Are Chiropractors real doctors? What is chiropractic school like?

Dr. Wainwright here today from Tallahassee Spinal Care, and today, I wanted to share with you about chiropractors.

A lot of times people ask our chiropractors actually real doctors, I think it’s a fair question to ask so what I wanted to do is try to unpack a little bit about the education process of chiropractors versus that of like a medical doctor or something you’re probably more familiar with and trying to give you a little bit of a comparison. That way you have a better idea of what to expect.

Now as far as for chiropractic school versus medical school, they do have quite a few similarities and they do have quite a few differences as well. And I’d like to just kind of give you a better idea about that. So as far as for chiropractors, generally speaking, they need to have a bachelor degree before they can even go into chiropractic school.. so you’re talking four years of college education typically in, you know, like biology or some kind of physiology. In my particular case it was exercise physiology my undergraduate degree and then after getting your four-year bachelor’s degree you have to go to chiropractic school, which is basically another four years of school.

Now compared to medical school, that’s basically the same type of pattern. The first two years of chiropractic school and the first two years in medical school are extremely similar. You’re basically getting a lot of your core sciences, your anatomy, your physiology, your neurology, a lot of the basic.. you know just human sciences, so they are very very comparable. After that, the last two years of chiropractic school and in the last two years of medical school are a little bit different. Medical schools tend to push more of having the students do like clinical rotations and doing more of like internships if that makes sense is be kind of the best way to think about it so they’ll spend more time kind of in a clinical setting versus chiropractic school. They chiropractors do have to do an internship in school. They just spend more time doing more study as far as for Sciences and for biomechanics and things like that.

Interestingly enough if you go through and you look at the hours of study required for chiropractors, chiropractors tend to spend just over 3000 hours of study or basically of classroom hours if that makes sense versus medical doctors they tend to spend on average about 2,700, so they’re actually 300 hours less than chiropractors. Again I think they’re spending more time as far as doing their internship or the rotation, chiropractors actually spend more time studying.

I was going through and just checking different areas of study like neurology, radiology, diagnosis, anatomy, physiology, chemistry and a lot of that and I was actually surprised to find that chiropractors do spend about double the amount of time studying neurology, x-rays things like that.

Medical doctors tend to spend more time looking into like biochemistry and I think that’s because they tend to deal with more of you know like prescription drugs and things like that they have to know the drug interaction so they’re gonna spend more time there, but chiropractor is more so on the neurology. And actually interestingly enough spend about double the amount of time studying diagnosis versus medical doctors, which I was really, I myself was actually surprised to find that out. So that’s kind of the layout as far as education of chiropractors.

Now after you graduate with your doctorate of chiropractic there is no requirement as far as for like at a fellowship or a residency if that makes sense. Medical doctors are required to do some level of a residency normally that’s another additional one or two years of basically working at a facility before they’re allowed to kind of go out and practice whatever way they would like. Typically chiropractors right after they graduate they can pretty much go into their own practice in their life. So that’s one of the major differences.

I myself actually am involved in a fellowship right now. It is optional for chiropractors to do a fellowship so I am doing additional postgraduate training, doing several hundred hours worth of additional training currently, at this time and hopefully in the near future I will be finishing that up.

So hopefully that gives you guys a better idea of, you know maybe some of the differences in the similarities between chiropractors and medical doctors, so to answer the question, are chiropractors real doctors? In my mind after going through and doing all those thousands of hours of studying and being licensed by the state of Florida, licensed by the federal government and being board certified by the National Board of Examiners, I would say yes I am a real doctor.

So hopefully this all clears up some misinformation.