Doctor of Chiropractic Career Pathways

What is chiropractic and what does it mean at UWS?

At the University of Western States, chiropractic health care is viewed as a systems-based, whole-person approach to health and wellness. A Doctor of Chiropractic recognizes and honors the body’s innate mechanisms for adaptation and homeostasis, and understands that physical structure, biological function, and mental well-being are harmoniously interrelated. Effective health care is aimed at optimizing and supporting the body’s natural self-healing and intrinsic regulatory systems to address the root cause of disease and dysfunction.

A chiropractic physician evaluates the overall health of the patient with a particular focus on the integrity of the structural component. Evaluation includes a detailed history and examination, along with specialized laboratory tests and imaging procedures as indicated. In the management of patient care, emphasis is placed on the appropriate use of the most conservative and least invasive measures. Treatment approaches may involve manual therapy including spinal manipulation; therapeutic exercises; mobilization and stretching; rehabilitative measures; physical therapy such as electrotherapy, laser, hydrotherapy, and ultrasound; diet counseling; nutritional therapy; lifestyle coaching; mindfulness practices; or stress management counseling.

UWS instills in every graduate the dedication to care that is always “for the good of the patient.” The Doctor of Chiropractic degree curriculum at UWS is focused on this core understanding and enduring commitment as we prepare graduates to provide conservative, whole-person, integrated health care.

Why become a chiropractic physician?

  • Make a difference in the lives of patients.
  • Participate in improving health and providing comfort as a member of the greater health care community.
  • Chiropractic physicians advocate for whole-person wellness and conservative, non-invasive care
  • Own and operate your own clinic.
  • Gain independence and control over your practice and work schedule.
  • The chiropractic career outlook includes a satisfying income and the ability to collaborate with other integrative healthcare professionals.

Chiropractic Career Outlook

  • Once in established practice, chiropractic physicians earn an average salary of $89K, with a total compensation of $122K. (
  • In 2015, chiropractic medicine ranked among the top 50 most employable careers with an unemployment rate of just 0.1 percent.
  • Chiropractic physicians in the U.S. receive 190 million patient visits annually.
  • More than 40 percent of all chiropractic physicians are self-employed and own their own business.
  • The chiropractic profession is ranked the second most profitable small business by Forbes.
  • Chiropractic medicine is the fastest-growing health care profession in the world.
  • U.S. Department of Labor anticipates a 28% increase in chiropractic jobs through 2020.
  • Ranked the #1 profession with the best job security by MarketWatch.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook, the employment of chiropractic physicians is expected to grow 12% from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations. Forbes

Data from Discover Chiropractic, MSN, and MarketWatch.

What do chiropractors do?

Chiropractic physicians have the opportunity to pursue a wide variety of practice methods and specialties. Many chiropractors own their own practices or work in an integrated care clinic. Day-to-day work as a chiropractic physician typically consists of diagnostics and treatment, but these areas can vary widely depending on the strengths and interests of the individual clinician.


  • Physical examination procedures
  • Clinical lab tests
  • Imaging (X-rays, CT scans, MRI, diagnostic ultrasound)
  • Orthopedic and neurologic tests


  • Manual therapies: adjustment, manipulation, mobilization, soft tissue
  • Exercise strengthening and rehabilitation protocols
  • Taping, bracing, orthotics, supports
  • Physiotherapy modalities (diathermy ultrasound, etc.)
  • Dietary and nutritional counseling
  • Ergonomic assessment
  • Stress management
  • Wellness promotion and lifestyle coaching

Chiropractic Licensure

The UWS DC program qualifies graduates for licensure in all U.S. and Canadian jurisdictions and in other foreign countries. Chiropractic licensure regulations vary from one jurisdiction to another and are subject to change. Students following the chiropractic career path should contact individual licensing boards for information on the most current and accurate requirements of a particular area. Visit our professional licensure disclosure page to read more about licensure by state.

For information on licensure regulations, please visit the Federation of Chiropractic Licensing Boards website.

Chiropractic Licensure in the United States

Upon graduation from the Doctor of Chiropractic program, the next step is to obtain a license in the state in which the student intends to practice. Most states use all or part of the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE) competency exams.

The NBCE stated purpose is to evaluate the entry-level competencies of applicants for chiropractic licensure. The chiropractic college graduate is expected to have taken and passed Parts I, II, III, and IV of the National Boards to earn eligibility to sit for the chiropractic licensing exam in most states.

The UWS College of Chiropractic degree requirements do not require students to take the National Board Examinations, but failure to do so will make a student ineligible for a chiropractic license in most states.

Chiropractic Licensure in Canada

The Canadian Chiropractic Examining Board (CCEB) conducts competency exams for individuals seeking a chiropractic license in Canada.

View the most recent UWS student performance data for the CCEB exams here.

Specialize at UWS

Tailor your chiropractic education to your professional interests by specializing with a master’s degree. Students have the option to enroll in UWS master’s programs concurrently with the DC program or as alumni to enhance skills and knowledge to pursue a chiropractic career path.

UWS Master’s Programs

  • MS Sports Medicine (dual degree)
  • MS Sport and Performance Psychology
  • MS Clinical Mental Health Counseling
  • MS Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine

Why choose UWS? Chiropractic Degree Requirements

Undergraduate Completion and Prerequisite Fulfillment
Prospective students can complete prerequisite courses through UWS. These are 100 percent online and designed to fulfill the entrance requirements for the DC program. UWS also offers a Bachelor of Science in human biology that students can take concurrently with the DC program. This program applies required courses from the DC program to the bachelor’s degree so students can complete their undergraduate degree without having to take any extra courses. Some states require a bachelor’s degree for licensing.

NBCE Exam Preparation
UWS is an accredited, evidence-informed institution. The Doctor of Chiropractic curriculum thoroughly prepares students to succeed in taking the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE) exams. Successful completion of the NBCE exams is necessary to become licensed in almost all U.S. licensing jurisdictions.

Board Scores and Job Outlook
UWS students consistently perform well-above average on both U.S. and Canadian national board exams and experience low student loan default rates (which means our students are getting high-quality jobs very quickly).

Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine Dual Degree Option from NUHS
UWS offers DC students a dual degree pathway for the Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine (ND) program at National University of Health Sciences (NUHS), where credit for courses taken at UWS transfer directly to NUHS and apply toward the completion of the ND requirements.