How to become a Chiropractor

Chiropractors diagnose and treat health problems related to the nervous, muscular and skeletal systems, particularly the spine, without the use of drugs or surgery.

Personal requirements of a Chiropractor

  • Enjoy health sciences
  • Strong interpersonal skills
  • Attention to detail
  • Ability to perform fine manual tasks
  • Able to think and work independently
  • Strong analytical ability

Education & Training for a Chiropractor

To become a chiropractor you usually have to complete a degree in chiropractic science at university. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education. Prerequisite subjects, or assumed knowledge, in one or more of English, mathematics and chemistry are normally required. A number of universities in Australia offer degrees in chiropractic science. Universities have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information. For full details, refer to the entries on the website at www.goodcareersguide.com.au or university handbooks.

Duties & Tasks of a Chiropractor

Chiropractors may perform the following tasks:

  • note down patients’ case history details, conduct physical examinations and interpret diagnostic imaging studies such as X-rays
  • adjust patients’ spine or other joints to correct joint dysfunctions interfering with proper nervous system control and integration of body function
  • treat patients by adjusting the spinal column to manipulate joints and soft tissues
  • conduct specialised work such as sports chiropractic, paediatrics, diagnostic imaging or various chiropractic techniques
  • give advice about general health matters such as exercise and nutrition
  • perform pre-employment examinations and workplace assessments
  • provide certificates for insurance and work-related purposes.

Employment Opportunities for a Chiropractor

Opportunities exist for new graduates to work as locums (temporary relief workers) or as associates of established clinics. They may also set up their own practices. Research and teaching positions may be available in some areas. Established chiropractors usually work in their own private practice or in clinics with other healthcare professionals. They may also act as allied health consultants in areas such as occupational health and safety, sport, rehabilitation, health insurance assessment and medico-legal advising. Job prospects depend on consumer demand for drug-free approaches to health care, both in Australia and throughout the world. Chiropractic care has recently become more accepted as a result of research and changing attitudes about alternative, drug-free, non-invasive healthcare practices. Prospects are also likely to be affected by an increase in the number of elderly people in the population, as this group is more likely to experience health problems that are treatable by chiropractors. Demand is also affected by the extent to which chiropractic services are covered by private health insurance providers.

Additional Information
Before undertaking clinical placements required by courses, students will need to obtain a National Police Certificate, a Provide First Aid Certificate and immunisations, and undergo a Working with Children Check. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information. Graduates are required to complete extensive clinical practice before receiving full accreditation. It is a legal requirement for graduates to be registered with the Chiropractic Board of Australia before practising as a chiropractor in any state or territory in Australia. For full details, visit their website.
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