Is becoming a sports chiropractor right for me?

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What do sports chiropractors do?

Still unsure if becoming a sports chiropractor is the right career path? to find out if this career is right for you. Perhaps you are well-suited to become a sports chiropractor or another similar career!

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How to become a Sports Chiropractor

Bachelor’s Degree
There is not a specific degree that is required for pre-chiropractic medicine undergraduate study. According to the Association of Chiropractic Colleges, aspiring sports chiropractors are most likely to earn a bachelor’s in one for these disciplines:

Common prerequisite classes include human anatomy, physiology, embryology, genetics, microbiology, immunology, cellular biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, biochemistry, toxicology, pharmacology, nutrition, nuclear medicine, biomechanics, and statistics.

Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) Degree
Prospective sports chiropractors must complete a four-year chiropractic program at a chiropractic college accredited by the Councils on Chiropractic Education International (CCEI). The curriculum combines classroom instruction, laboratory work, and clinical experience, with emphasis on anatomy, physiology, pathology, biomechanics, diagnosis, and chiropractic techniques.

Chiropractic graduates must obtain licensure in the state where they plan to practise. Licensure requirements vary by state but typically include passing the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE) exam and meeting state-specific requirements.

Practical Experience
New chiropractic graduates who wish to specialize in sports chiropractic should gain experience working with athletes and in sports medicine settings. This can be done through internships, residencies, or working under the supervision of experienced sports chiropractors.

Further Education or Training
Sports chiropractors may choose to pursue additional education or training in areas such as acupuncture or massage therapy to enhance their skills and expertise.

Professional Organizations and Certifications
As the field of chiropractic is constantly evolving, it is important to stay up to date with the latest technologies, developments, and best practices. Several chiropractic organizations provide advocacy efforts, access to professional events, continuing education opportunities, and research and resources, as well as a network of like-minded professionals working in the field.

Many sports chiropractors hold certifications offered by these organizations, which demonstrate expertise in the field as well as a commitment to ongoing learning and professional development. While they are voluntary, some employers may require one or more of these certifications as a condition of employment.

  • Certified Chiropractic Sports Physician (CCSP) – This certification is offered by the American Chiropractic Board of Sports Physicians (ACBSP) and requires additional coursework and clinical experience in sports medicine, injury assessment, rehabilitation, and performance enhancement.
  • Diplomate of the American Chiropractic Board of Sports Physicians (DACBSP) – This certification is the highest level of certification offered by the ACBSP and requires completion of a residency program, involving extensive postgraduate coursework, clinical experience, and a written and practical exam in sports medicine and sports chiropractic.
  • International Chiropractic Sports Science Diploma (ICSSD) – This certification is offered by the International Federation of Sports Chiropractic (Fédération Internationale de Chiropratique du Sport – FISC) and requires additional coursework and clinical experience in sports medicine, sports chiropractic, and other related fields.
  • Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) – While not specifically for chiropractors, this certification offered by the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) can be helpful for sports chiropractors who work with athletes in strength and conditioning programs.
  • Certification in Chiropractic Acupuncture – This certification is offered by the International Academy of Medical Acupuncture and requires additional training in acupuncture techniques for pain management and sports injury treatment.
  • Certified Kinesio Taping Practitioner (CKTP) – This certification is offered by the Kinesio Taping Association and requires additional training in kinesiology taping techniques for pain management and injury treatment.

Also supporting the sports chiropractic community are these organizations:

  • American Chiropractic Association Sports Council (ACASC)
  • Canadian Chiropractic Sports Sciences (CCSS)
  • European Chiropractors’ Union Sports Council (ECU-SC)
  • Sports Chiropractic Australia (SCA)