"To find health should be the object of the doctor. Anyone can find disease."  —Andrew T. Still, MD, DO

"As a family physician, my job is listening to people's stories."
—Jon S. Hallberg, MD


Career Info

According to the American Chiropractic Association, chiropractic is a branch of the healing arts, which is concerned with human health and disease processes. Because of the emphasis on holistic care, chiropractic is associated with the field of alternative medicine. Chiropractors, also known as doctors of chiropractic medicine or chiropractic physicians, diagnose and treat patients whose health problems are associated with the body’s muscular, nervous, and skeletal systems, especially the spine. Chiropractors believe by making adjustments to these systems & the spine, patient’s health can be improved and preserved. They practice knowing that spinal dysfunction and skeletal imbalance affect many important parts of the body, like the nervous system, and if untreated can lead to pain. Chiropractic is a drug-free, non-surgical science; although they will refer patients for such services if medically necessary.

Chiropractic care of back, neck, extremities, and other joint damage has become more accepted as a result of recent research and changing attitudes. Chiropractors can specialize in specific areas of chiropractic care, including orthopedics, radiology & diagnostic imaging, sports chiropractic, pediatrics, occupational injuries or nutritional consultation.  In chiropractic, as in other types of independent practice, earnings are relatively low in the beginning, but increase as the practice grows. Most chiropractors are in solo practice, although some are in group practice or work for other chiropractors. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the mean annual wage of chiropractors in 2018 was $71,410, and the demand for chiropractors is expected to increase 12% by 2026. 

Application Information

There are 18 colleges in the U.S. that are accredited by the Council on Chiropractic Education. Most of these schools prefer that students complete a four-year degree prior to admission and some states require a bachelor’s degree prior to licensure. The Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) degree takes approximately four years to complete. All chiropractors are required to pass a state licensing exam before they are allowed to practice chiropractic medicine. The minimum GPA for admission to most schools is a 2.5, but preference is given to students with a 3.0 or higher GPA. Entrance exams are not always required, but applicants must submit an application, including letters of recommendation.  

Course Requirements (for CA schools)

Note:  Admission prerequisites vary by institution.  Some schools will not accept AP credit for prerequisites.  Check requirements carefully!

9 science classes to total 36 units. Here are some recommendations:

Biology: Bio 161, 162

Anatomy/Physiology: Bio 231, 232 (for all majors except Bio) or Bio 361, 406-409, & 426

General Chemistry: Chem 127, 128, 129 
  • Note: Engineering & Physical Science majors should enroll in Chem 124, 125, and 126
Survey of Organic & Biochemistry: Chem 312 & 313
  • Note: Biochemistry & Chemistry majors should enroll in Chem 216, 217/221 & 371

Physics: Phys 121, 122 or Phys 141, 132

*Please come in to see us if you have any questions.

Professional Association Links

For more information, visit the American Chiropractic Association website at www.acatoday.org and the Association of Chiropractic Colleges at www.chirocolleges.org.

Related Content

Statement of Solidarity

The Cal Poly Pre-Health Advising Department reaffirms its commitment to making anti-racism a priority.

Statement of Solidarity

Drop-in With a Peer Advisor

Drop-in with a pre-health peer advisor to discuss health professions prerequisites, finding extracurricular experiences, entrance exam preparation, and more!

Pre-Health Peer Advising

Pre-Health Events & Workshops

View and sign up for upcoming application workshops, personal statement workshops, presentations, and other events hosted by our office!

Pre-Health Events

Pre-Health Blog

Visit our Pre-Health Blog to stay up to date on pre-health events, opportunities, articles, workshops, and more!

Cal Poly Pre-Health Blog

Pre-Health Reading List

With less extracurricular experiences available during the pandemic, reading is a great way to continue developing yourself as an applicant.

Pre-Health Reading List