Becoming a Chiropractor in Canada

Canadian Schools offering Chiropractic Degrees

Chiropractic medicine is concerned with the well-being and health of the nervous and spinal system. In the past, it was considered to be an alternative treatment. In Canada today, it is becoming increasingly mainstream and popular. There are several reasons why the need for chiropractors is growing in Canada today.

  • Rising aging population
  • Poor health habits
  • Increasingly stressful lifestyle among Canadians

Individuals who want to be chiropractors must believe in and learn the discipline’s philosophy. After understanding the basic principles, these professionals must learn to apply it. They also need skills and knowledge, and some of this will be taught in college. However, most of it will be acquired individually. This is a good career for those who want to help people.

Getting into Chiropractor School

People who want to be chiropractors need to finish seven years of higher education prior to licensure. To enter a chiropractic school, an individual must have a GPA of 2.50 or above in their last three full years of undergraduate study in Canada.

Schools also require official academic transcripts from their applicants. These documents must be sent directly from the school where the applicant studied. Applicants must spend three years in university. These years are focused on studying basic science and social subjects as prerequisites such as the following.

  • Physics
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • A half course of introductory psychology
  • One and one half units in humanities
  • Mathematics

After finishing their prerequisites, students will spend four to five years studying chiropractic medicine. The chiropractic medicine curriculum is very rigid. It is divided into pre-clinical and clinical sciences. The pre clinical phase runs for two years. There are a number of subjects taken during this time.

  • Biochemistry
  • Toxicology and Pharmacology
  • Public Health
  • Dietetics and Nutrition
  • Pharmacology
  • Physiology
  • Anatomy
  • Pathology
  • Microbiology

Additionally, the typical credit load of a chiropractic student could reach 23 to 26 credit hours. This is much heavier than other undergraduate programs. Regular undergraduates only have to take 15 credit hours per semester.

The clinical phase of chiropractic study lasts for three trimesters. It focuses solely on chiropractic performance-based courses. There are several subjects discussed in this phase.

  • General Physical Examination
  • Differential Diagnosis
  • History-taking Skills
  • Laboratory Diagnosis
  • Neurology
  • Radiology
  • Rheumatology
  • Orthopaedics
  • Eyes, Ears Throat and Nose Studies
  • Basic Geriatrics
  • Basic Paediatrics
  • Basic Dermatology
  • Basic Obstetrics and Gynaecology

In the advanced clinical phase, interns will apply and integrate their classroom knowledge. This is their chance to refine their techniques and diagnostic skills. They also learn how to manage different kinds of patients. Interns will have the chance to acquire knowledge about the basics of practice management that includes the following.

  • Patient education
  • Communication and interpersonal skills
  • Ethical business practices

The advanced clinical phase is also devoted to various internship programs that include these subjects.

  • Radiology Laboratory Clerkship
  • Clinical Laboratory Clerkship
  • Chiropractic Internship
  • Clinical X-ray Reporting and Interpretation
  • Advanced Diagnostic Imaging


Some schools such as the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College require a 12 month internship. This internship includes the college’s external and internal clinics. Internships are done under the supervision of highly qualified chiropractic faculty. These teachers come from different disciplines such as psychology, medicine, biological science, pathology and chiropractic medicine.

Upon graduation, students will receive the title Doctor of Chiropractic Medicine. This internship experience includes the following.

  • Diagnosis of Patients
  • Clinical Assessment
  • Referral and Treatment Protocols


There are only two accredited chiropractic programs in Canada.

  • The Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College in Toronto
  • L’ Universite du Quebec a Trois-Rivieres

The Council on Chiropractic Education of Canada (www.chirofed.ca) is the organization responsible for the accreditation of schools that teach chiropractic medicine.


In order to obtain a license, students must finish a 12 month clinical internship. They also must get through the Canadian National Examination for Chiropractic Licensure. The Canadian Chiropractic Examining Board offers this exam. It is usually held in June, February and October of each year.

After passing the examinations, students receive a registration certificate. This certificate is given by the Canadian Chiropractic Examining Board. Even though it is recognized by all provincial licensing boards, every province has its own unique requirements. Candidates must contact the province licensing board where they would like to practice in order to determine licensing requirements. In addition to successfully passing the examinations, provincial regulatory boards also require the following.

  • Criminal screening
  • Passing an ethics and legislation examination
  • Letters of reference
  • Interview

Maintaining the License

Chiropractors must enrol in continuing education and post graduation courses to maintain their license. These provincial licensing agencies sometimes act in accordance with government policy and other times their own established mandatory continuing education programs. Across Canada, these vary from one province to another.

Chiropractic Specializations

Chiropractic Sports Sciences

Chiropractic Sports sciences is a specialty that provides the following services.

  • Rehabilitation
  • Conservative Management
  • Performance Optimization for Athletes

Chiropractors in this specialty have also made contributions to athletic health maintenance, enhanced rehabilitation after injury, therapy, trauma management and protective gear in contact sports. Spinal injury prevention is one of the most important things that sports chiropractors help with.

Chiropractic Orthopaedics

This is a specialization that deals with treating musculoskeletal injuries using non-surgical procedures. This includes manual manipulation of the joints in the extremities and the spine. It also utilizes the following healing methods.

  • Electrical muscle stimulation
  • Cryotherapy
  • Infrared and moist heat
  • Targeted massage
  • Customized exercise regimens
  • Therapeutic ultrasound

Chiropractic Clinical Sciences

This specialization focuses on the politics, research and education affecting chiropractic practice. Those in the field are also involved in the conduct and development of continuing education programs. Additionally, they encourage the study and discussion of current health care trends and research in chiropractic and general health care.

Chiropractic Radiology

Chiropractic radiologists are highly trained and educated to interpret and even order advanced imaging.

They also sometimes perform imaging exams such as the following.

  • Diagnostic Ultrasound
  • Plain radiographs
  • CT Scan
  • MRI

Occupational and Physical Rehabilitation

This specialty focuses on helping injured workers get back to work safely. It also focuses on getting injured individuals back to performing their jobs with maximum functional performance. Additionally, occupational and physical rehabilitation chiropractors aim to correct improper work habits with different functional activities. These activities involve specialized repetitive movements designed to prevent injuries and increase muscle strength and flexibility.

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