How To Become A Chiropractor In Australia: A Complete Guide

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Students want to know how to become a chiropractor in Australia, including how long it takes.


Do you aspire to work as a chiropractor in Australia? Are you looking for the most exemplary chiropractic programs and colleges in Australia? If yes, the post below will be beneficial to you.


Chiropractors are essential health practitioners because they have extensive skills and knowledge to treat various neuromusculoskeletal diseases. Their ability to correct misalignment and manipulate the spine can improve overall health and body functions and relieve pain instantly.


A chiropractic job is personally fulfilling and rewarding as it allows you to treat and prevent alignment issues and educate individuals on maintaining a healthy lifestyle with proper exercise.


Working as a chiropractor is a good option if you are a health practitioner who follows a different procedure or wants to start a career in natural therapies.


If this is something you'd be interested in, read the guide below and learn how to become a chiropractor in Australia, how long it takes, chiropractor degree requirements, courses, qualifications, salary, and more.



1. What Does A Chiropractor Do?


Chiropractors are in charge of physically treating aging patients or someone who has suffered specific health issues or injuries.


They often meet with patients, perform exams to detect problems, and offer consultation. After that, they create a treatment plan and perform chiropractic procedures on patients, such as Thompsons Drops, physiotherapy, and adjustments, to mention a few.


Chiropractitioners also need to inform clients about all the procedures involved thoroughly. Thus, good customer service and communication skills are required to put them at ease and answer any concerns they may have.


Chiropractors must develop a professional yet personal relationship with each client for them to return for future treatment. In some instances, they are also paid bonuses, depending on productivity.


Some chiropractors may need to supervise a team of assistants who provide care before the chiropractor performs their tasks.


Therefore, it is vital to communicate effectively with them and give them the right direction. Additionally, chiropractors collaborate with other medical professionals who offer care to clients to ensure that the best possible care is delivered.


Furthermore, chiropractors must keep detailed records of every patient treatment provided so that it can be forwarded to other medical professionals when required.


To work as a chiropractor, you must pass the state board examination, have a doctor of chiropractic degree, and gain a current and valid state licence.



2. Major Tasks And Duties of A Chiropractic


  • Perform specialised work, such as diagnostic imaging, paediatrics, sports chiropractics, or other chiropractic techniques.

  • Administer various tests to diagnose and analyse patients' physical issues and illnesses.

  • Adjust patients' spine and other joints to address dysfunctions that interfere with bodily function integration and nervous system control.

  • Conduct workplace assessments and pre-employment examinations.

  • Plan and discuss how to effectively manage a patient's dysfunction.

  • Takedown patient information, do physical exams and analyse diagnostic imaging findings, including X-rays.

  • Review, design, evaluate, assess, and monitor treatment programs.

  • Provide primary health recommendations to patients about nutrition and exercise.

  • Treat patients by adjusting the spinal column to manipulate soft tissues and joints.

  • Record the patient's medical history, therapies provided, reactions and treatment progress. 

  • Provide certificates for work-related and insurance purposes.

  • Refer patients to specialists and discuss their needs, problems, and progress with other medical professionals.

  • Educate patients, their families, partners, and friends about therapeutic methods, such as lifestyle changes and home exercises, to improve patients' health and wellness.



3. Steps To Become A Chiropractor in Australia


Here are a few common steps you can take to become a successful chiropractor in Australia:



Step 1: Determine Your End Goal


Before you start your career as a Chiropractor, you must establish your chiropractic practice's goal. You must know what you are about to step into to make the required preparations. These include obtaining the relevant qualifications and deciding where to work after that.


As a chiropractor, you will address various neuromusculoskeletal problems using the evidence-based treatment and care approaches. Here are some of the conditions you will treat as a chiro practitioner:


  • Arthritic pain

  • Lower back pain 

  • Repetitive strains

  • Sciatica

  • Migraines and headaches

  • Neck pain

  • Car accident injuries

  • Sports-related injuries



Step 2: Have The Heart For The Job


Even though chiropractic is a rewarding profession, it can be challenging for individuals who need more preparation. So having the inherent characteristics of a chiropractor, such as organisation, empathy, and the knowledge to make the right patient decisions, always pays off.



Step 3: Get Qualified


To qualify as a chiropractor, you must earn a Bachelor of Health Science with a major in chiropractic from a nationally accredited institution. This five-year program provides a solid foundation in science, including chemistry, physiology, anatomy, and biology, to mention a few.


You can also obtain a Bachelor of Chiropractic Science, a three-year full-time degree course. Some chiropractors follow a different educational path, for instance, getting a bachelor's degree in biology before pursuing a doctorate.



Step 4: Get a Membership With A Professional Association


After studying and earning your certification from an authorised Australian institution, you can join the AHPRA (Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency). AHPRA is the country's regulating body for certified health practitioners, establishing performance criteria to which its members must adhere.


Once registered, you must renew it yearly, proving that you have completed the required CPD (Continued Professional Development). CPD comprises seminars and training courses that help you stay updated with the latest developments in the field of chiropractic.


