Becoming a Chiropractor
Individuals interested in becoming a chiropractor will have to make a substantial investment of time in their education. In order to be registered to practice as a chiropractor with a provincial or territorial regulatory board in Canada, you must complete the following:
1. Pre-Chiropractic Education Programme Requirements
Chiropractic educational programmes in Canada are accredited by the Council on Chiropractic Education Canada of the Canadian Federation of Chiropractic Regulatory and Educational Accrediting Boards (Federation). The Federation establishes the Standards for Doctor of Chiropractic Programmes which set out the minimum requirements for entry to an accredited educational programme.
The Federation's Standards for Doctor of Chiropractic Programmes states:
- The minimum academic requirement for admission will be three full years of study (minimum of fifteen full courses) in a university programme or at an institution or institutions recognized at the university level by a provincial Ministry of Education, or as delivered by the Ministry of Education of the Province of Quebec for chiropractic institutions or programmes in the Province of Quebec. Post-secondary pre-professional education that has been acquired must have a cumulative grade point average of 2.50 on a 4.00 scale, with effect from fall 2000 enrolment. In situations where one or more courses have been repeated with equivalent courses, the failed grades must be included in the grade point average computation.
- Persons with disabilities should not be summarily denied admission, nor should higher scholastic requirements be demanded of them. They, like all other students, must carry out classroom, laboratory, and clinical assignments, including microscopic work, X-ray interpretation and techniques, or the equivalent; pass written, oral and practical examinations, and meet all the requirements of the Doctor of Chiropractic Programme.
2. Graduation from an Accredited Doctor of Chiropractic Education Programme
The Federation establishes the Standards for Doctor of Chiropractic Programmes which set out the educational requirements and accredit programmes in compliance with those Standards. Federation accredited programmes require a minimum of four to five academic years of full-time study totalling no less than 4,200 hours.
There are two programmes accredited by the Federation. They are:
- Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College (CMCC) in Toronto in English
- Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières (UQTR) Trois-Rivières in French
In addition to the academic elements of the programme, chiropractic education requires hands-on clinical experience under the direct supervision of highly-qualified chiropractic faculty. This experience includes clinical assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and referral protocols. The faculty at both CMCC and UQTR have diverse backgrounds and offer students a wide range of expertise. Faculty come from such disciplines as biological sciences, pathology, medicine and psychology, as well as chiropractic.
Both the CMCC and UQTR programmes include courses in anatomy, biochemistry, physiology, neurology, embryology, principles of chiropractic, radiology, immunology, microbiology, pathology, nutrition, and clinical sciences specifically relating to diagnosis.
In particular, students receive training in radiology which covers a range of topics from radiation biophysics and protection to clinical x-ray interpretation and diagnosis. Radiology training consists of more than 360 contact hours followed by application during clinical internship.
Chiropractic students are educated as primary-contact health care practitioners, with emphasis on neuro-musculo-skeletal diagnosis and treatment. This education concentrates on three areas of learning:
- Basic training in the biological and health sciences, including anatomy, physiology, histology, biochemistry, clinical and radiological diagnosis;
- Specialized training in the chiropractic discipline, including theoretical studies, practice, diagnosis and application; and
- Extensive clinical training.
The Federation is a member of the Councils on Chiropractic Education International (CCEI), along with the CCE US, the European CCE and the Australasian CCE. All CCEI member agencies uphold similar high standards. For a listing of all accredited programmes world-wide please visit the CCEI web site.
Graduates of chiropractic programmes accredited by a CCEI member agency are recognized by the Federation and are eligible to sit licensure examinations in Canada.
3. Examination of Candidates for Licensure
Upon graduation from an accredited programme, candidates must pass the written and practical exams offered by the Canadian Chiropractic Examining Board (CCEB). For more information on these examinations, please visit the CCEB web site.
4. Application to Provincial or Territorial Regulatory Board
After passing the CCEB examinations, you may apply for licensure in a Canadian province or territory. Each regulatory jurisdiction has unique requirements for licensure and should be contacted early in the process of becoming a chiropractor. In addition to graduation and being successful on the examinations, regulatory boards generally will need the following:
- letters of reference,
- passing a legislation and ethics examination,
- criminal screening, and an
Please note that it is the responsibility of the candidate for licensure to check with the relevant chiropractic provincial or territorial regulatory board to ensure that they meet all of the requirements.