Do Chiropractors Need to be Licensed in All 50 US States?

Chiropractic is a regulated health care profession in the United States. Learn about licensing requirements for chiropractors across all 50 US states.

Do Chiropractors Need to be Licensed in All 50 US States?

Chiropractic is a regulated health care profession in the United States, and it has been for more than 100 years. All fifty states, the District of Columbia, the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico have their own chiropractic regulatory board that administers licenses for chiropractors and takes action in cases where consumer complaints are reported. Before being granted a license to practice, chiropractic doctors (DCs) must meet strict educational and competence standards. DCs are educated in nationally accredited four-year doctoral programs through a curriculum that is equivalent in class hours to schools of allopathic medicine (MD) and osteopathic (DO).

This includes a minimum of 4200 hours of internships in the classroom, laboratory and clinics. In addition to meeting established educational requirements and passing national board exams, obtaining a license in a state may include tests to verify the doctor's knowledge of the scope of state practice, a background check, the provision of personal references, and proof of insurance for negligence. The scope of clinical procedures that chiropractors can legally perform varies from state to state. For example, in Oregon they can use physical therapy devices, perform venous punctures to collect blood samples for laboratory diagnosis, provide nutritional advice, and dispense nutritional supplements in their offices. In Michigan, the license limits chiropractors to the use of spinal analysis and x-rays to detect subluxations and misalignments of the spine and to the administration of spinal adjustment procedures to correct these subluxations.

In Oregon, chiropractors can even perform minor surgery, proctology, and obstetric procedures. The Federation of Chiropractic Licensing Boards (FCLB) collects and publishes contact information for the regulatory board and summaries of the requirements to obtain and maintain license status in the United States and its territories, Canada and Australia. Chiropractors are designated medical-level providers in the vast majority of states and in the federal Medicare program. Chiropractic doctors can only practice in states where they are licensed. Examples include Kentucky State Board of Chiropractic Examiners Louisiana State Board of Chiropractic Examiners Maine Chiropractic Board License.

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