The term “Doctor” has a very loose definition. A lot of people can be considered a doctor despite having no medical training. There are doctors in music, anthropology, English, and so on. For the purposes of this blog, we are using “Doctor” to refer to the more traditional sense of the word, medical doctor. So, is a chiropractor a doctor? This is a tricky question, they share a fairly similar educational and post-graduate education but they are different in what they’re able to provide to patients. In this blog, we’ll be looking at some of the differences and similarities between a chiropractor and a traditional medical doctor:
Comparisons Between Doctors and Chiropractors
The certifications necessary for chiropractors and doctors are very similar. They must both be certified with both state and national boards. Chiropractors actually have specialty boards, just like doctors do. Chiropractors have certifications on Diplomat Boards, which are not required for doctors.
Both chiropractors and doctors require a 3-4 years of undergraduate schooling. Both require 4-5 years of post-graduate education, however, the type of post-graduate education is different. Doctors go to medical school, whereas chiropractors go to a more focused chiropractic school. Both must complete one year of internship. Additionally, doctors are required to complete a residency that can last anywhere from 3-8 years. Chiropractors do not have to complete any sort of residency.
Both chiropractors and doctors can choose to be general practice or can choose to specialize in one area. The specializations for a chiropractor include: Orthopedics, Pediatrics, General Rehab, Internal Disorders, Radiology, Neurology, Nutrition, Occupational Health, Sports Med, and Forensic Sciences. The specializations available for a doctor are much more varied and include: ENT, Ophthalmology, Anesthesia, Neurosurgery, Orthopedics, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Neurology, Cardiology, Pulmonology, Nephrology, Endocrinology, Pathology, Gastroenterology, Urology, Obstetrics & Gynecology, Psychiatry, and Family Medicine.
Chiropractors cannot prescribe medication because they do not inherently have any expertise in pharmacology and it is not required as part of their educational or certification requirements. Doctors, however, are required to study pharmacology as part of their education and certification; therefore they are permitted to prescribe medications.
Upon completion of their education, chiropractors are issued a degree, which grants them the distinction of DC, standing for Doctor of Chiropractic. When a doctor completes his education, he is granted the distinction of MD but they can choose to go on to specialize in a certain area and may be granted a different moniker.
Both chiropractors and doctors are required to register with organizations but the organizations they have to register with differ. Chiropractors must register with the ACA or American Chiropractic Association. Doctors, on the other hand, must register with both the AMA or American Medical Association and the AOA or American Osteopathic Association.
So, to answer the question posed in the title. Yes, chiropractors are technically doctors but in a different capacity than a traditional medical doctor. They go through similar education despite the chiropractor requiring less. They both must complete the same amount of post-education registration and certifications but those registrations and certifications are different.
Ken Andersen is the owner of Andersen Chiropractic. He and his staff pride themselves in offering the highest quality chiropractic care to all of his patients. For more information on the services provided at Andersen Chiropractic, please visit http://drkenandersen.com/services/