Considerations for choosing or recommending a school — find your best chiropractic schools fit
Deciding to become a doctor of chiropractic is a major life choice and one that isn’t entered into lightly — and once you’ve made the commitment to a career committed to helping others achieve higher levels of musculoskeletal health, your decision-making process doesn’t stop there.
One reason that your school of choice is important is your future income potential. A Nerd Wallet study found that the average income for those graduating from a top 20-ranked undergraduate program was $61,424, whereas the average income for those graduating from all programs combined was $43,700. At almost an $18,000-per-year difference, over the course of a 40-year career, this could total almost $709,000 in earnings.
Because everyone’s idea of what constitutes a “top school” is different, doing your own research can help you decide not only which chiropractic school is the best, but, perhaps more importantly, which one is the best for you.
Some factors to consider include school accreditation, graduation rate, acceptance of previously-earned credits, location, and schools that assist with education or resources to help pay off student debt.
It’s also important to check with your school of choice specifically to ensure you meet its minimum application requirements.
*School information was collected from two-year graduation data from school websites, ACC IPEDS history, CCE and NCBE Exam Success Rates is a four-year average through 2017.
UNIVERSITY OF BRIDGEPORT
Bridgeport, Connecticut • Interim Dean: Paul Sherman, DC bridgeport.edu
The School of Chiropractic under the College of Health Sciences at UB operates from a mission of educating chiropractic students to be successful providers of highly-competent, patient-centered care by utilizing best practice educational methodologies, engaging in relevant scholarly activities, and providing effective service to the university, college and local communities.
The UBSC model of health care emphasizes the body is an integrated unit that has intrinsic, self-regulating healing mechanisms; that the neuro-musculoskeletal systems can affect the function of other body systems, and, in turn, be affected by these systems; health care provider collaboration and a multidisciplinary approach to care, and a patient-centered, holistic biopsychosocial model that combines the best available evidence, the clinical expertise of the practitioner, and the needs/desires of the patient.
“We are the first chiropractic program established within a comprehensive university,” says Michael A. Ciolfi, DC, MBA, DBA, director of the School of Public and International Affairs. “There are many things that set UBSC apart, including a broad array of on-campus and community-based clinical experience opportunities. We emphasize active care strategies that empower patients to achieve long-term, holistic and sustainable health care goals. I welcome and challenge you to transform your life as you start this journey to become a licensed primary care provider, health care advocate, community leader and life-long learner.”
CANADIAN MEMORIAL CHIROPRACTIC COLLEGE
Toronto, Ontario, Canada • President: David Wickes, DC cmcc.ca
An evidence-based leader in chiropractic education and research, CMCC values collaborative relationships with universities, hospitals and other chiropractic institutions worldwide.
CMCC research scientists answer vital questions within health and performance, with research focused on life sciences studies and human performance. Its largest program is a second-entry four-year doctor of chiropractic degree based on an evidence-based model of care.
More than 7,000 CMCC alumni serve in diverse roles in 38 countries worldwide, and each year, approximately 180 students from across North America enter the program.
In the most recent survey completed on behalf of the government of Ontario, more than 92.2% of students were employed within six months of graduation. Over the past 15 years, CMCC students have had an average pass rate of 96% on Canadian Chiropractic Examining Board examinations.
In regard to student debt, the government of Ontario reported in 2015 that the CMCC default rate on integrated federal and provincial loans was 1.8%, well below the provincial average of 8.1%, an indicator that graduates are successfully engaged in practice and able to meet their financial obligations.
CLEVELAND UNIVERSITY-KANSAS CITY COLLEGE OF CHIROPRACTIC (CUKC)
Overland Park, Kansas • President: Carl S. Cleveland III, DC cleveland.edu
CUKC provides a balanced approach in chiropractic and the health sciences, fostering a community that is tightly bonded by a shared passion for wellness and helping each other succeed.
The CUKC chiropractic program focuses on the structure and function of the human body, blended with a whole-person approach to health care. The 10-trimester Doctor of Chiropractic degree takes just under 3-1/2 years to complete.
Hands-on training is at the heart of the CUKC academic experience and it begins in the first trimester. CUKC is the first U.S. chiropractic college with two force-sensing tables, which help develop psychomotor skills for chiropractic adjusting.
