To learn to be a chiropractor, your education covers the anatomy and physiology of the spine. It’s more extensive than other medical professionals’ education.
A key difference is that each chiropractor is uniquely trained and qualified to diagnose issues concerning your spine, muscles and joints. They’re also qualified to diagnose nervous system conditions related to your spine, muscles and joints.
Chiropractors assess, diagnose and treat your conditions with non-invasive, medication-free, hands-on care.
To learn to be a chiropractor and practise in Canada, students must first complete at least seven years of post-secondary education, including more than 4,200 hours of specialized chiropractic training. Following this formal education, graduates must pass standardized regulatory exams and attain a license to practise in a Canadian province or territory.
Grand with Suzie, a simulation manikin, at the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College (CMCC).
Chiropractic College/University Programs
In Canada, we have two accredited chiropractic college/university programs:
Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College (CMCC), in Toronto, Ontario – This evidence-based leader in chiropractic education and research offers a four-year second entry undergraduate professional program leading to a Doctor of Chiropractic Degree. CMCC has collaborative relationships with universities, hospitals and other chiropractic institutions worldwide. Its campus features modern teaching and laboratory space, including simulation and biomechanics laboratories. CCMC’s clinical interns serve diverse patient populations through its network of community-based clinics across Toronto. It offers this degree program, as well as postgraduate and continuing education programs under the written consent of Ontario’s Ministry of Colleges and Universities. We showcase and promote its independent clinical research to advance understanding of the chiropractic profession.
Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, in Quebec – The doctor of chiropractic program at the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières is taught entirely in French and is the only program within the Quebec university system that delivers education and training for chiropractors. It offers a five-year program, available after CEGEP in Quebec or after one year of university outside Quebec.
However, many chiropractors practicing in Ontario attain their chiropractic education and training from an accredited chiropractic college in the United States, or one in other countries, such as Great Britain and Australia.
Chiropractors’ Education: Courses, Training and Clinical Internships
In Ontario, a chiropractor’s education includes at least three years of undergraduate university level study and a four-year degree at the accredited CMCC, achieving the following:
1,250 course hours –
Training in musculoskeletal (spine, muscles and joints) patient care, including assessment, diagnosis, pain management, restoration of function, patient education and preventative care
450+ course hours –
Focused on spinal manipulative therapy, including biomechanics and contraindications
1,350+ hours –
360 hours –
Education in radiology
Additional Courses –
Related to diagnostic imaging, laboratory diagnosis, clinical nutrition, clinical psychology, neurodiagnosis, orthopedics, toxicopharmacology and rehabilitation
While other health care professionals can complete advanced training in areas of diagnosis, imaging and spinal manipulative therapy, these are core competencies you learn to become a chiropractor.
Chiropractic Specialty Colleges
Some chiropractors also pursue additional academic and practical education to specialize in: clinical sciences and diagnostic imaging, pediatric, spinal stenosis, sports sciences, rehabilitation or animal chiropractic care.
In addition, The Federation of Canadian Chiropractic (FCC) recognizes specific disciplines in the areas of sports sciences, orthopedics, radiology, physical rehabilitation and clinical sciences, through five accredited specialty colleges. A chiropractic specialist is someone who attains post-graduate qualifications in one or more of these specialties and completes a minimum two-year, full-time post-graduate residency program at one of these colleges and is acknowledged as a Fellow.
These specialty chiropractic colleges include:
- College of Chiropractic Sciences (CCS)/ Collège des sciences chiropratiques
- College of Chiropractic Orthopedists (Canada) CCO(C) / College des Chiropraticiens Orthopedistes (Canada)
- Chiropractic College of Radiologists (CCR)C., INC. / Conseil chiropratique des radiologues
- Canadian Chiropractic Specialty College of Physical and Occupational Rehabilitation / Collège canadien de spécialité chiropratique de réadaptation physique et santé au travail
- Royal College of Chiropractic Sports Sciences (Canada) (RCCSS(C)) /Collège royal des sciences sports chiropractique (Canada)
Regulations and the College of Chiropractors of Ontario (CCO)
The CCO regulates chiropractors in Ontario to ensure every patient receives safe and quality care. It was established by the Regulated Health Professions Act and the Chiropractic Act to serve as the legislated regulatory body for chiropractors in Ontario. Every chiropractor practising in Ontario must be a registered member of CCO.
As part of its role regulating chiropractic care in Ontario to ensure chiropractors safely and ethically deliver quality care, CCO sets:
Practising in Ontario: Examinations and Licensing
To practise in Ontario, all graduates from an accredited chiropractic program must:
- Pass the Canadian Chiropractic Examining Board (CCEB) examinations, which include a knowledge-based written examination and practical clinical competency examination.
- Pass the College of Chiropractors of Ontario (CCO) Legislation and Ethics examination.
- Obtain a license from CCO to practise in Ontario (after successfully passing the CCEB and CCO examinations).
Continuing Education and Quality Assurance
A chiropractor’s training is ongoing. To keep their knowledge and skills up-to-date, practising chiropractors must participate in the CCO Quality Assurance Program.
This program requires chiropractors to take part in:
- Self-Assessment and Continuing Education activities, such as taking courses, including webinars, attending workshops and reading professional journals.
- Peer and Practice Assessment Program
- X-Ray Peer Review Program