Education Resource Center

People have differing views on continuing education. Some rarely, if ever, set foot in a classroom again. Others will take specialized or “hobby” classes based on what interests them, while others will actively pursue their continued education to benefit their careers.


Chiropractors have options similar to this. State license renewal guidelines give doctors the opportunity to take brief “focus” classes with topics or techniques they would like to implement. They also have the option to actively continue their wellness education through certifications and diplomates in a wide variety of topics.


Why be certified?

Receiving a certification or diplomate can be a considerable investment in both time and money. In most cases, classes are held on weekends, and not necessarily at an easy distance. So why be certified? One of the biggest advantages of a diplomate or certification is specialization and what that brings to a doctor’s practice.


Diplomates in radiology can allow doctors to serve as references to peers in particularly complicated or challenging patient cases. A doctor with a specialization in sports injury or rehabilitation can more effectively develop a sports practice, including becoming a team Chiropractor locally or even nationally. A certification in spinal trauma or neurology can allow a doctor to develop a stronger knowledge base on acute injuries and associated spinal conditions.


The number of available certifications and diplomates also allows one to select a focus or specialty that fits specific interests and passions. From readily available information on the web, here are a look at some of the opportunities available and what’s involved:

  • Certified Chiropractic Sports Physician (CCSP) is a 100-hour certification program aimed at achieving a focus in patient care in sports and their associated injuries. Doctors obtaining this certification can better treat their patients by knowing the mechanism of the sports-related injury, degree of injury, and rehabilitative techniques to stabilize and strengthen the biomechanics of the involved area. This program can also act as a stepping stone to a full diplomate (DACBSP).
  • Certified Chiropractor in Spinal Trauma (CCST) is designed to improve clinical results through thorough case management and professional communication. The certification involves 10 modules and final examination, resulting in a strong background on whiplash, spinal trauma, and soft tissue injury.
  • Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) allows a doctor to recommend safe and effective programs of physical activity to his or her patients, improving the overall wellness of those individuals. Chiropractors are by their educational background able to sit for the CSCS examinations without additional classroom time beyond their current degree. Several guides and reference materials are available for those who would like to sit for this exam in order to review materials contained in the CSCS exam.
  • Diplomate of the American Board of Chiropractic Orthopedics (DABCO) places focus on the examination, diagnosis and treatment of the human body from an orthopedic perspective. The program encompasses 400 hours of class time with a minimum completion of 360 hours, along with successful completion of all course examinations.
  • Diplomate of the American Chiropractic Board of Radiology (DACBR) is a residency program for becoming a Chiropractic radiologist. The doctor will have a referral specialty and can provide consultation services to other doctors and their patients. Many diplomates perform research and can be expert witnesses in litigation. Seven schools in the United States currently offer residencies for becoming a Chiropractic radiologist.
  • Diplomate in Philosophical Chiropractic Standards (DPhCS) is a program designed to span five years and includes 320 hours divided among 13 live weekends, an online segment, self-study, and a thesis. The doctor’s thesis is then defended at Palmer Lyceum, witnessed by those in Lyceum attendance. Doctors achieving this diplomate are given a strong background in the founding principles of Chiropractic that serve as the “backbone” of the profession.
  • Diplomate of the American Chiropractic Board of Sports Physicians (DACBSP) is the next step of specialized education after a doctor receives certification as a sports practitioner. In addition to the CCSP prerequisites, the doctor must attend 200 additional hours of class, complete a written and practical examination, be published in a peer-reviewed journal, and have 100 hours of hands-on treatment outside the regular clinic setting. Receipt of a doctor’s DACBSP demonstrates a strong commitment and specialization in sports medicine as well as physical fitness.
  • Diplomate of the American Chiropractic Board of Occupational Health (DACBOH) is designed to broaden a doctor’s background through a focus on occupational health, the work environment, and safety relating to injury prevention and worker treatment. Doctors pursuing a diplomate in occupational health must complete 300 of the 360 total class hours as well as pass several examinations and complete a paper focusing on an aspect of occupational health.
  • Diplomate of the American Chiropractic Neurology Board (DACNB) is a 300-hour program for “specialist level” training in neurology. The program is offered at several colleges as well as through other dedicated institutions. Written and practical examinations are given upon completion of the program’s hours, and yearly recertification is part of this diplomate.
  • Diplomate of the American Chiropractic Rehabilitation Board (DACRB) focuses on the use of rehabilitation in the doctor’s office to speed recovery from injury and improvement in overall patient wellness. The program includes 300 hours divided into a three-year study program with examinations at the conclusion of study.
  • Diplomate of the American Chiropractic Board of Nutrition (DACBN) is for doctors who seek a focus on nutrition and its application in the clinic. The program comprises 360 hours of class, followed by examination for certification.


Getting started

Since many programs require time and attention, it is important to first decide to make the commitment to the specialty you are interested in. The continuing education departments of the colleges can provide you with the information on where and when each certification or diplomate will be offered. The internet is also an excellent option if you’re not certain a particular school offers your program.

Numerous continuing education seminars dot the Chiropractic landscape and can be a worthwhile experience, even though a certification or diplomate is not achieved. For example, Dr. Mark N. Charrette, a member of the Foot Levelers, Inc. Speaker Bureau, does a 12-hour course on extremity adjusting, which is useful knowledge and something that can be immediately used in the practice on Monday.

Broadening your education benefits your patients, your practice, and yourself. Once you have found a certification or diplomate that holds your interest, you’ll be on your way to personal and professional growth that may not have been possible before.

About the author

An enthusiastic speaker, Dr. William Austin provides an energetic approach to learning. He draws from more than 35 years of healthcare experience, which includes Athletic Training, Emergency Medicine, English Bonesetting, and Chiropractic. Dr. Austin has developed two successful practices. His patients range from newborns to centenarians, couch potatoes to professional athletes. Dr. Austin is a 1986 graduate of Logan College of Chiropractic.

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