How to Become a Chiropractor in Illinois?

How to Become a Chiropractor in Illinois

Are you passionate about helping others and interested in a career where you can promote health and wellness? Becoming a chiropractor might be the perfect path for you! It’s a journey that requires dedication to learning and a passion for healing.

This blog post will walk you through the simple steps you need to take to become a chiropractor in Illinois. Whether you’re just starting or considering a career switch, you’ll get all your answers below.

Let’s leap together into a fulfilling career that makes a real difference in people’s lives!

The Chiropractic Profession: An Overview

Chiropractic is a form of healthcare that focuses on problems with the muscles, joints, and nerves, especially those related to the spine. Chiropractors do not perform surgery or prescribe drugs. Instead, they use their hands to help heal the body. This is called manual therapy.

Chiropractors adjust the spine and other body parts to ensure they are in the correct position. This can help relieve pain and improve how the body works. Many go to chiropractors for back pain, neck pain, or headaches.

Chiropractors also advise on exercise, diet, and lifestyle to help people stay healthy. It’s a job that helps people feel better and live better. In Illinois, as in other places, becoming a chiropractor takes a lot of education and hard work, but it can be a gratifying career for those dedicated to it.

Steps to Become a Chiropractor in Illinois

Steps to Become a Licensed Chiropractor

Becoming a chiropractor in Illinois involves a series of strategic steps, each pivotal to securing the knowledge, expertise, and accreditation needed to practice in this rewarding field. Below are the five essential steps that will lead you to build a successful chiropractic career in the Prairie State.

Let’s dive into the structured path that lies ahead.

Step 1: Obtain a Bachelor’s Degree

The foundation of a chiropractic career starts with education. You must complete a bachelor’s degree to be eligible for a chiropractic graduate program.

Most chiropractic schools require prerequisite courses in sciences, such as:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Physics

So it’s wise to choose a major that covers these areas. While not mandatory, a degree in a related health science field might enhance your understanding and preparation for chiropractic training.

Step 2: Attend a Chiropractic College

Once you’ve got your bachelor’s degree, enrolling in an accredited chiropractic college is the next stride. The Council on Chiropractic Education (CCE) accredits these programs, which typically last four years.

During chiropractic college, students undergo rigorous training in anatomy, chiropractic principles, diagnosis, and hands-on practice with patients.

Step 3: Obtain Licensure

After graduating from a chiropractic college, you must pass national board exams and a state-specific exam to practice in Illinois.

The National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE) conducts these tests to assess your knowledge and skills.

Additionally, you must apply for licensure with the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, meeting all their requirements.

Step 4: Fulfill Continuing Education Requirements

Chiropractic education doesn’t end after obtaining your license. Illinois chiropractors must complete continuing education (CE) to stay updated with the latest practices and maintain their licensure.

The state determines the number of CE hours needed every few years, ensuring that chiropractors continue learning throughout their careers.

Step 5: Establish or Join a Practice

Finally, once licensed and educated, you can start your chiropractic practice in Illinois. This might involve joining an existing practice, working in a healthcare facility, or opening your office.

Building a network of patients and fellow healthcare professionals and providing high-quality, ethical care is essential regardless of your path.

Educational Requirements

Educational Requirements to Become a Chiropractor

To become a chiropractor in Illinois, you must fulfill specific educational requirements. These include completing a bachelor’s degree, attending an accredited chiropractic college, and passing national board exams.

Accredited Chiropractic Programs

Accredited chiropractic programs have been recognized by the Council on Chiropractic Education (CCE).

These programs typically last four years and include rigorous training in areas such as:

  • Anatomy
  • Chiropractic principles
  • Diagnosis
  • Hands-on practice with patients

Attending an accredited program is necessary to become a licensed chiropractor in Illinois.

Prerequisite Coursework

In addition to obtaining a bachelor’s degree, aspiring chiropractors must complete prerequisite coursework in biology, chemistry, and physics.

These courses are necessary for admission into chiropractic college and provide a solid foundation in the sciences relevant to chiropractic care.

While it is not mandatory, having a degree in a related health science field can also benefit students preparing to enter chiropractic school. 

Overall, completing prerequisite coursework is essential to achieving your goal of becoming a chiropractor in Illinois. 

Licensure Process

dummy chiropractor license

After completing the necessary education and training, obtaining licensure is the next step to becoming a chiropractor in Illinois. This process involves passing national board exams, meeting state-specific requirements, and submitting an application with all necessary Documentation.

In addition to passing national board exams, chiropractors must meet specific state-specific requirements to obtain a license in Illinois. This may include completing specific continuing education courses, passing a jurisprudence exam, and undergoing a criminal background check.

Application and Documentation

To finalize the licensure process, prospective chiropractors must submit a comprehensive application to the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.

Here’s a checklist of Documentation that typically must accompany the application:

  • Proof of Education: A transcript or diploma confirming the completion of a bachelor’s degree and graduation from an accredited chiropractic program.
  • NBCE Examination Scores: Official Documentation of your NBCE exam scores.
  • State Exam Documentation: Proof of having passed any required state-specific chiropractic examinations.
  • Criminal Background Check: A report verifying that the applicant has no disqualifying criminal convictions.
  • Proof of Malpractice Insurance: Evidence of current malpractice insurance, which is mandatory for practicing as a chiropractor in Illinois.
  • Continuing Education Records: (if applicable) Documentation validating that you have met CE requirements.
  • Application Fee: Payment of the necessary fee prescribed by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.

