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Personal Development

How to Become a Chiropractor – A Definitive Guide


Lead Academy

12 Mins Read

If you’re wondering how to become a chiropractor, you’ve come to the right place. You’ll typically need three years of full-time education followed by a year of clinical practice. However, there are many things to consider here apart from the education and your clinical trial.

The chiropractic sector continues to grow, offers respectable pay, and allows flexible hours if you want to open your own clinic. Best of all, it’s a career that allows you to make a genuine impact in the lives of people.

You probably already know this is the job for you as you’re already here wondering what it takes to become a chiropractor. There is nothing to be concerned about.

We’ll describe everything it takes to properly prepare you to become a licensed chiropractor. So before diving into the steps of becoming a chiropractor, let’s define what a chiropractor is for the uninitiated.

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What is a Chiropractor?

Chiropractic is a licensed primary healthcare profession. Chiropractors are best recognised for treating neck and low back pain, but they are also trained to –

  • diagnose,
  • treat,
  • manage,
  • and prevent disorders

-affecting other joints, tendons, ligaments, and muscles.

As primary healthcare professionals, chiropractors can see patients without a referral from another healthcare professional, which means they must be able to evaluate patients’ overall health, including physical, emotional, and social well-being, and refer patients to other health professionals as needed.

According to the World Health Organization, “chiropractic is one of the most popularly used forms of manual therapy,” and with around 3000 chiropractors working in the UK, chiropractic is a booming profession.

It’s easy to see why chiropractic is becoming more popular as a career option. Chiropractors can have-

  • flexibility,
  • variations in their day-to-day tasks,
  • and strong career opportunities, in addition to being able to serve people on a daily basis.

Continue reading to see if a chiropractic profession is suited for you.

A chiropractor treating a woman’s musculoskeletal issue

What does a Chiropractor do?

Chiropractors diagnose and treat musculoskeletal issues in order to assist patients in recovering from an injury, reducing pain, or managing an ongoing condition.

Chiropractic treatment includes the use of manual manipulation and support techniques on-

  • joints,
  • soft tissues,
  • and bones, with a focus on the spine.

Common ailments requiring chiropractic treatment include-

  • back,
  • shoulder,
  • leg and neck problems,
  • sciatica,
  • and other postural or muscle abnormalities.

A chiropractor’s typical responsibilities may include:

  • Consultation with patients at their homes or clinics.
  • Inquiring about prior medical issues and personal injury histories.
  • Conducting physical tests to assess mobility levels.
  • Taking X-rays and checking blood pressure.
  • Creating personalised treatment regimens for each patient.
  • Executing physical therapies and modifications.
  • Keeping track of the progress of patients.

Benefits of Becoming a Chiropractor

Job Growth

There are several career paths for chiropractors, whether they open their own office or work in a clinic. They benefit from continuing education long after they are licensed practitioners.

As chiropractors must master a wide range of abilities and understand many aspects of healthcare in general, they must constantly collaborate with and learn from other healthcare providers, such as physicians and physical therapists, through complementary treatment and referrals. As a result, there is no need to be concerned about this sector’s job growth.

Flexible Work Environment

A chiropractor’s work environment is highly desired. For example, chiropractors sometimes operate their practices or work in smaller, more private clinics than other medical practitioners. Of course, chiropractors can also live and work anywhere because they do not need to be near big hospitals, and they can specialise in various areas.

A chiropractor holding an artificial spine

Professional Freedom

Chiropractic care is in high demand in all areas, whether rural, urban or somewhere in between. Being a chiropractor offers professional independence and flexibility that many people only dream about.

Perhaps you like to practise in an area where you can play golf every morning or go night skiing every evening. Perhaps you enjoy the sea and wish to further your surfing, sailing, or scuba diving interests. Even if it’s only the opportunity to spend time with your family, a chiropractic job provides professional liberties that are unmatched in the healthcare field.


Demand for chiropractic therapy is increasing for a variety of reasons, such as:

  • As older folks are more prone than younger people to have neuromusculoskeletal and joint issues, the growing baby boomer (1946 – 1964) population gives greater opportunity for chiropractors.
  • The rise of the opioid problem needs chiropractic treatment to ensure that patients are aware of possible benefits, dangers, and opioid alternatives before beginning or continuing opioid medication. Fortunately, chiropractic therapy for back pain greatly reduces opioid consumption.
  • Lower back discomfort is probably the most well-known cause of the constant demand for chiropractic therapy.

