Chiropractors must enjoy working with and helping people, as it is a very hands-on medical profession. They need to be good listeners and observers to help them diagnose their patients. Good communication skills are also important so that they can effectively explain their patients' conditions and treatments to them.
The educational path to becoming a chiropractor is similar to becoming a doctor. The student must take undergraduate courses in science. While requirements to attend colleges of chiropractic medicine vary between schools and countries, many aspiring chiropractors earn a bachelor's degree before applying to chiropractic school. This may eventually become the universal requirement for admission. Currently, the minimum amount of undergraduate education required is 90 credit hours.
A Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) degree is a four-year graduate degree. There are actually more classroom and supervised clinical hours required to earn a DC than for a medical degree. Like medical school, the first two years of chiropractic school consist of mostly classroom learning and lab work in subjects such as biochemistry, microbiology, pathology, anatomy, physiology, and other science courses. In the second two years, students begin clinical work and learn to evaluate, diagnose, and treat patients. This is when they will learn to use diagnostic equipment as well, such as x-rays. Some chiropractic colleges follow a traditional school calendar with summers off, while others are in session all year long so that the program can be completed in a shorter amount of time.
Before being able to practice as a chiropractor, the student must pass national board exams. In the US, he or she will also need to pass their state's licensing exam.