It’s essential to ensure that all documents are accurate, up-to-date, and submitted by the deadlines set by the regulatory body to avoid delays in the licensure process.

Gaining Experience

As a newly licensed chiropractor, gaining experience is crucial to building your skills and reputation. This can be achieved through internships, residency programs, and continuing education.

Internships and residency programs provide hands-on experience under the supervision of experienced chiropractors. These opportunities allow you to apply what you have learned in a real-world setting and gain valuable insights from seasoned professionals. Many chiropractic practices offer internships, and there are also specialized residency programs available that focus on specific areas of chiropractic care.

Continuing Education

Continuing education (CE) is a critical component of a chiropractor’s professional development after obtaining licensure:

  • Stay Updated: CE courses help chiropractors stay up-to-date with the latest research, techniques, and technologies in the field.
  • Maintain Licensure: Most states, including Illinois, require chiropractors to complete a certain number of continuing education hours to maintain their license.
  • Expand Knowledge: CE offers the opportunity to learn about new specializations or deepen existing expertise.
  • Networking: Attending CE courses can also provide valuable networking opportunities with other healthcare professionals.
  • Enhance Patient Care: Ultimately, the knowledge gained from continuing education enhances patient care and outcomes.

Regularly attending CE courses ensures that chiropractors remain competent and competitive.

Starting Your Practice

Once you have completed the necessary education, obtained licensure, and gained experience, you can start your chiropractic practice in Illinois. This task can be daunting, but it is achievable with proper planning and preparation.

Opening Your Own Business

One option for starting your practice is to open your own business. This involves finding a suitable location, obtaining necessary permits and licenses, and setting up your practice with equipment and supplies. It also requires developing a business plan, including financial projections and marketing strategies.

Joining an Established Practice

Another option is to join an established chiropractic practice. This can provide a more immediate income stream and allow you to gain experience working alongside experienced chiropractors. It may also provide an opportunity to become a partner or owner of the practice eventually.

No matter your route, starting your chiropractic practice requires hard work, dedication, and a strong understanding of business principles. But with the right mindset and resources, it can be a fulfilling and successful career path.

Maintaining Licensure

To continue practicing as a chiropractor in Illinois, it is essential to maintain your licensure. This involves meeting specific requirements and completing necessary paperwork within designated timeframes.

To maintain licensure, chiropractors in Illinois must complete 150 hours of continuing education every three years. This includes at least two hours of training in ethics and sexual harassment prevention. The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation must approve CE courses.

License Renewal Process

Chiropractic licenses in Illinois must be renewed every two years. To renew, chiropractors must submit a renewal application and pay the necessary fee. The renewal application may also require Documentation of completed continuing education hours and proof of current malpractice insurance.

It is essential to stay informed about the specific requirements and deadlines for license renewal to avoid any lapses in licensure. Neglecting to renew your license promptly may lead to fines or potentially a revocation of your licensure. Maintaining your chiropractic licensure in Illinois can be a smooth process by staying organized and keeping up with continuing education.

Professional Development and Advancement

As with any profession, ongoing professional development and advancement are essential for chiropractors. This allows them to continue growing their knowledge and skills while also staying competitive in the field.

Specializations in Chiropractic Care

One way to further develop your career as a chiropractor is by pursuing specialized training or certifications in a particular area of chiropractic care. This can include pediatric chiropractic, sports medicine, or even animal chiropractic.

Involvement in Professional Organizations

Joining and actively participating in professional organizations can also aid in professional development. These organizations provide opportunities for networking, continuing education, and staying up-to-date on industry trends and developments.

Investing time and effort into professional development can advance careers and improve patient care. Chiropractors need to strive continuously towards growth and improvement in their practice. 

So, it is crucial to prioritize professional development throughout one’s career as a chiropractor. 


What’s the price tag for becoming a chiropractor?

The total cost to complete chiropractic education is typically around $120,000. This figure can vary based on the specific program and institution and any additional costs such as books, equipment, and living expenses during your studies.

How can someone become a chiropractor without having a degree?

It is not possible to become a licensed chiropractor without having a degree from an accredited chiropractic program. The profession requires in-depth knowledge of the human body, and a license to practice is mandatory, which can only be obtained after completing the educational and examination requirements.

Can I train to be a chiropractor online?

Currently, no accredited online programs offer a Doctor of Chiropractic degree. The necessary training to become a chiropractor involves hands-on clinical experience that cannot be fully replicated online. While specific foundational courses may be available online, a significant portion of chiropractic education must be completed in person.

Bottom Line

The journey to becoming a chiropractor in Illinois is comprehensive and multifaceted, incorporating a mix of formal education, hands-on training, licensure, and continuous professional development.

Aspiring chiropractors must prepare themselves for a rigorous learning path, a dedication to ongoing growth, and an adherence to state regulations. By following these steps, individuals can build a rewarding career helping others achieve better health and wellness.

For more insights and tips on your path to a chiropractic career, read other blog posts on chiropric.

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