthcare career. In fact, the Greek and Latin roots of the word “chiropractic” are literally “hands” and “method” or “practice.” Practical experience and real clinical training are essential additions to intensive coursework and research. This is a primary consideration when choosing a chiropractic school.

One helpful tool for comparing different chiropractic schools and their curricula is the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners curriculum guide. This details the types of academic courses and practical clinical experiences chiropractic students may expect throughout their educational career.

3. Review qualifications and experience of faculty members

Learn about the faculty in the chiropractic programs you’re interested in. What are their qualifications and accomplishments? Are there any notable chiropractic professionals or researchers involved in developing or teaching the curriculum or leading clinical training? Learning from recognized leaders in the chiropractic field may give you an edge in your education and in your future career.

4. Ask about opportunities for clinical training

Review clinical training opportunities such as internships, preceptorships, clinics, and labs. Are there partnerships with healthcare facilities in the region that provide student interns exposure to established clinics and practices?

5. Review student-to-faculty ratios and class sizes

In educational settings, appropriate class size and productive student-to-faculty ratios provide effective and personalized learning experiences. Opportunities for peer-to-peer interactions enhance the active learning process especially when mastering essentian clinical competencies.

6. Check out facilities and resources

Campus tours provide a unique perspective and opportunity to evaluate the chiropractic school you are interested in. Find opportunities to talk with current students and graduates to learn about the campus facilities, as well as partner healtchare institutions and clinical settings. Explore the laboratories, libraries, advanced technology, and research facilities students may have access to during their time in the program.

7. Understand tuition and financial aid options

Tuition costs change from year to year. Make sure you inquire regarding the current rates at the schools in which you are interested.

In addition to tuition, other costs include:

  • Fees for labs, technoloyg, and student activities.
  • Textbooks and equipment
  • Computer and/or other electronic devices
  • Cost of living expenses (room, board, utilities, food, travel, etc.)

It’s a good idea to create a realistic budget with all of these costs included to understand your financial commitment while in school.

A variety of financial aid options are available including loans, grants, and scholarships that may help to offset these costs. The school’s financial aid office can help with identifying scholarships, grants and loan options.

8. Ask about student success and career support

An important factor in your search for the right chiropractic program is to connect with alumni to learn about their experiences. Ask chiropractic doctors you know and trust about their educational experience and how well their schools supported them in starting a practice, applying for positions, and finding additional opportunities for career support. Investigate the school’s student success services and career assistance programs. 

9. Get a feels for campus life and community engagement

Finding your ideal chiropractic school fit isn’t just about the numbers. It’s also about finding a place that can provide the educational and clinical experiences you need with a culture that fits who you are. Ask people about campus life, culture, extracurricular activities, student organizations, the local community off-campus, etc. Ask about opportunities for completing some courses online. People to ask about this include:

  • Chiropractic physicians in your community who have attended the schools in which you’re interested
  • Students currently enrolled in the program
  • Recent graduates

10. Consider taking business management courses

If you aspire to own your chiropractic practics, core busines and financial management courses in the following topic areas may be very helpful:

  • Accounting, budgeting and financial management
  • Business management
  • Human resources management
  • Marketing and public relations
  • Public speaking and communications
  • Leadership
  • Technology

A well-rounded education in these areas may improve your future business and personal finances. As you investigate the curricula of chiropractic schools, find out if they offer classes on managing a chiropractic business.

Taking the next step

Because chiropractic school is a significant investment of your time and money, make sure you get as much information about the chiropractic programs in which you are interested. Some ways include:

  • Attending campus visit programs and information sessions to ask questions and get to know students, staff, administrators, and faculty.
  • Talking with an admissions advisor about the characteristics that distinquish each chiropractic school.
  • Connecting with students to hear about their experiences.
  • Meeting with chiropractic doctors in your community to learn about their experiences and the pros and cons of the program they attended.

Most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Most people in the chiropractic community are passionate and excited about what they do. They are eager to talk with prospective chiropractic students about their experiences and how they can help future chiropractic doctors succeed. Being part of a community of dedicated healthcare professionals who love helping people heal naturally is one of the things that makes a chiropractic career so rewarding.

Chiropractors are passionate about their careers. They love helping people achieve their optimum health, and they love continuous learning about advances in health care. Chiropractic changes lives for the better each day. 

Follow the steps in this guide to discover which of North America’s top accredited chiropractic schools best fits your needs.

You’ll be on your way to a rewarding career you’ll be excited about.

Written by: Anne Marie Munson, Executive Director
Association of Chiropractic Colleges
Fact checked by: David M. Owen, MPA, Health
Services Student Enrolment Advisor