Technique courses in the chiropractic curriculum teach students not only to manage conditions, but to care for people.
CUKC also prepares students with real-world guidance, including training in business and marketing, practice management, success skills, new doctor seminars, information exchanges, career counseling and more. CUKC chiropractic graduates go on to use spinal and extremity adjusting techniques, along with lifestyle advice, to help patients achieve better health.
Buffalo, New York • Executive Director of Chiropractic Programs: Jeffery Ware, DC dyc.edu
Students can earn a doctor of chiropractic degree in 3.5 years in a unique chiropractic program, the first in the country to combine a solid foundation in the liberal arts with rigorous, integrated training with traditional health care fields.
The two pathways to earning a DC degree at D’Youville are a program for students who have already earned their bachelor’s degree or are transferring from another DC program, or a seven-year sequential program where you enter as a freshman, earn your BS degree in biology, then go directly into the DC program.
At D’Youville students in health care majors work together to build a practical understanding of interprofessional collaboration through unique clinical immersion labs. As one of just a handful of institutions across the country offering interprofessional health care education, D’Youville is a leader in preparing its students to be the best professionals in their fields. Health care majors at D’Youville take two semesters of the Interprofessional Education and Simulation Center, where students learn and practice their skills in an environment that mirrors what they’ll experience once they graduate.
West Palm Beach, Florida • Dean of Chiropractic Medicine: Michael Wiles, DC keiseruniversity.edu
The newest of chiropractic colleges, the doctor of chiropractic degree program at the Keiser University College of Chiropractic Medicine was awarded programmatic accreditation by The Council on Chiropractic Education in 2019.
The DC degree program consists of 10 semesters of continuous study over 40 months, totaling 216 credit hours. More than 25% of this consists of clinical experience in a variety of settings. Throughout the program, crosscutting themes are embedded in the coursework, covering major areas of relevance to chiropractic practice, such as chiropractic sports medicine and chiropractic geriatrics. Traditional lectures are combined with small group learning, weekly conferences and seminars, laboratory and experiential sessions, and clinical training opportunities at a number of sites.
The doctor of chiropractic program emphasizes the promotion of evidence-based health care, inter-professional collaboration and practice. Cross-cutting themes are embedded within the courses focusing on the role of chiropractic as a conservative clinical approach to spine care, and include chiropractic sports medicine, geriatrics, wellness, the role of the chiropractor as a team member in mainstream health care, and more.
LIFE UNIVERSITY COLLEGE OF CHIROPRACTIC
Marietta, Georgia • President: Rob Scott, PhD, DC life.edu
Life University (LIFE) isn’t called the “not-so-little University that’s changing the world” for nothing. This “little” metro-Atlanta university actually operates the largest single campus chiropractic program in the world. LIFE’s vitalistic vision and chiropractic program set the standard for excellence in contemporary health care education.
Through LIFE’s combination of sciences, philosophy, practice management and real-world clinical applications, it gives students an engaged curriculum that one could only describe as exceptional.
Students begin their chiropractic studies learning the foundational aspects upon which the profession is built — the history, philosophy and science of chiropractic — and from there, they will be continuously challenged to go further and think “out of the box” in all of their studies.
LIFE chiropractic students also have access to the William M. Harris Center for Clinical Education, which houses a 23-room Assessment Center with highly advanced LearningSpace Technology. They offer more Anatomage tables than any institution on the planet for use in their Virtual Anatomy Lab.
LIFE CHIROPRACTIC COLLEGE WEST
Hayward, California • President: Ron Oberstein, DC lifewest.edu
The mission at Life West is to “advance chiropractic through world-class chiropractic education, clinical excellence, philosophical inquiry, research and scholarly activity in a climate of love and service.”
Professional education at Life West provides the doctoral candidate with advanced knowledge in chiropractic science, philosophy, and art. The Life West educational experience emphasizes the integral relationship between the spine and nervous system as it relates to the health of the human body through it’s innovative approach to education, called Clinically Inspired Learning (CIL). Life West graduates have a clear understanding of the body’s innate ability to heal itself through a vitalistic model of health and well-being.
