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Getting Licensed as a Chiropractor

You’ve completed your educational requirements—now find out the next steps toward becoming a licensed chiropractor.

professional talks with patient in chiropractic office
professional talks with patient in chiropractic office

If you can’t drive a car, fly a plane, or even go fishing without a license, you certainly would want chiropractors to be licensed! Getting licensed is the final step that allows you to practice chiropractic.

The general public has become more confident in chiropractic for many reasons. In part, clients often gain relief from sudden and long-term issues alike. For example, more than three-quarters of people who sought care for back pain called chiropractic treatment “very effective,” according to a survey of more than 7,600 adults.

People are also confident in chiropractic because all practitioners must be licensed.

In addition to the required coursework to become a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC), chiropractors in all 50 states plus Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands must be licensed. This step is more than simply a bureaucratic formality. The field pushed for licensure through the 20th century in part to show skeptics that chiropractic is a serious, effective, and safe medical practice.

Like aspiring lawyers, chiropractors must pass an exam administered by the state in which they will practice.

Just as aspiring lawyers must pass the state bar exams, so too must chiropractors pass an exam administered by the state in which they intend to practice.

The scope of work for chiropractors—in other words, what they are allowed to do—varies from state to state, too. Some areas limit chiropractic work to manual adjustment only; others allow additional services, from trigger point therapy to nutritional counseling.

National and State Licenses

To earn a license to practice chiropractic, you need to take and pass the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE) exam. This exam is actually a series of tests taken at different times during your studies in an accredited DC program.

All but five states require additional, state-specific qualifications, such as exams or interviews with state licensing boards. (Colorado, Kentucky, New York, Rhode Island, and Virginia require only passage of the national exam.) States grant these licenses when chiropractors pass a test about location-specific regulations and laws. State regulatory boards, which work with the NBCE, oversee the requirements—including passing the state exam—to legally practice.

Some states have reciprocity with other states. That means that if you are licensed in one state, you may be able to more easily earn licensure in other places that have reciprocal agreements.

What’s on the NBCE Exam?

The NBCE exam has five sections that students take at different times, although some states don’t require the last section. Students earning their DC typically take the exam before graduating and generally take each part at the school where they study.

It’s worth noting that the NBCE does not license chiropractors. Rather, it administers exams and provides scores to state licensing boards. States use those scores and other information, such as state-specific tests, to provide licensure.

The NBCE exam is made up of these sections:

  • Part I is a 300-question, multiple choice computer test on academic knowledge of science subjects—general anatomy, spinal anatomy, physiology, pathology, chemistry, and microbiology. Students take Part I in their second year of chiropractic school.
  • Part II is similar to Part I, except it tests academic knowledge of clinical science subjects, including general diagnosis, neuromusculoskeletal diagnosis, diagnostic imaging, principles of chiropractic, chiropractic practice, and associated clinical sciences. Students take Part II, which can last up to five hours, in their third year of chiropractic school.
  • Part III is another computer-based test. It evaluates applied knowledge in a long list of clinical subjects—case history, physical examination, neuromusculoskeletal examination, diagnostic imaging, clinical laboratory and special studies, diagnosis or clinical impression, chiropractic techniques, supportive interventions, and case management. The test includes multiple choice questions as well as how to handle sample cases. Students take Part III within nine months of graduation.
  • Part IV includes three portions. In the first, you will answer questions about diagnostic images. In the second, you will demonstrate chiropractic techniques. Lastly, you will demonstrate the steps needed for case management, such as taking a case history and performing a neurological examination. Part IV is taken within six months of graduation.
  • Physiotherapy is an elective section that is required by some, but not all, states to become licensed. This test covers physiotherapy topics including phototherapy, exercise physiology, and muscle rehabilitation.

What’s Included on State Tests?

Each state licensing test is different, so you will need to carefully research and prepare according to the requirements of the state where you’ll practice.

That said, commonalities cross state tests. Most state tests evaluate your grasp of the rules and regulations in your location, scope of practice, and requirements to maintain good standing as a chiropractor.

The process to take state tests varies, too. Some states offer testing on a continual basis; others offer testing on specific dates a limited number of times per year. Check with the state where you plan to practice for more information.