You can collaborate with other health practitioners, work in any healthcare setting, or even open your clinic as a certified chiropractor. Setting up your private practice allows you to work flexible hours while offering high-quality care and treatment to your clients.



Step 5: Find A Chiropractor Job and Get Started


The final step is to get a job as a chiropractor in Australia. You can either partner with another practitioner or join a more extensive chiropractic facility. Further, you can also think about starting and managing your clinic. It is crucial to remember that entering an existing firm is more straightforward than running your clinic.


However, you might have to conduct thorough research to investigate local chiropractors' clinics and discover someone ready to work with a new chiropractor. Companies registered in this field need non-compete agreements or contracts. Remember that you can be banned from working with any other practice for several years if you sign a contract.


Remember, you must invest money to establish your own business since you'll need to pay for medical equipment, staff, office space, and other expenses. It may take longer to set up a new office than it would work with another chiropractor. However, you need to sign a contract to practice with another chiropractor.


Furthermore, starting your own business requires a solid patient base and may take some time.



4. Where To Study Chiropractic In Australia?


There are four universities and one college in Australia that offer chiropractic degree courses. Let us check them out:



  • Australian Chiropractic College: This institution is situated in Adelaide, South Australia (SA) and offers a four-year Bachelor of Chiropractic Degree. It also has a one-year university-level admission requirement.


  • Macquarie University is located in Sydney, New South Wales (NSW). This institution offers a three-year Bachelor of Chiropractic Science program that prepares students for a two-year Master of Chiropractic program.


  • RMIT University: It is based in Melbourne, Victoria (VIC), and provides a three-year Bachelor of Health Science (Chiropractic) degree, followed by a two-year Master of Clinical Chiropractic program.


  • Central Queensland University: This institution is situated in Brisbane and Mackay (Queensland) and offers a three-year Bachelor of Science (Chiropractic) degree. You can continue after this with a two-year Master of Clinical Chiropractic degree.


  • Murdoch University: This chiropractor university is in Perth, Western Australia (WA). It offers a Bachelor of Chiropractic and a Bachelor of Applied Science (in chiropractic), usually provided as a double degree program. You must complete the entire program successfully for professional registration as a chiropractor.



5. What Are The Skills Required To Become A Chiropractor In Australia?


Chiropractors must be interested in investigation, research, and natural laws. Further, they must enjoy serving, assisting, teaching, and counselling other individuals.


Here are all the skills a Chiropractors must have:



  • Detail-Oriented: Chiropractors must be attentive and pay close attention to details to make accurate diagnoses and stop making mistakes that may injure patients.


  • Decision-making Skills: Chiropractors must choose the best action when treating a patient. They must also know when to refer a patient to another healthcare provider.


  • Empathy: Mostly, chiropractors treat patients who are in pain. Therefore, they must be sympathetic and understanding towards their patients' needs and issues.


  • Dexterity: Chiropractors must be well-coordinated to provide successful therapy. They must use their hands to adjust the joints and spine manually.


  • Interpersonal Skills: Chiropractors must be approachable, so patients return for treatment whenever required. Also, they should be able to put their patients at ease because they frequently touch them while doing therapy.



6. How Long Does It Take To Become A Chiropractor In Australia?


An Australian chiropractor needs to complete a five-year degree program at a recognised and accredited university in Australia. This five-year period might consist of a five-year Bachelor of Chiropractic degree or a three-year Bachelor's degree followed by a two-year post-graduate degree, like a Master of Clinical Chiropractic.


You can also practise in Australia if you have completed an overseas study program accredited by the CCEA (Council on Chiropractic Education Australasia).


The CCEA is responsible for assessing the quality of chiropractic education and training in Australia and evaluating the skills and knowledge of chiropractors trained outside New Zealand and Australia.



7. How To Become A Chiropractor Without  Degree?


Chiropractors are not medical doctors because they do not hold any medical degrees. However, they need to undergo extensive chiropractic training to become licensed chiropractors. Generally, chiropractors start their education by earning a bachelor's degree focusing on the sciences.


They may also choose to specialise in a particular field. Regardless of speciality, all chiropractors must pass the state board exam to get a licence to practise. They must also attend regular continuing education sessions to stay updated in the profession.



8. How Much Do Chiropractors Get Paid in Australia?


According to PayScale data, the average Chiropractor's salary is AU$69,692 in Australia. The lowest and highest pay for a Chiropractor is A$48k per year and A$103k per year, respectively.


The actual salary of a Chiropractor is determined based on their level of experience and where they work.



Salary Based on Experience


  • Entry-level (<1 year experience): AU$61,042 per year 

  • Early career (1-4 years of experience): AU$68,724 per year 

  • Mid-career (5-9 years of experience): AU$80,293 per year 

  • Experienced (10-19 years of experience): AU$88,437 per year

  • In their late career (20 years and above): AU$ 85,000 annually.