“At Life West, we are very excited about the future of chiropractic as the world moves toward a more natural, patient-centered model of health care,” says President Ron Oberstein, DC. “Chiropractic is perfectly positioned to accept that role. A growing number of people are moving toward a wellness approach to health care. There is nothing as unique as a chiropractic adjustment and its impact on the nervous system and every aspect of human performance and well-being.”
Chesterfield, Missouri • President: Clay McDonald, DC logan.edu
Logan’s College of Chiropractic’s mission is to prepare students to become doctors of chiropractic who are superbly educated and clinically competent, practicing as portal-of-entry chiropractic physicians. Logan boasts a top 4 rating among U.S. chiropractic colleges, with 90.7% of faculty with doctoral or terminal degrees, and a 12-to-1 student ratio.
The doctor of chiropractic degree gives students hands-on training from professors at the top of their field and real-world experience in clinical settings that will help graduate students with the confidence needed to improve patients’ lives. The curriculum is grounded in the Logan tradition, infused with current research and the latest technology.
As the only chiropractic college providing hands-on instruction in 15 different techniques, Logan offers students a diverse variety of clinical opportunities and electives, as well as business classes taught by one of the nation’s top MBA programs. With a DC degree from Logan, students exit more than ready to take their place at the forefront of integrated health care. Logan students spend 40% of their time in their first year in hands-on clinical skills courses with a broad diversity of clinical immersion opportunities.
NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF HEALTH SCIENCES
Lombard, Illinois; Seminole, Florida • President: Joseph Stiefel, DC nuhs.edu
National University prepares students to become first-contact, primary care physicians fully qualified to diagnose, treat and manage a wide range of conditions. Their belief is that a superior education starts with an evidence-based, broad-scope curriculum emphasizing integrative medicine.
At National University, students are broadly educated and extensively trained in evidence-based medicine to provide whole-health healing to patients. During the course of study at National University, students study in an integrative learning environment alongside other natural health care-focused professions. Students are well prepared to become first-contact, primary care physicians, ready to diagnose, treat and manage a wide range of patients and conditions. New graduates are also qualified to begin post-graduate education for several clinical specialties.
Treatment modalities can include performing manipulation, functional and nutritional medicine, lifestyle counseling, physical rehabilitation therapy and providing supplements including vitamins and natural botanical medicines. National University graduates are extensively trained as thorough diagnosticians to identify the appropriate treatment for their patients.
NORTHWESTERN HEALTH SCIENCES UNIVERSITY
Bloomington, Minnesota • President & CEO: Deb Bushway nwhealth.edu
At NWHSU, chiropractic students will discover an evidence-based curriculum that combines the newest science and a person-centered methodology. Hands-on, real-world education is delivered from day one, and students work in clinics where they learn from professionals and create patient care plans.
At 140 partner clinics throughout the Twin Cities, students gain valuable internship experience, and in the final trimester deliver patient care in locations across the U.S. and Canada. Extensive clinical care experiences provide opportunities for students to work alongside acupuncturists, massage therapists, medical doctors and nurses, gaining an understanding of the role each can play in the lives of a wide variety of patients, including those suffering from chronic pain, pediatric patients, athletes and sports teams, the elderly, low-income populations and many more.
The campus’ latest technology includes unique Force Sensing table technology, which helps students learn by providing instantaneous feedback data on loads transmitted during adjustment exercises, and immediate feedback through a force-time profile. NWHSU is No. 2 in the nation in board scores, with 78% of faculty holding the highest degree in their fields, and a 12-to-1 student-faculty ratio.
NEW YORK CHIROPRACTIC COLLEGE
Seneca Falls, New York • President: Michael Mestan, DC nycc.edu
Located in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York, overlooking Cayuga Lake, NYCC is located on a lush 286-acre campus featuring a state-of-the-art 8,000-square-foot research building.
NYCC hosts the nation’s first biomechanical research laboratory in a chiropractic setting. Students learn the latest evidence-based chiropractic concepts during basic and clinical science instruction and through clinical internships. Integrating research into the curriculum enables students to become tomorrow’s leading health professionals and ensures advancement of the health sciences. Students can learn from, and participate with, faculty members conducting independent research in the basic and clinical sciences.