How to Become a Chiropractor?

You must be familiar with all aspects of the educational system to build your career as a chiropractor in the UK successfully.

To begin, you will need a chiropractic degree. The number of chiropractic education providers in the UK is expanding, with five institutions now providing chiropractor courses.

For your convenience, the names of these five institutions are presented below.

  • AECC University College.
  • Welsh Institute of Chiropractic.
  • London South Bank University.
  • McTimoney College of Chiropractic.
  • Teesside University.

Let’s hear some evidence-based practical experiences from chiropractic students regarding chiropractic qualifications.

  • Matthew Couldry – MSci (Hons) Chiropractic at Teesside University.
  • Katie Mihalovics – Msci Chiropractic at Teesside University.
  • Sam Tiley – Master of Chiropractic at the University of South Wales.

The General Chiropractic Council (GCC) is in charge of regulating and defining standards in all phases of chiropractic education. This guarantees that members of the public have confidence that our registrants will provide them with safe treatment. You can check out the GCC website for more information about education.

Let us first define GCC in further detail.

A chiropractic specialist helping his client

The General Chiropractic Council

To begin, the General Chiropractic Council (GCC) is one of nine UK health and social care regulators, not a membership organisation. Despite being the smallest regulator, they have the same role, responsibilities, and functions as the General Medical Council for doctors and the General Dental Council for dentists.

Their primary responsibility is to safeguard the public’s health and safety by enforcing the profession’s highest standards of chiropractic practice.

They accomplish this by:

  • Keeping the UK Register of all chiropractors up to date. Unless you are registered with the GCC, calling or referring to yourself as a chiropractor is prohibited.
  • Publication of a Code outlining the chiropractic practice and professional behaviour requirements that all chiropractors must adhere to.
  • Establishing and keeping chiropractic education standards for people aspiring to be chiropractors.
  • If a chiropractor fails to fulfil their criteria, they will take action.

Now, let’s go into the specifics of the frequently asked topic, “What qualifications do you need to be a chiropractor in the UK?”

Obtain a University or College Degree in Chiropractic Care

To train to be a chiropractor, you can enrol in an academic course that covers all aspects of chiropractic work. There are several courses available for this professional path. Before enrolling in a course, check to see if the certifying organisation is approved by the General Chiropractic Council (GCC). Although entry requirements are flexible, the following are preferred:

Entry Requirements

  • 5 GCSE grades 9–4 (or similar) in maths, English, and science.
  • 3 A levels (or equivalent), preferably with a science subject.

Now, you might wonder how long does it take to become a chiropractor? This vocation requires a four-year chiropractor degree or a postgraduate master’s degree. If you’ve decided to pursue a postgraduate degree, it’s excellent if your prior undergraduate degree was related to the sciences or medicine in some way.

Biology is a wonderful choice, but any subject that covers human anatomy and healthcare can provide you with a solid foundation before beginning your chiropractic studies. If you choose an undergraduate degree, you must complete three years of full-time study followed by one year of clinical experience.


Before enrolling for a course, you must get paid or unpaid experience working with a chiropractor.

You’ll also benefit from prior experience working in a health or care setting. For additional information, you might contact the voluntary services coordinator or manager at your local NHS trust.

A chiropractor showing artificial spine to her patient

Complete Work Experience

In addition to academic courses, you’ll need at least one year of supervised work experience with a chiropractor. You will obtain full chiropractor training here. During this time, you will have the chance to help the chiropractor, allowing you to learn on the job. This requires you to work in a clinical setting where you may get knowledge and comprehension of how to provide chiropractic therapy to patients.

You may also benefit from learning about the patients’ –

  • examinations,
  • diagnosis,
  • and treatment of symptoms.

This might involve learning to conduct chiropractic adjustments along joints and the spine. Other responsibilities might include interpreting blood tests and communicating with patients about their issues.

Register with the General Chiropractic Council

As we’ve said earlier, you must be registered with the General Chiropractic Council to work as a chiropractor. This comprises a series of examinations and interviews to determine that you are qualified to practise as a chiropractor.

