Why a Chiropractic Physician:
A chiropractic physician's training is very thorough. There are differences in all schools of medicine. Chiropractors, in general, have more training in physical diagnosis, nutrition, radiology (X-Ray, MRI, etc), neuromusculoskeletal system, and wellness/homeostasis than other primary care doctors. This has played out in "the real world" is both patient satisfaction and cost of care.
Both chiropractic and medical schools require certain course work for admission. These vary from school to school. Very few schools of either type require a bachelor's degree, although some specify that they prefer the applicant have such a degree.
Chiropractic colleges do not require the MCAT. Some medical schools do. Contrary to common belief, some medical schools (including high profile institutions) require the bare minimum of undergraduate requirements.
We took the admission requirements for medical schools from the publication titled: Medical School Admission Requirements, 1997-1998: United States and Canada, 47th edition (published by The Association of American Medical Colleges). Admission requirements for accredited chiropractic schools are dictated by the Council on Chiropractic Colleges (the agency appointed by the U.S. Dept. of Education to accredit chiropractic colleges).
The Parker College study reported that on average, chiropractic college involves 372 more classroom hours than medical school. Chiropractic students also have more hours of training in anatomy, physiology, diagnosis, and orthopedics (the musculoskeletal system).
It should be apparent from looking at the data below that in general; the chiropractic student has a more extensive classroom education and practical training in these areas, particularly in diagnosis, than the medical student.
Requirements for Admission to
Chiropractic and Medical Schools
Parker Chiropractic College
Harvard Medical School
Biological Science (with lab)
General or Inorganic Chemistry
Organic Chemistry (with lab)
Physics (with lab)
English or Communicative Skills
Humanities or Social Sciences
22.5 quarter hours
6-to-18 quarter hours.
These basic educational requirements for graduates of both chiropractic and medical schools show that although each has its own specialties, the hours of classroom instruction are about the same. (The class hours for basic science comparisons were compiled and averaged following a review of curricula of 18 chiropractic colleges and 22 medical schools.)
Minimum Required Hours
Obstetrics & Gynecology
Total Hours for Degree
The U.S. Department of Education, through the separate accrediting agencies for chiropractic and medical schools, dictates the credentials of faculty members. In both chiropractic and medical schools, the classes for the first two academic years are usually basic sciences.
Faculty members in the basic sciences divisions are either Ph.D.s in each subject taught (such as microbiology or biochemistry), or D.C.s, M.D.s, or D.O.s who also have bachelors, masters, or Ph.D. degrees in the basic science subjects being taught. Classes in the clinical sciences division are usually taught by D.C.s, M.D.s, or D.O.s.
In many chiropractic colleges, M.D.s or D.O.s are permitted to teach certain courses, such as laboratory diagnosis. However, D.C.s must teach courses in which M.D.s or D.O.s don't have sufficient education or practical clinical experience.
All chiropractic colleges have active research departments in which researchers conduct both basic science and clinical studies. The subjects of study range from biomechanics to biochemistry.
Traditionally, chiropractic colleges had only minuscule research funding compared to medical schools. I recall political medicine using this fact as evidence that chiropractic wasn't legitimate.
However, the medical critics failed confess that the minimal funding or lack of it was a result of political medicine doing everything in its power to block funding of studies in chiropractic college.
Obviously, political medicine used a circular and disingenuous argument to deceive the public. Today, chiropractic colleges are receiving more funding for research.
Some medical schools have D.C.s as full-time faculty members. The University of Colorado School of Medicine, for example, has a full-time chiropractic radiologist as a faculty member.
Dr. James P. Barassi, a chiropractor, is Research Fellow in Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Chiropractors occasionally teach part-time or special classes through medical schools.
It's not unusual for D.C.s and M.D.s to co-teach both medical and chiropractic audiences. Most often, chiropractic physicians and medical neurologists or neurosurgeons co-teach.