Licensing Requirements by State

All U.S. states, plus Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands, require passing scores on the NBCE exam. In addition, chiropractors must fulfill other requirements to become licensed.

States grant their own licenses, so steps vary. Make sure to check with local jurisdictions before you’re ready to apply for licensure. That way, you’ll have checked off everything you need—and won’t have unexpected delays.

Skip to the state where you plan to practice for more details. Remember: Always visit the state board’s website to ensure you have all the information you need.

Licensing Requirements by State

Alabama

Licensing Agency: Alabama State Board of Chiropractic Examiners
Minimum Education Required: Bachelor of Science and Doctor of Chiropractic
Continuing Education Required: 18 hours per fiscal year
Procedures Allowed with Licensure: Spinal manipulation, thermal treatments, nutritional advice
State Requirements:

  • Fingerprinting
  • Background check
  • Passage of Alabama Chiropractic Law and Rules exam

Alaska

Licensing Agency: Alaska State Board of Chiropractic Examiners
Minimum Education Required: Two years of liberal arts education and Doctor of Chiropractic
Continuing Education Required: 32 hours every two years
Procedures Allowed with Licensure: Spinal manipulation
State Requirements:

  • Background check
  • Passage of Alaska chiropractic exam covering jurisprudence and X-ray safety
  • Passage of NBCE Physiotherapy exam

Arizona

Licensing Agency: State of Arizona Board of Chiropractic Examiners
Minimum Education Required: Doctor of Chiropractic
Continuing Education Required: 12 hours per year
Procedures Allowed with Licensure: Spinal manipulation, acupuncture, prescription of orthopedic supports, physiotherapy with passage of NBCE Physiotherapy exam
State Requirements:

  • Fingerprinting
  • Background check
  • Passage of Arizona chiropractic jurisprudence exam

Arkansas

Licensing Agency: Arkansas State Board of Chiropractic Examiners
Minimum Education Required: Two years of college education in the field of science and Doctor of Chiropractic
Continuing Education Required: 24 hours per year
Procedures Allowed with Licensure: Spinal manipulation
State Requirements:

  • Fingerprinting
  • Background check
  • Passage of Arkansas chiropractic ethics and jurisprudence exam
  • Passage of NBCE Physiotherapy exam

California

Licensing Agency: California Board of Chiropractic Examiners
Minimum Education Required: Doctor of Chiropractic
Continuing Education Required: 24 hours per fiscal year
Procedures Allowed with Licensure: Spinal manipulation
State Requirements:

  • Fingerprinting
  • Background check
  • Passage of CCLE (supervisors and operators X-ray permit exam)
  • Passage of NBCE Physiotherapy exam

Colorado

Licensing Agency: Colorado Board of Chiropractic Examiners
Minimum Education Required: None
Continuing Education Required: 15 hours per year
Procedures Allowed with Licensure: 15 hours per year
State Requirements: None

Connecticut

Licensing Agency: Connecticut State Board of Chiropractic Examiners
Minimum Education Required: Minimum 60 semester hours of undergraduate education and Doctor of Chiropractic
Continuing Education Required: 48 hours every two years
Procedures Allowed with Licensure: Spinal manipulation, acupuncture, nutritional advice, physiotherapy, and light, heat, water, or exercise therapy
State Requirements:

  • Passage of NBCE Physiotherapy exam

Delaware

Licensing Agency: Delaware Board of Chiropractic
Minimum Education Required: Doctor of Chiropractic
Continuing Education Required: 24 hours every two years
Procedures Allowed with Licensure: Spinal manipulation
State Requirements:

  • Passage of NBCE Physiotherapy exam

District of Columbia

Licensing Agency: Government of the District of Columbia Board of Chiropractic
Minimum Education Required: Two years of undergraduate education and Doctor of Chiropractic
Continuing Education Required: 24 hours every two years
Procedures Allowed with Licensure: Spinal manipulation; may earn Ancillary Procedures Cert, which includes physiotherapy and acupuncture
State Requirements:

  • Fingerprinting
  • Background check
  • Passage of D.C. laws and regulations exam

