What Qualifications Do You Need to Become a Chiropractor in the UK?

Breeze Academy June 14, 2022
Chiropractor working on woman's neck

If you’re interested in becoming a Chiropractor in the UK, you’ve likely wondered what qualifications are required to qualify and practise as a licenced Chiropractor. In this article, we discuss the courses that candidates would need to complete, and other requirements to be able to practise as a Chiropractor in the UK, as well as providing insight into career opportunities and potential salaries. 

So, what qualifications do you need to become a Chiropractor in the UK? Candidates will need to study a 4-year university degree in Chiropractic that results in a Master’s degree (MChiro). Courses can be between 4-6 years depending on students’ previous qualifications and the chosen institution. Individuals then need to register with the General Chiropractic Council.

Read on to learn more about the qualifications required to be a Chiropractor in the UK. 

What Qualifications are Needed to Become a Chiropractor?

To become a Chiropractor in the UK, students must complete a 4-year university degree course in Chiropractic that is recognised by the General Chiropractic Council (GCC), resulting in a Master’s-level degree. Such courses typically consist of 3 years of study, with 1 year work experience, although this can vary by institution and previous qualifications. Depending on the course chosen, and students’ backgrounds Chiropractic courses can take between 4-6 years. 

Programmes are not offered as a 3-year Bachelor's degree due to high academic and clinical standards for pre-registration education and training.

During the course of the degree, students must meet several learning outcomes, as set by the GCC:

  • Students must gain an understanding of the spectrum of chiropractic care, context and its history
  • Students must be able to assess and determine the health needs of patients
  • Students should be able to select and apply appropriate evidence-based care to meet the needs and preferences of the patient
  • Critical evaluation of scientific research methods in the context of clinical practice
  • Students should be able to effectively communicate with colleagues, patients, and other key stakeholders through both verbal and non-verbal forms
  • Students must have a strong understanding of the nature of professional accountability

Once students have completed a relevant degree, they must then register with the General Chiropractic Council to be able to practise. From here, individuals must then participate in CPD to maintain and develop their knowledge, and to renew their membership. 

Alternative Routes

The above route is the standard route into Chiropractic in the Uk, however there are alternative routes such as building on a Bachelor’s degree in a health science with a Master’s degree in Chiropractic.

Where to Study Chiropractic in the UK

There are currently 5 institutions in the UK that offer a GCC approved Chiropractic degree;

Is a Chiropractor Medically Trained?

It’s important to note that whilst the term Chiropractor is legally protected, Chiropractors aren’t Doctors; they don’t hold an M.D and aren’t medically trained to the same standard. Instead, Chiropractors graduate with the title of MChiro. That being said, Chiropractors are medically trained to some degree, just less extensively than Doctors, and training is generally related to Chiropractic, including:

  • Clinical physiology and anatomy
  • Clinical imaging Biomechanics
  • Behavioural sciences
  • Clinical diagnosis
  • Neuroanatomy and clinical neurology
  • Clinical management

 What Skills do Chiropractors Need?

To be successful as a Chiropractor, individuals need to have a wide range of skills, from clinical, to professional, and personal skills. Such skills include:

  • Excellent communication skills
  • A caring attitude and empathy
  • A good level of manual dexterity
  • Critical and analytical skills
  • Problem solving skills
  • Strong observational skills
  • Confidence in self and abilities
  • Business and marketing skills if working privately

How Much Does a Chiropractor Earn?

The typical base salary for new Chiropractors in the UK is around £30,000. However, with experience, skills, additional training and qualifications, salaries can rise to around £50,000. 

If, after several years of experience, Chiropractors choses to open their own practice, they could potentially earn around £80,000-£100,000. However, this will vary based on how much individuals charge clients and the success of the business. For reference,  Chiropractic appointments typically cost between £30-£50 per session. 

Development and Progression Opportunities

Whilst Chiropractic is a fairly specific branch of healthcare, there are opportunities for individuals to explore different career paths within the industry, as a result of experience, learning, and development. Chiropractors could learn new skills and expand their practice offerings, or they could choose an alternative path such as education or research. 

Progression and Career Paths

Many Chiropractors, after several years’ experience, choose to become self-employed and start their own practice. However, there are other career paths to choose from, such as moving into a specialism like sports medicine, rehabilitation, or neurology. Alternatively, Chiropractors can put their knowledge and skills to good use in education or research roles. 

There is also an option for Chiropractors to train in and put their skills to good use in Osteopathy. Learn more about this in our recent blog, How is a Chiropractor Different From an Osteopath? where we discuss similarities and differences between the two therapies, and when each would be useful to clients.

CPD for Chiropractors

In order to maintain their membership of the GCC, Chiropractors (whether practising or non-practising) must participate in regular CPD activities to encourage learning, development, and community integration. This ensures that Chiropractors practise in their patients, and their own best interests. 

The GCC provides a set structure to help members achieve this, of which the basic requirements include:

  • Identifying learning needs and interests, and producing a personal learning plan which addresses these
  • Undertaking and recording at least 30 hours of CPD in line with members’ learning plans
  • 15 of the 30 hours must include learning with others
  • Evaluation of the effectiveness of the learning undertaken

Directed CPD

In addition to the basic requirements, the GCC has recently introduced Directed CPD as a way of encouraging members to examine, self-reflect and evaluate their skills and abilities on a specific topic, e.g. communication, or First Aid. Meanwhile, new registrants (qualified within the last 2 years) are also required to include a focus on clinical governance in the CPD in order to support the GCC’s aims of developing professionalism amongst new members. 

Learn more about CPD for Chiropractors in our recent blog, CPD for Chiropractors: Chiropractic CPD Guide where we discuss the various learning and development options available to Chiropractors.

Final Thoughts

It is relatively easy to become a Chiropractor in the UK, as long as candidates are willing to commit to a long degree course, and regular continued professional development throughout their career. But, CPD is easy with Breeze Academy.

Breeze Academy is one of the UK’s leading healthcare CPD providers, offering courses in all major cities across the UK, as well as online and hybrid courses. Whether candidates are interested in incorporating acupuncture and dry needling, sports massage therapy, or clinical yoga into their Chiropractic practice, or are looking to specialise, we have courses that deliver all of the knowledge, skills, and confidence required to succeed. 

Learn more online today, or get in touch with our friendly team.

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