A valuable component of NYCC’s educational programming lies in the clinical opportunities it offers students preparing for practice in integrative environments. Differences related to each clinical opportunity vary by length of time in the opportunity, if graduation credits need to be completed, and if the student can treat versus observing. Students can gain hands-on learning from expert mentor-practitioners in an array of diverse health care environments.
PALMER COLLEGE OF CHIROPRACTIC
Davenport, Iowa; San Jose, California; Port Orange, Florida; Dennis M. Marchiori, DC, PhD, Chancellor and CEO palmer.edu
Dedicated to advancing health care for patients by developing and translating knowledge that improves the practice of chiropractic, the storied Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research follows its research vision of impacting health care practice and policy through robust and sustainable collaborative research.
In the doctor of chiropractic program, Palmer students are prepared for real-world success through a rigorous curriculum and hands-on training, blending theory and practice. The academic curriculum covers everything from critical thinking, problem-solving and clinical skills to foundational subjects like anatomy, physiology, diagnosis, neurology, chiropractic technique and chiropractic philosophy. They also “help students develop the entrepreneurial and business skills needed to be successful in practice.”
The Palmer Center for Business Development is available at no cost to students and alumni. The Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research is the largest chiropractic research program in the U.S., while Palmer Clinics is the largest educational network of chiropractic clinics in the world. Palmer boasts its faculty as the “most accomplished, published cadre of instructors in the profession,” while the Palmer Alumni Association is the largest alumni network of any chiropractic school.
Dallas, Texas • President: Williams E. Morgan, DC parker.edu
Parker plays a major part in today’s vibrant health care market. With 35 private practice partnerships and integrated clinical curriculum with the Veterans Affairs Hospital, they firmly advocate the importance of serving the community and advancing the practice of evidence-based teachings.
The 10-trimester doctor of chiropractic degree program has a rigorous, comprehensive curriculum. An integrated clinical experience and emphasis on research provide a competitive education, setting up students to be industry leaders. Business training is also emphasized as students learn how to set up a successful practice, calculate finances, analyze performance statistics and develop patient acquisition plans. Marketing seminars, chiropractic partnerships and dedicated business planning curriculum provide realistic experience that gives Parker graduates an advantage.
Techniques taught center around the four most common: Diversified, Gonstead, Thompson and Activator, and a number of others are taught as specialized electives. Clinic rotations include practice-based internships, Veterans Affairs hospital rotations, Medical College of Wisconsin rotation, and Clinic Abroad programs in Spain, Jamaica and Canada.
UNIVERSITÉ DU QUÉBEC À TROIS-RIVIÈRES
Trois-Rivières, Quebec, Canada • Le Directeur Du Module de Chiropratique: Andre-Marie Gonthier, DC uqtr.uquebec.ca
The Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, where French is the primary language, is located halfway between Montréal and Québec, and features a relaxed, informal atmosphere where students and professors work closely together during teaching and research activities.
March 1 is the deadline each year for the Chiropractic Doctorate Program (PDC) for the start of classes the following September. Selection interviews are held on a Saturday in late April or early May. The program lasts five years full-time and always begins in the fall semester. There is also a summer session during the summer period of the last year, between the fourth and fifth year of the program.
The University Chiropractic Clinic provides chiropractic care through internal 4th-5th years of the undergraduate chiropractic doctorate program, all under the supervision of experienced clinicians and chiropractors. As part of their professional training, students perform more than 1,530 hours of training activities and internship. Graduate studies programs include sports chiropractic, a master’s degree in biomedical sciences, and a PhD in biomedical sciences.
UQTR was established as the first public and the first university-based chiropractic school in North America.
SHERMAN COLLEGE OF CHIROPRACTIC
Spartanburg, South Carolina • President: Edwin Cordero sherman.edu
Sherman College of Chiropractic prides itself on helping students “gain the power to change lives.”
Its comprehensive chiropractic education makes students relevant to the future of health care, joining the ranks of fellow Sherman graduates known as “great adjusters” due to the skill and art of chiropractic they deliver to their patients.