Florida

Licensing Agency: Florida Board of Chiropractic Medicine
Minimum Education Required: Two to four years of undergraduate education (depending on when applicant entered chiropractic school; see site for details) and Doctor of Chiropractic
Continuing Education Required: 40 hours every two years
Procedures Allowed with Licensure: Spinal manipulation, electrical therapy, thermal therapy, physiotherapy, and nutritional advice
State Requirements:

  • Fingerprinting
  • Background check
  • Passage of Florida Laws & Rules exam
  • Passage of NBCE Physiotherapy exam

Georgia

Licensing Agency: Georgia Board of Chiropractic Examiners
Minimum Education Required: Two years of college education and Doctor of Chiropractic
Continuing Education Required: 20 hours per year
Procedures Allowed with Licensure: Spinal manipulation
State Requirements:

  • Background check
  • Passage of open-book Georgia law exam

Hawaii

Licensing Agency: Hawaii Board of Chiropractic
Minimum Education Required: 60 credits of undergraduate education and Doctor of Chiropractic
Continuing Education Required: 20 hours every two years
Procedures Allowed with Licensure: Spinal manipulation, hot or cold therapy, rehabilitative exercise, traction, electrical stimulation, and therapeutic ultrasound
State Requirements:

  • Background check
  • Passage of NBCE Physiotherapy exam

Idaho

Licensing Agency: Idaho Board of Chiropractic Physicians
Minimum Education Required: Doctor of Chiropractic
Continuing Education Required: 18 hours per year
Procedures Allowed with Licensure: Spinal manipulation, physiotherapy, and nutritional advice
State Requirements:

  • Passage of NBCE Physiotherapy exam

Illinois

Licensing Agency: Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation
Minimum Education Required: Two years of undergraduate education and Doctor of Chiropractic
Continuing Education Required: 150 hours every three years
Procedures Allowed with Licensure: Spinal manipulation
State Requirements:

  • Fingerprinting
  • Background check

Indiana

Licensing Agency: Indiana State Board of Chiropractic Examiners
Minimum Education Required: Passage of NBCE Physiotherapy exam
Continuing Education Required: 12 hours per year
Procedures Allowed with Licensure: Spinal manipulation and physiotherapy
State Requirements:

  • Fingerprinting
  • Background check
  • Passage of Indiana jurisprudence exam
  • Passage of NBCE Physiotherapy exam

Iowa

Licensing Agency: Iowa Board of Chiropractic
Minimum Education Required: Doctor of Chiropractic and 120 hours of physiotherapy education
Continuing Education Required: 40 hours every two years
Procedures Allowed with Licensure: Spinal manipulation
State Requirements:

  • Passage of NBCE Physiotherapy exam

Kansas

Licensing Agency: Kansas State Board of Healing Arts
Minimum Education Required: Bachelor’s degree and Doctor of Chiropractic
Continuing Education Required: 50 hours every 18 months
Procedures Allowed with Licensure: Spinal manipulation, physiotherapy, nutritional advice, and electrical therapy
State Requirements:

  • Fingerprinting
  • Background check
  • Passage of NBCE Physiotherapy exam

Kentucky

Licensing Agency: Kentucky State Board of Chiropractic Examiners
Minimum Education Required: 60 credit hours of undergraduate education and Doctor of Chiropractic
Continuing Education Required: 12 hours per year
Procedures Allowed with Licensure: Spinal manipulation
State Requirements: None

Louisiana

Licensing Agency: Louisiana State Board of Chiropractic Examiners
Minimum Education Required: Bachelor’s degree and Doctor of Chiropractic
Continuing Education Required: 15 hours per year
Procedures Allowed with Licensure: Spinal manipulation, therapeutic exercise, use of mechanical devices, and therapy with heat, light, water, electricity, and sound
State Requirements:

  • Fingerprinting
  • Background check
  • Passage of Louisiana state statutes exam
  • Passage of NBCE Physiotherapy exam

Maine

Licensing Agency: Maine Board of Chiropractic Licensure
Minimum Education Required: Two years of undergraduate education and Doctor of Chiropractic
Continuing Education Required: 48 hours every two years
Procedures Allowed with Licensure: Spinal manipulation
State Requirements:

