Doctor of Chiropractic
Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C. or DC) or Doctor of Chiropractic Medicine (D.C.M. or DCM) is an academic degree for chiropractic physicians. In the United States, it is considered to be a first professional degree.
Those who hold the degrees of Doctor of Chiropractic Medicine (D.C.), are legally recognized as physicians according to both the US Federal Government, the Joint Commission (which in 2009 changed its rules to include DC's) and the laws of the vast majority of States (NY and CA being notable exceptions; though the reasons were likely due to AMA politics). The use of the term "physician" is a legally regulated word, like "university" or "bank", and professional associations do not get to decide who is or is not entitled to use it. Legislatures do.
Like M.D.s or D.O.s, these health care professionals are licensed to diagnose and treat human illnesses. They perform complete physical, orthopedic and neurological examinations, take and interpret their own xrays, and order and interpret laboratory tests, and only then determine if their patient's condition can be resolved within their scope. If not they are trained to refer to another kind of doctor. Despite that they do not prescribe legend drugs, or practice surgery, they have been deemed primary care doctors. Exactly because United States medical boards do not generally give the title Physician and Surgeon, nearly every State now licenses Chiropractic Physicians under their OWN Board. They have served as ringside physicians at boxing meets, and even as Olympic team physicians for both the US and numerous other National Olympic Teams.
Background to chiropractic
Chiropractic is a health profession concerned with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mechanical disorders of the musculoskeletal system and the effect of these disorders on the function of the nervous system and on general health. There is an emphasis on manual treatments including spinal manipulation or adjustment. By restoring normal function to the musculoskeletal system chiropractors can play a major part in relieving disorders, and any accompanying pain or discomfort, arising from accidents, stress, lack of exercise, poor posture, illness and everyday wear and tear. Chiropractors take a holistic approach to health and wellbeing: this means that they consider its physical, psychological and social aspects.
Also known as a "chiropractor" or "chiropractic physician", a DC or DCM is a health professional who seeks to diagnose, treat, correct, and prevent neurological, skeletal, or soft tissue dysfunction by employing manual therapies; the most frequent being spinal and other articular adjustments and manipulations.
History of the Doctor of Chiropractic degree
The degree originated with Daniel David Palmer, the founder of chiropractic, when he started graduating students from his short courses of instruction. At the time he was self-taught and was never a doctor of any kind nor medically educated, having only received eight years of education. He bestowed the degree upon himself and upon his students. Since that time the profession has continued to issue the degree to graduates of chiropractic schools in the United States and Canada.
In 1966 the Office of Education of the United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare listed the degree under the heading of "spurious." At some later date the status was changed. It is now listed among other doctoral degrees.
The United States Department of Education currently states:
- Chiropractic--Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C. or D.C.M.), a curriculum divided into "straight" or "progressive" chiropractic depending upon the philosophy of the institution, generally requiring 3 academic years of full-time study after 2 years or more of study at the associate or bachelor's degree level.
Additional notes by country
A D.C. is considered a "primary health care" provider in the United States and Canada. This implies that a patient does not require a referral to seek treatment from a chiropractor. In this sense they are considered a "portal of entry" to the healthcare system.
In the United States, chiropractors are trained in accredited schools of chiropractic which are overseen by the Council on Chiropractic Education. To qualify for licensure, graduates must pass 4 examinations from the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners and complete State specific requirements; most State boards require at least 2 years of undergraduate education, and an increasing number require a 4-year bachelor’s degree. All licensing boards in the US require the completion of a 4-year program at an accredited college leading to the DC degree. Once licensed, most States require chiropractors to attend 12-50 hours of continuing education annually.
Graduates of chiropractic schools receive the degree Doctor of Chiropractic (DC), are referred to as "doctor", and are eligible to seek licensure in all jurisdictions. The Council on Chiropractic Education (CCE) sets minimum guidelines for chiropractic colleges, but additional requirements may be needed for a license depending on the jurisdiction where a chiropractor chooses to practice. All 19 chiropractic institutions are accredited by the CCE. In 1991, the University of Bridgeport established its College of Chiropractic, becoming the first chiropractic school in the USA to be affiliated with a university.
Students often enter chiropractic school with a Bachelor's degree, but, in 2005, only one chiropractic college required this as an admission requirement. The minimum prerequisite for enrollment in a chiropractic college set forth by the CCE is 90 semester hours, and the minimum cumulative GPA for a student entering is 2.50. Commonly required classes include: psychology, biology, organic and inorganic chemistry, and physics. Other common medical classes are: anatomy or embryology, physiology, microbiology, diagnosis, neurology, x-ray, orthopedics, obstetrics/gynecology, histology, and pathology. Chiropractic programs require at least 4,200 hours of combined classroom, laboratory, and clinical experience. The last 2 years stress courses in manipulation and spinal adjustment and provide clinical experience in physical and laboratory diagnosis, orthopedics, neurology, geriatrics, physiotherapy, and nutrition.
To qualify for licensure, graduates must pass 4 examinations from the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners and complete State specific requirements; most State boards require at least 2 years of undergraduate education, and an increasing number require a 4-year bachelor’s degree. All licensing boards in the US require the completion of a 4-year program at an accredited college leading to the DC degree. Once licensed, most States require chiropractors to attend 12-50 hours of continuing education annually. Chiropractic colleges also offer postdoctoral training in neurology, orthopedics, sports injuries, nutrition, rehabilitation, industrial consulting, radiology, family practice, pediatrics, and applied chiropractic sciences. After such training, chiropractors may take exams leading to "diplomate" status in a given specialty including orthopedics, neurology and radiology.
- ↑ Universities.com, First-Professional degree in Chiropractic (DC).available online
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Chiropractors U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, October 25, 2006.
- ↑ Department of Investigation, American Medical Association. JAMA 197:999-1005, 1966.
- ↑ First-Professional Studies: Degrees awarded
- ↑ The International Chiropractic Association, Chiropractic Quick Facts. available online
- ↑ The Canadian Chiropractic Association, The Chiropractic Profession - Within the Health Care Framework. available online