Doctor of Chiropractic Degree
National University prepares students to become first-contact, primary care physicians fully qualified to diagnose, treat, and manage a wide range of conditions. We believe a superior education starts with an evidence-based, broad-scope curriculum emphasizing integrative medicine.
What is Chiropractic Medicine?
Chiropractic medicine is a comprehensive health care profession that addresses the wide variety of factors that impact upon human physiology. Chiropractic physicians specialize in natural, non-invasive health care and are trained to use a full range of medical diagnostic tools and a wide array of effective treatment options in patient care.
Philosophy of Chiropractic Medicine
At National University, students are broadly educated and extensively trained in evidence based medicine to provide whole health healing to patients. During the course of study at National University, students study in an integrative learning environment alongside other natural health care focused professions. Students are well prepared to become first-contact, primary care physicians, ready to diagnose, treat and manage a wide range of patients and conditions. New graduates are also qualified to begin post-graduate education for several clinical specialties.
Chiropractic Medicine Treatments
Treatment modalities can include performing manipulation, functional and nutritional medicine, and lifestyle counseling, physical rehabilitation therapy and providing supplements including vitamins and natural botanical medicines. National University graduates are extensively trained as thorough diagnosticians to identify the appropriate treatment for their patients.
Licensure of chiropractic medicine has different rules and procedures depending which state, country, or international region you wish to practice. To practice as a chiropractic physician in the U.S., students must pass the national board examinations conducted by the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE). They must also apply for licensure in the state in which they plan to practice. Students are responsible for familiarity with the state’s scope of practice and licensing and renewal requirements.
To practice in Canada, students must pass the national board examination conducted by the Canadian Chiropractic Examining Board (CCEB). Individuals interested in practicing in Canada should also inquire within their specific province or territory of interest for licensure requirements. Physicians wishing to practice in other international countries or regions may be required to pass the International Board of Chiropractic Examiners (IBCE) examination or other requirements specific to a location. Students are urged to visit the Federation of Chiropractic Licensing Boards (FCLB) for more information.
Choosing Between a Career in Chiropractic Medicine or Physical Therapy?
Chiropractic physicians enjoy a number of career advantages compared to physical therapists or certified athletic trainers. Learn more about these advantages and hear from NUHS graduate Dr. Randy Cybulski on why a DC degree could be a better choice for your long-term goals.
Chiropractic Sports Medicine
If you seek a career emphasis in chiropractic sports medicine, NUHS is an excellent choice. Learn more about sports medicine at NUHS.
You can earn your Doctor of Chiropractic degree in as little as ten trimesters at our Illinois campus or our Florida site. Students attend school year round and may complete the program in three years and four months.
National University’s distinctive and innovative curriculum provides you with a comprehensive base in human biology and anatomy, and extensive hands-on training in diagnosis and treatment. We train you to think like a physician. Throughout the program, you will learn how to master a variety of chiropractic adjustments through our diversified technique curriculum, which also includes flexion-distraction technique. The chiropractic program is a three-phase program.
Phase I: Basic Sciences
- Spend one full year of anatomy and physiology in our anatomy lab where you’ll perform complete human dissection rather than learning by prosection or virtual instruction.
Phase II: Clinical Sciences
- Learn how to diagnose, treat, and manage a wide range of ailments.
- Practice evaluation and diagnostic techniques with “standardized patients.”
- Gain valuable business knowledge on how to ethically promote and market your practice.
Phase III: Clinical Practice
- Experience your internship through one of a variety of clinical opportunities.
- Expand your medical and leadership skills by participating in community outreach events.
Learn more about the program’s curriculum by viewing:
You may also explore our Flex Track schedules which allow students wishing to go at a slower pace to take a reduced course load each trimester.
Broad-Scope, Patient-Centered Care
We prepare our students to evaluate and address the full range of factors affecting human health. You’ll learn to diagnose and treat each of your patients based on a thorough evaluation of their unique health history and profile. You won’t base your care on just one symptom, one part or region of the body, or one type of treatment. Instead, you’ll learn to think in terms of “whole health healing.” You’ll draw from a wide range of healing modalities and work together with experts from other medical fields whenever it will benefit your patient.
Our commitment to research is demonstrated by our journals, our extensive current research, and the number of student research opportunities available. You’ll find evidence-based practice is an important part of each phase in our curriculum.
Nate Porcher (DC ’13)
As a student, Nate wrote a research article on sports-related concussions that was later published in the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine after he graduated. He had originally given a presentation on the research at the 2012 Chiropractic Sports Symposium.
Featured Chiropractic Alumni
Dr. Brian Hutcheson (DC ’13)
Dr. Brian Hutcheson is the first DC hired by Hope Health, a regional medical center with nine facilities and a patient base of 32,000. He will help develop their integrative medicine section, and serve on the center’s integrative boards for diabetic patients and pain management. He says: “National is the only school that could have prepared me for this opportunity.” Read more »
National University of Health Sciences’ chiropractic degree program in Lombard, Illinois, has been accredited by the Council on Chiropractic Education (CCE) since 1971, and by its predecessor, the American Chiropractic Association Committee on Accreditation since 1966. The chiropractic degree program in St. Petersburg, Florida has been accredited since 2009.