  • Background check
  • Passage of NBCE Physiotherapy exam

Maryland

Licensing Agency: Maryland Board of Chiropractic Examiners
Minimum Education Required: Bachelor’s degree and Doctor of Chiropractic
Continuing Education Required: 48 hours every two years
Procedures Allowed with Licensure: Spinal manipulation and nutritional advice
State Requirements:

  • Fingerprinting
  • Background check
  • Passage of Maryland jurisprudence exam
  • Passage of NBCE Physiotherapy exam, if chiropractor practices physiotherapy

Massachusetts

Licensing Agency: Massachusetts Board of Registration of Chiropractors
Minimum Education Required: Two years undergraduate education and Doctor of Chiropractic
Continuing Education Required: 12 hours per term
Procedures Allowed with Licensure: Spinal manipulation, nutritional advice, traction, and therapy using heat, cold, sound, and electricity
State Requirements:

  • Background check
  • Passage of Massachusetts jurisprudence exam
  • Passage of NBCE Physiotherapy exam

Michigan

Licensing Agency: Michigan Board of Chiropractic
Minimum Education Required: Doctor of Chiropractic
Continuing Education Required: 30 hours every two years
Procedures Allowed with Licensure: Spinal manipulation, nutritional advice, rehabilitative exercise
State Requirements:

  • Fingerprinting
  • Background check
  • English language proficiency

Minnesota

Licensing Agency: Minnesota Board of Chiropractic Examiners
Minimum Education Required: Two years of undergraduate education and Doctor of Chiropractic
Continuing Education Required: 20 hours per year
Procedures Allowed with Licensure: Spinal manipulation, rehabilitative therapy, acupuncture with completion of board-approved course of study and passage of exam
State Requirements:

  • Fingerprinting
  • Background check
  • Passage of Minnesota jurisprudence exam
  • Passage of NBCE Physiotherapy exam

Mississippi

Licensing Agency: Mississippi State Board of Chiropractic Examiners
Minimum Education Required: Two years of undergraduate education and Doctor of Chiropractic
Continuing Education Required: 12 hours per year
Procedures Allowed with Licensure: Spinal manipulation, traction, therapeutic ultrasound, therapy using light, heat, and electricity
State Requirements:

  • Fingerprinting
  • Background check
  • Passage of Mississippi jurisprudence exam
  • Passage of NBCE Physiotherapy exam

Missouri

Licensing Agency: Missouri State Board of Chiropractic Examiners
Minimum Education Required: Doctor of Chiropractic
Continuing Education Required: 48 hours every two years
Procedures Allowed with Licensure: Spinal manipulation, meridian therapy, acupressure, and acupuncture with certification
State Requirements:

  • Fingerprinting
  • Background check
  • Passage of Missouri law exam
  • Passage of NBCE Physiotherapy exam

Montana

Licensing Agency: Montana Board of Chiropractors
Minimum Education Required: Two years of undergraduate education and Doctor of Chiropractic
Continuing Education Required: 13 hours per year
Procedures Allowed with Licensure: Spinal manipulation, physiotherapy, and nutritional advice
State Requirements:

  • Passage of Montana jurisprudence exam
  • Passage of NBCE Physiotherapy exam

Nebraska

Licensing Agency: Nebraska Board of Chiropractic
Minimum Education Required: Two years of undergraduate education and Doctor of Chiropractic
Continuing Education Required: 36 hours every two years
Procedures Allowed with Licensure: Spinal manipulation, physiotherapy, colonic irrigation, and nutritional advice
State Requirements:

  • Background check
  • Passage of Nebraska jurisprudence exam optional but recommended
  • Passage of NBCE Physiotherapy exam

Nevada

Licensing Agency: Nevada Board of Chiropractic Physicians
Minimum Education Required: 60 undergraduate credit hours and Doctor of Chiropractic
Continuing Education Required: 36 hours every two years
Procedures Allowed with Licensure: Spinal manipulation, physiotherapy, and nutritional advice
State Requirements:

  • Background check
  • Fingerprinting
  • Passage of Nevada law exam
  • Passage of NBCE Physiotherapy exam

New Hampshire

Licensing Agency: New Hampshire Board of Chiropractic Examiners
Minimum Education Required: Doctor of Chiropractic
Continuing Education Required: 20 hours every two years
Procedures Allowed with Licensure: Spinal manipulation
State Requirements:

  • Passage of New Hampshire law and administrative rules exam

New Jersey

Licensing Agency: New Jersey State Board of Chiropractic Examiners
Minimum Education Required: Passage of New Jersey jurisprudence exam
Continuing Education Required: 30 hours every two years
Procedures Allowed with Licensure: Spinal manipulation, therapeutic exercise, and rehabilitative exercise
State Requirements:

  • Background check
  • Fingerprinting
  • Passage of New Jersey jurisprudence exam

New Mexico

Licensing Agency: New Mexico Chiropractic Board
Minimum Education Required: Two years of undergraduate education and Doctor of Chiropractic
Continuing Education Required: 16 hours per year
Procedures Allowed with Licensure: Spinal manipulation, physiotherapy, nutritional advice, and therapy using water, heat, cold, and electricity
State Requirements:

  • Passage of New Mexico jurisprudence exam
  • Passage of NBCE Physiotherapy exam

New York

Licensing Agency: New York State Office of the Professions
Minimum Education Required: 60 hours of undergraduate education and Doctor of Chiropractic
Continuing Education Required: 36 hours every three years
Procedures Allowed with Licensure: Spinal manipulation and nutritional counseling
State Requirements: None

North Carolina

Licensing Agency: North Carolina Board of Chiropractic Examiners
Minimum Education Required: Bachelor’s degree and Doctor of Chiropractic
Continuing Education Required: 18 hours per year
Procedures Allowed with Licensure: Spinal manipulation
State Requirements:

  • Background check
  • Fingerprinting
  • Passage of North Carolina jurisprudence exam
  • Passage of NBCE Physiotherapy exam

North Dakota

Licensing Agency: North Dakota State Board of Chiropractic Examiners
Minimum Education Required: Two years of undergraduate education and Doctor of Chiropractic
Continuing Education Required: 20 hours per year
Procedures Allowed with Licensure: Spinal manipulation, physiotherapy, hydrotherapy, and electrotherapy
State Requirements:

  • Background check
  • Fingerprinting
  • Passage of North Dakota jurisprudence exam
  • Passage of NBCE Physiotherapy exam

Ohio

Licensing Agency: Ohio State Chiropractic Board
Minimum Education Required: Bachelor’s degree and Doctor of Chiropractic
Continuing Education Required: 36 hours every two years
Procedures Allowed with Licensure: Spinal manipulation, nutritional advice, and rehabilitative therapy
State Requirements:

  • Background check
  • Fingerprinting
  • Passage of Ohio jurisprudence exam
  • Passage of NBCE Physiotherapy exam

Oklahoma

Licensing Agency: Oklahoma Board of Chiropractic Examiners
Minimum Education Required: Doctor of Chiropractic
Continuing Education Required: Eight hours per year
Procedures Allowed with Licensure: Spinal manipulation and therapeutic measures approved by Board of Chiropractic Examiners
State Requirements:

  • Background check
  • Fingerprinting
  • Passage of Oklahoma jurisprudence exam
  • Passage of NBCE Physiotherapy exam

Oregon

Licensing Agency: Oregon Board of Chiropractic Examiners
Minimum Education Required: Two years of undergraduate education, 36 hours minor surgery and proctology studies, and Doctor of Chiropractic
Continuing Education Required: 20 hours per year
Procedures Allowed with Licensure: Spinal manipulation, electrotherapy, hydrotherapy, minor surgery
State Requirements:

  • Background check
  • Fingerprinting
  • Passage of Oregon state exams on minor surgery, proctology, ethics, jurisprudence, public health, obstetrics, gynecology, and genitourinary
  • Passage of NBCE Physiotherapy exam

Pennsylvania

Licensing Agency: Pennsylvania State Board of Chiropractic
Minimum Education Required: Two years of undergraduate education and Doctor of Chiropractic
Continuing Education Required: 24 hours every two years
Procedures Allowed with Licensure: Spinal manipulation, nutritional counseling, plus adjunctive procedures when chiropractor is licensed in those procedures
State Requirements:

