History of Chiropractic Care and General Philosophy

Taken from the Practice Analysis of Chiropractic 2015

Chiropractic is concerned primarily with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disorders of the musculoskeletal system and the effects of these disorders on the nervous system and general health. The writings of Hippocrates (460-370 BC) and Galen (130-200 BC) and even ancient manuscripts of the Egyptians, Hindus and Chinese reveal many principles common to chiropractic. Its place in modern health care is largely attributed to Dr. Daniel David Palmer, who founded the first chiropractic college, in Davenport, Iowa, in 1897.

The tenets of chiropractic hold that a human being’s nervous system is essential to health, and that interference with this system impairs normal body functions and lowers the body’s resistance to disease. The study of chiropractic includes the various ways in which the nervous system can be irritated or impeded, resulting in pain or illness, as well as techniques to correct these problems.

Chiropractic is also based on the premise that the body can achieve and maintain health through its own natural recuperative powers, as long as it receives the right food, water, adequate rest, exercise, clean air, adequate nutrition and has a properly functioning nervous system.


The specific focus of chiropractic practice is known as the chiropractic subluxation or joint dysfunction. A subluxation is a health concern that manifests in the skeletal joints, and, through complex anatomical and physiological relationships, affects the nervous system and may lead to reduced function, disability or illness. Typically, symptoms of subluxation include one or more of the following:

  • pain and tenderness
  • asymmetry of posture, movement, or alignment
  • range of motion abnormalities
  • tone, texture and/or temperature abnormalities of adjacent soft tissues.

A doctor of chiropractic may detect subluxations through standard physical examination procedures, specific chiropractic assessments or special tests.

This health profession description is from the U.S. Department of Labor occupational outlook handbook.

Most chiropractic programs require applicants to attain a Bachelor's degree from an accredited U.S. college and take the following prerequisite courses:

  • English and Writing (2 semesters)
  • Biology with labs (2 semesters)
  • Chemistry with labs (4 semesters)
  • Physics with labs (2 semesters)
  • Math - Courses vary depending on the school (2 semesters) 
  • Social Science (psychology, sociology, history, etc.)

 Please refer to the student guide for a detailed list of the courses and other recommended courses. 

Some schools' course requirements may vary, so reference the specific school you wish to apply to for information regarding admission criteria. We also recommend students refer to the Accredited Chiropractic Colleges ( or The Association of Chiropractic Colleges ( which is updated annually for additional resources. 

Chiropractic school entrance requirements vary from program to program, applicants are encouraged to do some research on their own to see which options are available to them.

Applicants are encouraged to participate in engaging activities which demonstrate their passion for a career in their desired field. Choose experiences that you enjoy, and try sticking with what moves you the most. Commitment to a specific experience over a prolonged period of time carries weight with admissions committees and allows you to make an even more significant contribution to something you care about. 

Below are a few examples:


Seek out shadowing experience with local chiropractors, to gain an understanding of the day-to-day activities in the field and see how they interact with patients

Volunteer and Community Service

Volunteer and community service are essential for a successful application. It demonstrates your character and desire to give back to your community. Volunteering can be clinical or non-clinical, for example tutoring at a local community center, helping at a church or nursing home, or becoming an EMT.


 Leadership roles also impress committees and foster personal development. Try joining a student organization on campus or other campus activities.

Please see schools' websites for specific admissions information and requirements.

Professional Chiropractic Colleges Directory

  • Accredited Chiropractic Colleges (ACC) -
  • The Association of Chiropractic Colleges -

Professional Organizations

American Chiropractic Association (ACA) 

National Governing Body (NBCE)-

Florida Chiropractic Association (FCA)- 

Application Portals

There is no centralized application service for chiropractic medicine. Applicants must apply through individual programs, please refer to programs they are interested in applying to for more information about the application process.

School Directory

Standardize Tests

There is no set standardized entrance exam required for chiropractic schools. Some schools may require students to take the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE). Please refer to the schools' admissions website for specific requirements for admissions.