Consider National University for its distinct advantages and be well-prepared for the career that awaits you. Learn more about how National University supports your career success in the classroom and beyond »
Students learn in the classroom with students in other health programs, as well as treat patients collaboratively within an integrative clinic. National University’s focus on collaborative learning encourages students to become colleagues rather than competitors. This better prepares them for future careers in today’s field of integrated health care. Additionally, NUHS students can expand their career credentials by enrolling in dual degree programs.
Primary Care Focused
Students in the chiropractic medicine program at National University are trained to become primary care physicians, focused on providing patient-centered care and whole health healing. Central to the chiropractic curriculum at National University is thorough training in diagnosis and a focus on the complete health care of a patient, and not merely specific issues or symptoms.
Superior Manipulation Techniques
As a student at National University, you will learn a variety of manual therapy techniques through our diversified technique curriculum, which includes training in flexion-distraction technique. Learn more about techniques »
Rigorous Medical Education
The chiropractic medicine program at National University emphasizes broad-scope, science-based teaching through Evaluation & Management courses. These unique courses focus on pairing the knowledge learned in the basic science courses with clinical reasoning. You’ll learn how to decide on the correct chiropractic manipulation and medical procedures needed to treat each patient condition.
We train students to work effectively with other health care professionals such as MDs, DOs, NDs, and more. With such a thorough education in the basic and clinical sciences, graduates will speak the same language as those in other health care fields.
Campus Location and Facilities
National University is proud to offer the Doctor of Chiropractic program in two locations: Lombard, Illinois, and St. Petersburg, Florida. The Lombard campus is conveniently located 15 miles from the city of Chicago with easy access by car or Metra train. The St. Petersburg site is conveniently located 18 miles from downtown Tampa. Both areas are home to some of the largest health care communities with hundreds of hospitals and area clinics, giving you countless opportunities to pursue a career in an integrated health care setting.
Students are taught in modern classrooms utilizing state-of-the-art technology such as SMART boards. Our gross anatomy laboratory housing over 40 human cadavers, allows you to learn by hands-on dissection rather than prosection or virtual instruction. In addition to hands-on dissection, NUHS offers The Anatomage Table, today’s most technologically advanced digital visualization system for anatomy education. Active learning continues during clinical science studies in our Training and Assessment Center where you will work with “standardized patients” to develop your clinical and communication skills. Learn more about our facilities »
Each DC student serves a full-year clinical internship that is designed to provide interns with the kind of challenging, real-world experience that is key to their future professional success.
The clinical experience can be completed at either a Whole Health Center, or a variety of other internship opportunities including non-profit clinics, clerkships, or hospital rotations. Opportunities are available in Illinois and Florida. Learn more »
Study in Illinois or Florida
You can earn your Doctor of Chiropractic degree at our Illinois campus just a short drive from the world-class city of Chicago, or our Florida site near the vibrant city of Tampa!
Other Program Opportunities
Students who earn their DC degree at National University have the option to earn a second degree (ND, MSOM, or MSAc) through dual enrollment. Because there are shared courses between the programs, there will be a reduction of the total number of hours needed to complete the second degree. Students are not eligible to begin dual enrollment until the third trimester of their initial or primary program of study.
Jane Drobin – DC/ND Graduate
The opportunity to earn doctorates in chiropractic and naturopathic medicine in less time than earning them separately at different schools led Dr. Drobin to National University. “NUHS does a good job of exposing you to everything,” she explained, noting that she added 100 hours of acupuncture instruction after finding acupuncture students to be great resources. “I’ll be able to refer my patients for acupuncture treatment because of the knowledge I now have.”
After graduation, students may pursue a number of postprofessional programs such as our master’s and residency programs or a wide variety of continuing education classes. Additionally, students may pursue specific courses and programs while completing their first professional program. (Students must meet prerequisite requirements and attain approval from the Dean of Lincoln College prior to entry.)
Advanced Scholars Program
Qualified undergraduate students from Ball State University, Elmhurst University, South Dakota State University, St. Petersburg College or the NUHS bachelor of science program, can earn a BS degree and a DC degree in less time and at less cost through our Advanced Scholars Program. The first year in the DC program will count toward both degrees, giving students the chance to finish both a BS and DC degree in 6.5 years.
DC MPH Coordinated Degree Program
Students pursuing a DC degree, have the opportunity to pursue a Master of Public Health degree or Master of Science in Clinical and Translational Research from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). Through a coordinated program, students are able to utilize some of their NUHS coursework to shorten the length of the MPH program. Students must be accepted separately into the DC program at National University and the MPH and MS CTS programs at UIC.
Dana Madigan – DC/MPH Graduate
Dana researched access to chiropractic care in the country of Ghana, and presented her research at the American Public Health Association. Dana was also the first DC student selected for the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship, and the first graduate of the coordinated DC/MPH degree program.