Chiropractic medicine focuses on the relationship between the body’s main structures – the skeleton, the muscles and the nerves – and the patient’s health. Chiropractors believe that health can be improved and preserved by making adjustments to these structures, particularly to the spinal column. They do not prescribe drugs or perform surgical procedures, although they do refer patients for these services if they are medically indicated.
What does a Chiropractor do?
- Diagnoses and treats neuromuscular disorders
- Manually adjusts spine, ligaments, and joints to relieve pain, restore function, and prevent severe health problems
Please note that Idaho State University does not have a chiropractic program, however Idaho State University is a great institution to attend for preparing to apply to chiropractic schools.
Students looking to be admitted into a chiropractic school generally need to complete a bachelor's degree before being admitted to chiropractic schools. The following courses are common prerequisites for chiropractic schools, however you should check individual programs for their specific requirements. Many Chiropractic schools do not have specific course requirements, but instead, require a certain number of credits from different subjects. See a Pre-Health Advisor for assistance with course planning.
Biological Sciences with Labs
Chemistry with Labs (General, Inorganic, Organic, Biochemistry)
CHEM 1111, 1111L, 1112, 1112L, 2211, 2213, 3301, 3303, 3302, 3304, 4445
Physics with Labs
PHYS 1111, 1113, 1112, 1114
ENGL 1101, 1102
Social Sciences and Humanities
*3 semester hours must be General/Inorganic Chemistry, 6 semester hours must be Organic and/or Biochemistry
We recommend keeping a record of all extracurricular activities. Be sure to track contact information for supervisors and chiropractors you work with or shadow, and write reflections on each activity. The Pre-Health Extracurricular Tracker can help with this and is found under the resources tab.
Shadowing a Chiropractor should be one of your first experiences as a pre-chiropractic student. You will have a better understanding of what the profession is actually like and whether it might be a good fit for you. Competitive applicants shadow at least 2 different chiropractors. For more information, see the Shadowing Guide.
Demonstrating commitment and care for your community shows dedication and compassion. It is important to have volunteer experiences that are ongoing throughout your college years prior to admission applications. Service activities need not be medically related but should be meaningful to you.
Leadership experience in any setting can make you stand out from other applicants by showing you are actively preparing for your future, as well as showing that you are a strong member of a team. As a chiropractor, you will be a leader and team member with your patients, staff, colleagues, and community.
A personal statement is a written description of your achievements, interests, and motivations as part of an application to a graduate program. Personal statements should answer the questions “Why did I choose chiropractic medicine?” and ”What motivates me?” You should begin writing your personal statement six months before your application process. For more information see the Personal Statement Guide.
Excellent letters of recommendation are an essential part of your application. Requirements for letters vary between schools, so research schools early and know what you need. Recommended letters may come from a Doctor of Chiropractic, an academic professor, and a work supervisor. Most schools will require at least two letters of recommendation, check with individual programs for letter requirements. Letters are a part of the secondary process, so don’t delay submitting your primary application while waiting on your letters. See the Letters of Recommendation Guide for more information. Reach out to your advisor if you have further questions.
There are currently 17 accredited chiropractic schools in the United States on a total of 19 campuses. Most admit students 2-3 times per year. Many follow a rolling admissions process, meaning they begin reviewing applications and admitting students before deadlines.
Applying to Chiropractic schools can be reduced down to these essential steps.
The Graduate Record Exam (GRE)
Only a few chiropractic schools require the GRE. The GRE is administered throughout the year. Once you take the GRE, students typically receive their scores 10-15 days after. It may be repeated, but the best strategy is to prepare thoroughly and take it once. More information on the GRE, including sample questions, can be found on the GRE website.
The Association of Chiropractic Colleges (ACC) is developing a centralized application service called The Chiropractic Centralized Application Service (ChiroCAS), but most schools encourage you to apply directly from their websites. It is important to check with each school so you are aware of their application requirements and deadlines.
Before applying, you should take time to research schools early on and make sure they fit your needs and wants. You may consider following social media for programs of your interest, visiting their website, attending webinars, and visiting their campus if possible.
Plan plenty of time to prepare and submit your application. Applications generally include your transcripts, extracurricular activities, a personal statement, letters of recommendation, and your GRE score (if needed).
Some schools may request secondary applications. These applications will vary by school. Consult with your pre-health advisor and ensure that you are following all the directions you are given by the program.
Programs may invite you to interview with them. This often indicates you are an applicant of interest, and they want to get to know you better. For more information, see the Interview Guide.