In advance, you may also pay your related fees, including your £2,000 test fee. Because the examination is challenging, you must spend appropriate time revising. Aside from testing and completing an Evidence of Practice questionnaire is required to become a chiropractor. This includes the following:

  • A profile of your current caseload as a chiropractor.
  • A presentation of a neuromusculoskeletal case on which you’ve worked.
  • A case that describes a patient who was inappropriate for chiropractic therapy.
  • A case that describes specific procedures that were inappropriate for the patient.
  • Definitions of any acronyms used.
  • Patient management application and assessment.
  • A summary of your learning experiences over the last three years.

A chiropractor working with a patient with back problem

Consider Specialisation

There are several specialist fields within chiropractic therapy that you may be interested in. There is a lot of overlap between being a chiropractor and other medical and healthcare-related careers. If you want to aid athletes, for example, sports medicine is a great profession that will allow you to treat patients with a variety of sports-related injuries. Other specialised areas include:

  • Acupuncture
  • Nutrition
  • Occupational health
  • Radiology
  • Neurology
  • Paediatrics
  • Forensics

To specialise in these areas, you must have sufficient experience working in that sector. You may prepare for this by personalising your clients such that they are in your speciality area. This allows you to learn and grow while earning a living.

Find Employment as a Chiropractor

After successfully registering as a chiropractor with the GCC, you can begin working as a chiropractor on your own. Chiropractic jobs are highly varied. You can start-

  • your own practice,
  • collaborate with a partner,
  • or join another clinic to become a part of a larger team.

To locate the optimum position, go about your neighbourhood and see what chiropractors are currently in practice. You might consider contacting out if you find a practice that matches your talents and interests. You can arrange a contract once you’ve discovered a clinic or a fellow chiropractor with whom you’d like to collaborate.

If you intend to establish your own chiropractic practice, you have to invest some time acquiring-

  • office space,
  • employees,
  • and the numerous pieces of equipment that you will require.

This may be costly and time-consuming, so be prepared to put money and effort into your new clinical space. As you’ll be dealing with patients in this environment, ensure that it follows all of the health and safety rules necessary for clinical settings.

A chiropractor helping patient’s leg

What Skills and Knowledge Does a Chiropractor Require?

Working as a chiropractor is a client-facing position that necessitates a thorough understanding of human anatomy. A chiropractor can benefit from the following abilities:

  • Empathy
  • Comprehension and sensitivity to the needs of a patient
  • Patience and a calm demeanour in tough situations
  • Good interpersonal skills
  • A thorough grasp of human anatomy and how the human body functions
  • Great verbal communication abilities
  • Critical thinking abilities
  • Computer knowledge

Aside from these abilities, you’ll need a background check before working on any patients because you’ll be working with vulnerable people. This gives patients complete trust in you when they come to you for therapy.

A chiropractic specialist helping aged woman with her leg

Career Prospects

How much do chiropractors make in the UK?

Chiropractor salaries in the UK for qualified chiropractors are excellent, with 95% finding employment within six months after graduation and graduates’ salaries are 50% higher than the average.

Starting earnings typically range between £20,000 and £30,000, rising with experience and clients. An experienced chiropractor should expect to make approximately £50,000 per year, whereas someone with a profitable practice that employs a number of people might expect to earn between £80,000 and £100,000 per year.


Why do people want to be a chiropractor?

People frequently choose the field of chiropractic because they enjoy the notion of assisting people in achieving health naturally, without the need for medicines or surgery. Successful chiropractors typically have a passion for wellness and a healthy lifestyle.

Do chiropractors have good work-life balance?

Many chiropractors are satisfied with their careers because they can make decent money and have a good work-life balance, even if they don’t always make as much as traditional physicians and don’t have the same high reputation.

Is 40 too old to become a chiropractor?

At any age, you may become a Doctor of Chiropractic.


This blog should give you a pretty good idea after going through the entire procedure on how to become a chiropractor. Though chiropractor qualification requires a significant amount of hard work and devotion, the final rewards are typically well worth the effort. Whether you work for someone else, run your own practice, or work for a major sports team, chiropractic can offer you a wholesome and gratifying profession.

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