Highest Paying Locations for Chiropractors in Australia:


  • Fawkner: $141,616 per year

  • Melbourne: $129,606 per year

  • Macquarie: $116,661 per year

  • Brisbane: $94,716 per year

  • Wagga Wagga: $93,837 per year

  • Sydney: $93,099 per year

  • Mornington: $92,904 per year

  • Carlton: $89,450 per year

  • Canberra: $83,599 per year



9. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)



Do You Need a Degree To Be a Chiropractor in Australia?


Yes. You need a bachelor's degree in chiropractic science, like a Bachelor of Chiropractic Science, followed by an approved Master's degree like a Master of Chiropractic.


Alternatively, you can complete an approved double degree like a Bachelor of Science / Bachelor of Clinical Chiropractic.



What ATAR Do You Need To Be A Chiropractor?


You usually require an ATAR between 60 to 80 to become a Chiropractor in Australia.




How To Become a Chiropractor in NSW?


You must complete an undergraduate degree in chiropractic science followed by an approved science.


Macquarie University in Sydney, NSW, conducts a 3-year Bachelor of Chiropractic Science program that provides a foundation for postgraduate degree courses like a 2-year Master of Chiropractic.



Can Chiropractors Refer You To MRI Australia?


Yes. Chiropractors can refer patients for an MRI scan. However, it may or may not qualify for a Medicare rebate.



Can A Chiropractor Issue A Medical Certificate in Australia?


Yes. As per the Fair Work Commission, a registered medical practitioner authorised to practice in Australia can issue a medical certificate. Being a registered medical practitioner, Chiropractor can issue a medical certificate in Australia.



Do Chiropractors Have a Medical Degree in Australia?


No. Registered Chiropractors in Australia don't have a medical degree but complete an accredited five-year chiropractic program conducted at an Australian university or College.


They also hold registration with register with the Chiropractic Board of Australia through the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency.



Are Chiropractors Called Doctors in Australia?


In Australia, registered chiropractors hold the same standards as other healthcare professionals. They are legally permitted to use the title 'Dr.'


It is because they undergo extensive education and training in chiropractic science and are government-registered and regulated healthcare professionals.



What Is The Difference Between A Physiotherapist and a Chiropractor?


Both are licenced professionals that treat and manage stiffness and pain in different body parts. They use invasive methods to help one move and feel better after injury.


However, their services areas in the scope of methods and treatments they use:


Physiotherapists Chiropractors
Their main objective is to ensure pain-free movement in patients. Proper spine alignment and pain relief are their primary objective.
Focuses on the body’s movement and functions as a whole. Focuses on problems concerning neck, back, joint pain in the legs or arms, and headaches.
A Physiotherapist is a good idea if you feel reduced functional mobility after surgery or an injury. If you have a severe neck or back issue, a chiropractor may be the ideal choice.
Physiotherapists help patients perform exercises, stretches, and manipulations for better mobility. Chiropractors perform adjustments and manipulations to promote self-healing of the body.
Physiotherapist work in a healthcare environment or offer at-home treatments. Chiropractors often work in specialized spaces to perform adjustments and manipulations.



What Is The Difference Between a Chiropractor and an Osteopath?


Before moving to the differences between these professionals, let us take a quick look at individual professions:





They are medical professionals focussing on the correct alignment of the spine and other joints. They undergo rigorous medical training, including five years of concentrated schooling and state registration, to become a Doctor of Chiropractic Medicine.


Chiropractors treat the body holistically as a single unit than a separate system. They focus on natural remedies and do not advise prescriptions or surgery.





They are doctors that focus on manipulating the bones, muscles, and tissues. They also view the body as a whole instead of specific portions.


Like medical doctors, Osteopaths undergo four years of medical school followed by 3-7 years of the residency program to become a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.). They can prescribe referrals and medicine for surgical procedures if deemed necessary.



Chiropractors vs. Osteopaths


Factors Chiropractors Osteopaths

They do not hold a medical degree but a Doctorate of Chiropractic degree. Also, they can’t write prescriptions They hold a medical degree.
Like an M.D., they also have the medical right to prescribe medication.

The type of treatment they manage
They use chiropractic adjustments to rectify misalignments of the joints.
Their focus areas are non-surgical healthcare of general health and the neuro-musculoskeletal system.
They focus more on using massage and stretching to manipulate the body's soft tissues.

Residency and Internship
Have to complete a one-year internship, including taking clinical courses while training.
NO Residency is required.
At least three years of Residency is required to work in this profession.

Area of Practice
Private practice clinics
Integrative medical settings
Public Hospitals
Private Clinics
Maternal health centres
Community Clinics
Aged care facilities
Professional sports clubs
Surgical Settings
Family Practices

Specialty Practice
Internal disorders
Sports medicine
Exercise rehabilitation
Sports management
Occupational health/ Workplace injury management)
Pain management


Now that you know everything about becoming a chiropractor in Australia, you are ready to embark on your successful journey as an Australian chiropractor.


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