  • Background check
  • Passage of NBCE Physiotherapy exam is optional

Rhode Island

Licensing Agency: Rhode Island Board of Examiners in Chiropractic
Minimum Education Required: Bachelor’s degree and Doctor of Chiropractic
Continuing Education Required: 60 hours every three years
Procedures Allowed with Licensure: Spinal manipulation, nutritional counseling, and use of electro-magnetic appliances
State Requirements:

  • Passage of NBCE Physiotherapy exam is optional

South Carolina

Licensing Agency: South Carolina Board of Chiropractic Examiners
Minimum Education Required: Two years of undergraduate education and Doctor of Chiropractic
Continuing Education Required: 36 hours every two years
Procedures Allowed with Licensure: Spinal manipulation
State Requirements:

  • Passage of South Carolina ethics and jurisprudence exam

South Dakota

Licensing Agency: South Dakota Board of Chiropractic Examiners
Minimum Education Required: Bachelor’s degree and Doctor of Chiropractic
Continuing Education Required: 40 hours every two years
Procedures Allowed with Licensure: Spinal manipulation
State Requirements:

  • Background check
  • Fingerprinting
  • Passage of North Dakota law exam
  • Meeting with South Dakota Board of Chiropractic Examiners
  • Passage of NBCE Physiotherapy exam

Tennessee

Licensing Agency: Tennessee Board of Chiropractic Examiners
Minimum Education Required: Bachelor’s degree and Doctor of Chiropractic
Continuing Education Required: 24 hours per year
Procedures Allowed with Licensure: Spinal manipulation
State Requirements:

  • Background check
  • Fingerprinting
  • Oral interview with a state board member
  • Passage of NBCE Physiotherapy exam

Texas

Licensing Agency: Texas Board of Chiropractic Examiners
Minimum Education Required: 90 hours of undergraduate education and Doctor of Chiropractic
Continuing Education Required: 32 hours every two years
Procedures Allowed with Licensure: Spinal manipulation
State Requirements:

  • Background check
  • Fingerprinting
  • Passage of Texas jurisprudence exam
  • Passage of NBCE Physiotherapy exam

Utah

Licensing Agency: Utah Chiropractic Physicians Licensing Board
Minimum Education Required: Two years undergraduate education and Doctor of Chiropractic
Continuing Education Required: 40 hours every two years
Procedures Allowed with Licensure: Spinal manipulation and nutritional advice
State Requirements:

  • Passage of Utah law exam
  • Utah chiropractic laws and rules exam
  • Passage of NBCE Physiotherapy exam

Vermont

Licensing Agency: Vermont Board of Chiropractic
Minimum Education Required: Two years undergraduate education and Doctor of Chiropractic
Continuing Education Required: 24 hours every two years
Procedures Allowed with Licensure: Spinal manipulation
State Requirements:

  • Passage of Vermont jurisprudence exam
  • Passage of NBCE Physiotherapy exam

Virginia

Licensing Agency: Virginia Board of Medicine
Minimum Education Required: Doctor of Chiropractic
Continuing Education Required: 60 hours every two years
Procedures Allowed with Licensure: Spinal manipulation
State Requirements: None

Washington

Licensing Agency: Washington Chiropractic Quality Assurance Commission
Minimum Education Required: Two years undergraduate education and Doctor of Chiropractic
Continuing Education Required: 25 hours per year
Procedures Allowed with Licensure: Spinal manipulation, exercise, massage, trigger point therapy, dietary advice, and therapies using heat, cold, and water
State Requirements:

  • Background check
  • Fingerprinting for out-of-state applicants only
  • Passage of Washington jurisprudence exam

West Virginia

Licensing Agency: West Virginia Board of Chiropractic
Minimum Education Required: Two years of undergraduate education and Doctor of Chiropractic
Continuing Education Required: 18 hours per year
Procedures Allowed with Licensure: Spinal manipulation
State Requirements:

  • Background check
  • Fingerprinting
  • Passage of West Virginia oral jurisprudence exam
  • Interview with West Virginia Board of Chiropractic Examiners

Wisconsin

Licensing Agency: Wisconsin Chiropractic Examining Board
Minimum Education Required: Bachelor’s degree and Doctor of Chiropractic
Continuing Education Required: 40 hours every two years
Procedures Allowed with Licensure: Spinal manipulation, physiotherapy, and exercise rehabilitation
State Requirements:

  • Passage of Wisconsin jurisprudence exam

Wyoming

Licensing Agency: Wyoming State Board of Chiropractic Examiners
Minimum Education Required: Two years of undergraduate education and Doctor of Chiropractic
Continuing Education Required: 12 hours per year
Procedures Allowed with Licensure: Spinal manipulation, physiotherapy, and nutritional advice
State Requirements:

  • Background check
  • Passage of Wyoming jurisprudence exam
  • Passage of NBCE Physiotherapy exam

Puerto Rico

Licensing Agency: Junta Examinadora de Quiropracticos de Puerto Rico
Minimum Education Required: Doctor of Chiropractic
Continuing Education Required: 45 hours every three years
Procedures Allowed with Licensure: Spinal manipulation
State Requirements:

  • Passage of Puerto Rico jurisprudence exam

U.S. Virgin Islands

Licensing Agency: U.S. Virgin Islands Board of Chiropractic Examiners
Minimum Education Required: Bachelor’s degree and Doctor of Chiropractic
Continuing Education Required: Contact board for information
Procedures Allowed with Licensure: Spinal manipulation, physiotherapy, nutritional counseling, and exercise advice
State Requirements:

  • Passage of full Virgin Islands Board exam

What About Certifications?

All chiropractors must earn their doctorate, or DC. Diplomate certifications are optional opportunities for chiropractors to demonstrate an expertise. Different boards—not the NBCE—administer examinations to earn these diplomates.

Diplomates can be especially helpful in areas where competition for clients is tight, explains Danielle Fishel, DC, who practices in St. Louis. “It’s helpful to have that niche of a certification,” she says. “They can give you a leg up in business.”

She points out that certifications can also help clients feel more comfortable seeing a chiropractor. For example, Fishel is working on her diplomate in chiropractic pediatrics because her practice specializes in chiropractic for pregnant women, babies, and children.

Chiropractors can earn post-doctoral diplomates in nearly 20 specialties, from acupuncture to veterinary chiropractic.

To earn a diplomate, chiropractors must take courses that focus on the specialty. The number of credit hours varies, depending on the certifying board’s requirements. The specialty board also administers an exam and credentials chiropractors who have earned that certification.

“Earning a diplomate takes extra time, but it does help your practice grow,” Fishel says.

Chiropractors can earn post-doctoral diplomates in nearly 20 specialties.

Chiropractor Salary

You might be wondering how much a chiropractor earns. Salaries depend on factors like the state or city where you practice, if you have specialties or diplomates, and if you work in someone else’s practice or in your own.

In general, an associate in a medical office earns less than a chiropractor who runs their own practice. And the average salary for chiropractors in states such as Arizona, Georgia, and Nebraska is lower than in Connecticut, Hawaii, and Washington, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Beyond Licensure: More Ways to Advance in Your Chiropractic Career

Earning a diplomate to demonstrate your expertise in a topic such as nutrition or sports is not the only way to advance your chiropractic career.

Marketing can play a big role in your business’s success. How you talk about yourself, and how others talk about you, can help you become top-of-mind when someone is looking for a provider. Social media, earning media coverage, and offering expertise at conferences or group meetings are just a handful of ways to advance your career through marketing.

Focusing continuing education credits on a particular subject, such as migraines or car accident injuries, can help you stand out, too. Can you become the go-to chiropractor for a given issue?

Some chiropractors work their way through a typical career trajectory. They might start as an associate in another medical office, then become an independent contractor, and end up as the owner of a private practice.

Earning a specialty certificate, marketing your business, and owning your own practice are all ways you can advance your chiropractic career.

Building relationships with others can also move your chiropractic career forward. For example, you might resonate with an acupuncturist who refers clients to you, and you do the same for them. Networking, local chambers of commerce, and business referral organizations can all help you make the connections needed to refer—and get referrals for—clients.

“I go to networking meetings, I’m in Facebook groups, I’m in our chamber of commerce,” Fishel says. “Building my business like this helps my business grow, and I help others’ businesses grow, too.”

catherine gregory

Written by:
Catherine Ryan Gregory
Contributing Writer

danielle fishel

With professional insight from:
Danielle Fishel, DC
Owner, Fishel Chiropractic