Chiropractors diagnose and treat problems with the bones, muscles, and joints, addressing the effects they have on the nervous system without using drugs or surgery. Chiropractic assistant training prepares you to assist chiropractors in patient management and office management. The roles and responsibilities of chiropractic assistants vary from one chiropractic office to another. Some chiropractic assistants are actively involved in patient care, while others mostly handle front office tasks, like collecting money, billing insurance companies, and answering the phone. If you would like to build a career as a chiropractic assistant, learn more about getting a chiropractic assistant certification or associate’s degree today.
Chiropractic Assistant Education Overview
Chiropractic assistants may work alongside chiropractors in direct patient care and/or in the front office. Many chiropractic assistants are trained on the job, but training for chiropractic assistants is also offered at community colleges and technical schools at the certificate and associate’s degree levels.
Chiropractic assistant certification programs can last anywhere from a few hours to over 1000 hours, whereas associate’s degree programs typically last two-years. Requirements differ from state to state, so chiropractic assistants are not universally trained, certified, registered, licensed or regulated. A number of certificate programs are offered entirely online, allowing students to undergo training while keeping their existing jobs.
Curriculum of Chiropractic Assistant Certification Programs
The prerequisite for chiropractic assistant programs is typically a high school diploma or GED. High school students who are interested in becoming chiropractic assistants should take courses in chemistry, biology, and anatomy. At chiropractic assistant school, students might be required to take courses in the following topics:
- Anatomy & physiology
- Chiropractic examination
- Introduction to chiropractic philosophy
- Chiropractic foundations
- Billing and coding
- Communication skills
If you live in a state that requires a license to work as a chiropractic assistant, you must either pass a state exam or become certified by the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE).
Careers for Graduates of Chiropractic Assistant School
Most chiropractic offices have one doctor and one or two staff members, which means that chiropractic assistants often have to wear many hats. Upon graduation, chiropractic assistants are typically able to manage telephone communications, use medical and chiropractic terminology, handle scheduling, manage patient flow, and bill patients.
Chiropractic assistants may also aid chiropractors by providing treatments, doing therapeutic massage, helping to lift and turn patients, recording patients’ blood pressure, keeping patients’ records, giving first aid, and assisting with x-rays. Chiropractic assistants are not required to have a certification, but many employers prefer hiring chiropractic assistants who are certified.
Aspiring chiropractic assistants should enjoy working with and assisting patients. Qualities that future chiropractic assistants ought to have include the ability to follow directions closely, the ability to work effectively as part of a team, the ability to work on several different tasks simultaneously, the ability to establish rapport with patients, a mature attitude towards the human body, and strong communication skills.
While the Bureau of Labor Statistics does not report data on chiropractic assistants specifically, positions for medical assistants as a whole are expected to grow by 31% from 2010 to 2020, which is a rate that is faster than average for most occupations. The anticipate growth can be partially attributed to the aging baby boomer population, which will seek increasing medical care throughout he decade. In 2012, medical assistants earned a median annual salary of $29,370 per year. Advancement opportunities may be available to chiropractic assistants who learn new skills, such as chiropractic radiology or massage.
Chiropractic medicine is one of the oldest and fastest-growing disciplines in holistic and alternative medicine. Familiarize yourself with the basics of chiropractic medicine and enhance your employability by pursuing chiropractic assistant training today.