faqs : get the facts

How long does it take to become a qualified Chiropractor?
To become a registered chiropractor in Australia you must have completed a minimum of 5 years relevant university education, obtaining two degrees. In a recent American comparison of the hours of study of three chiropractic and three medical schools, found that the chiropractor curriculum totalled an average of 4,800 hours, while medical schools averaged 4,667 hours. It was interesting to note that while medical students have more extensive clinical training, chiropractic students receive, on average, more hours of pathology (205 vs. 162), anatomy (570 vs. 368) and physiology (205 vs. 142)*
* (Reference: Coulter, et al., A comparative study of chiropractic and medical education, Alternative Therapies 1008;4(5):64-75)
These significant qualifications are recognised by chiropractors being permitted to use the title 'Doctor'. The training also means:

Chiropractors are primary health care practitioners – in the same category as general GP (general practitioners) & dentists.
A chiropractor is educated to refer for 2nd opinions and further investigations if necessary
A chiropractor understands to body as a whole, not merely a back therapist
Chiropractors can refer for x-rays, but are also trained and qualified to take x-rays and make diagnosis from the images

Which Australian universities have chiropractic degree programs?
Currently there are three universities in Australia that have chiropractic degree programs. RMIT University in Melbourne, Victoria offers a 5-year program as a three year Bachelor of Applied Science in Complementary Medicine (Chiropractic) which, on completion, provides entry into a two year Master of Clinical Chiropractic. Macquarie University in Sydney, New South Wales has a three year Bachelor of Chiropractic Science which provides the basis for entry into a two year Master of Chiropractic. Murdoch University in Perth, Western Australia offers a five year Bachelor of Chiropractic. Successful completion of the whole program of study is required for professional registration as a chiropractor.





Number of degrees




Years of full time study




Government x ray licence




Basic mean science hours




Clinical science hours, mean




Total mean contact hours




Hospital residency




Undergrad. manual adjusting /manipulative skills

no - post grad


no -post grad

Profession established in Australia

c1940s [1]

1905 [2]

1938 [3]

Peak body formation

1971 [4]

1938 [5]

1939 [6]

Use of physiologic therapeutics such as ultrasound, TENS


c1912 [7] [8]

1938 [6]



Aust. Association of Musculoskleltal Medicine, see www.musmed.com/about.html Peters RE, Chance MA. Chiropractic in Australia: the first forty years (1905-1945). Chiropractic History. 1996 Jun;16(1):29-38. University of Melbourne, School of Health Sciences Australian Association of Manipulative Medicine formedAustralian Chiropractors Association established. Now, Chiropractors Association of Australia Australian Physiotherapy Association web site Beideman, Ronald P. In the making of a profession: National College ofChiropractic, 1906 to 1981. Lombard IL: National College of Chiropractic, 1995 Keating JC. Physiotherapeutics in chiropractic: the early historical record. Dynamic Chiropractic 1998 (Nov 16); 16(24): 8-9, 12, 20, 32-4