Hands-on instruction begins from the first quarter of study at Sherman, which boasts a low student-faculty ratio and instructors who look to actively mentor students. Faculty who are experts in their fields of study treat students like colleagues, and a balanced curriculum offers knowledge in basic science, chiropractic technique and philosophy, and practice management. Technique courses comprise 600 hours of classroom instruction, and many additional elective technique courses and seminars are offered. A 1.5-year internship in the on-campus clinic simulates chiropractic practice.
“Sherman College prepares students with a well-rounded chiropractic education — not only focused on the philosophy, science and art, but enhanced with a commitment to build the entrepreneurial skills graduates will need to succeed in business,” says President Edwin Cordero, DC. “Sherman prepares its students to become chiropractors who are compassionate, highly skilled, ethical and successful.”
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA UNIVERSITY OF HEALTH SCIENCES
Whittier, California • President: John Scaringe, DC scuhs.edu
SCU’s Los Angeles College of Chiropractic (LACC) prepares students to transform lives and help others reach their true potential with holistic and integrative care in one of the fastest-growing health care professions.
LACC’s industry-leading faculty, innovative course design and exceptional clinical experiences gives students the knowledge and experience needed to live their dream and advance their career. LACC has maintained an evidence-based, outcomes-focused, academically rigorous curriculum while enhancing ongoing learning strategies and clinical experiences. Their alumni network and affiliations spread across most U.S. states and six continents facilitate networking, continuing education, and job placement.
Features include three industry-leading sports medicine pathways; competitive residencies including Sports Medicine and Diagnostic Imaging; and SCU Health System which and prepares students in an interprofessional environment.
One of LACC’s unique differentiators is an integrative approach to education and health care delivery. The combination of course design and clinical experience equips students to change lives and turn a passion into a profession as a doctor of chiropractic.
TEXAS CHIROPRACTIC COLLEGE
Pasadena, Texas • President: Stephen Foster, DC txchiro.edu
Faculty view TCC students as professional partners and medical teammates. Longstanding alliances with nearly 30 hospitals and medical centers, Preceptorship (field experience) and Hospital Rotation programs, and a distinguished history of integrating scientific and evidence-based theory with unparalleled opportunities for hands-on training distinguish Texas Chiropractic College and its “world-class faculty” that personify the “Power of Healing.”
TCC is one of the oldest chiropractic colleges in America, among the first chiropractic schools in the nation to earn both regional and professional accreditations. In terms of innovation, TCC’s Preceptorship Program was the first of its kind for chiropractic schools anywhere in the world, and the Hospital Rotation Program is the largest and best integrated among chiropractic colleges nationwide. The Iwama Education Center has been heralded as one of the finest facilities in chiropractic education, with the Assessment Center serving as a model for other colleges.
At TCC students receive an evidence-based approach to chiropractic from faculty who hold the highest degree in their respective fields. A recent survey found that 90% of TCC alumni had either started their own practice, or were associates at existing practices, within one year of graduating, with others pursuing additional graduate study or accepting positions teaching or in research.
UNIVERSITY OF WESTERN STATES
Portland, Oregon • President: Joseph E. Brimhall, DC uws.edu
The University of Western States (UWS) flagship doctor of chiropractic program is a rigorous, 12-quarter doctoral program that can be completed in 3-4 years. Students learn from experienced faculty working in the field, and gain real-world knowledge to treat patients more effectively and with a relationship-centric approach.
UWS has an innovative, evidence-informed approach to whole-person care; it combines research, strong academics, doctors’ knowledge and the inclusion of the patient’s or client’s personal evidence in pursuing courses of treatment. The curriculum is structured to integrate concepts and skills across the basic, clinical and chiropractic sciences that are ultimately applied to patient care.
As the second-oldest chiropractic school in the world, it operates from a mission to prepare students as competent chiropractic physicians who apply evidence-informed, patient-centered strategies with professionalism and integrity. UWS doctor of chiropractic students have the opportunity to complete their undergraduate bachelor’s degree in human biology while enrolled in the DC program without having to take extra classes.
In May 2020 the university will relocate to a new campus in Portland, a modern health care facility designed to fulfill patient needs and provide exceptional opportunities for clinical training.