How to Become a Chiropractic Neurologist
As a discipline, pain management has room for dozens of different types of providers and many thousands of individual practices serving millions of patients in the United States alone. If you’re thinking about making a career in this field, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to make your mark.
Some pain management disciplines are well-known. Others, not so much. One that gets very little attention is chiropractic neurology, a small and highly specialized branch of chiropractic medicine. Though their number grows every year, there are still just a few hundred board-certified chiropractic neurologists practicing in the U.S.
Want to join their ranks and attract more patients to your practice by offering services that are difficult or impossible to find anywhere else? Read on to learn how to become a chiropractic neurologist and what to expect from your training.
Education and Training Requirements for Chiropractic Neurologists
To become a chiropractic neurologist, you must do the following (in order):
- Get an Undergraduate Degree. Ideally in biology, chemistry, or another scientific field. Generally, accredited chiropractic colleges and universities require a full four-year degree, but some accept applicants with as few as 90 hours of undergraduate coursework.
- Complete Your Chiropractic Degree. A Doctor of Chiropractic Medicine (DC) degree typically requires four years of postgraduate study.
- Get Board Certified. You must complete a minimum of 300 credit hours at your chiropractic college or university to sit for the chiropractic board certification exam.
- Complete a Chiropractic Neurology Fellowship. You’ll need to complete a post doctoral fellowship, which typically involves three years of practical study under a board-certified chiropractor. Don’t worry, you’ll earn a salary during your fellowship.
- Get Board Certified in Chiropractic Neurology. Finally, take the American Chiropractic Neurology Board (ACNB)’s chiropractic neurology certification exam.
- Maintain Your Certification. Like any medical profession, you’ll need to complete continuing education to maintain your certification. Check with the ACNB for specific requirements.
Why Become a Chiropractic Neurologist?
Maybe you’re drawn to chiropractic neurology because it allows you to practice advanced pain management techniques that don’t require drugs or surgery.
That’s a good enough reason to endure a long period of training and education. If you still need convincing, consider these other advantages too.
Small Profession With High Patient Demand
Chiropractic neurology is a small profession. Really small. There are about 500 board-certified chiropractic neurologists active in the United States today.
Chiropractic neurology is tight-knit because it’s relatively new, not because patient demand isn’t there. If you’re willing and able to complete the training, you’ll have no shortage of work ahead.
Potential Referral Relationships
Chiropractic neurologists’ work complements that of medical neurologists, who typically see patients best treated with drugs or surgery (or both). This sets the stage for mutually beneficial referral relationships serving patients with needs and conditions like:
- Post-stroke rehabilitation
- Traumatic brain and spine injuries and rehabilitation
- Certain balance disorders
- Nerve entrapment (radiculopathy)
- Certain movement disorders
- Parkinson’s disease and certain other neurodegenerative disorders
- Certain other nervous system disorders
Chiropractic neurologists can and do have active referral relationships with other chiropractors as well. And because the profession is small, its referral networks are small too — good news for providers eager to grow their practices.
Competitive Compensation With High Upside
Chiropractic neurologists don’t earn as much as medical neurologists on average, but they tend to be better compensated than other chiropractic specialists. Due to the profession’s small size, high demand for their services, and the fact that most operate their own practices, they enjoy considerable financial upside.