To become a chiropractic associate, you must meet the educational and licensing requirements of a chiropractor. When you begin your chiropractic career, you often work beside an experienced doctor of chiropractic as his employee. This experience allows you to learn how to treat patients and how to run a business.
A chiropractic associate usually majors in pre-med as an undergraduate and takes courses in physical and social sciences. Then, you must study a chiropractic curriculum for four to five years at an accredited chiropractic college. To become a chiropractic associate, you typically study the science behind healing and treating patients. The coursework in rehabilitation, anatomy, physiology, nutrition, and public health is sometimes more intensive than that of physicians or physical therapists.
Chiropractic students devote much of their training to evaluating and caring for patients. Due to the precision necessary in learning the adjusting techniques of chiropractic care, chiropractic associates are often required to undertake intensive clinical training. Additionally, a minimum one-year clinical program involving actual patient care, including at least 4,200 hours of classroom, laboratory, and clinical experience, is often required to become a chiropractic associate.
After earning your degree, you may need to obtain a license to practice chiropractic. You should apply for a license in the local or regional area where you intend to become a chiropractic associate. Obtaining this license will likely require you to pass an exam. In the United States, you will likely be required to take the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners test and additional tests, depending on the state. It is likely that you will only be able to practice in the region where you are licensed, although some areas may allow to practice without further testing, provided you meet that area’s requirements.
Once licensed, you should next join an established chiropractor’s practice. The experienced doctor of chiropractic typically becomes your mentor. As a chiropractic associate, you should learn how to incorporate the skills you practiced in school with the realities of caring for patients. You should also gain practical experience in interacting with clients and in delivering the best, most appropriate treatment for patients. Additionally, a chiropractic associate learns the business practices necessary in running a chiropractic facility.
Although you should share a professional relationship with your mentor, situations may arise as you build your own clientele. To avoid any legal ramifications, you should sign a pre-employment contract that details the responsibilities of the position. By addressing compensation and conduct as well, this contract allows you to legally open a practice and take your own clientele with you without compensating your mentor.