A chiropractic assistant has many of the same duties as a regular medical office assistant, in that he or she is responsible for handling billing and reimbursement, communicating with insurance companies, greeting clients, maintaining financial records and scheduling appointments. In addition, chiropractic assistants perform some basic tasks with patients and/or assist the chiropractor.
A chiropractic assistant needs to have obtained a high school diploma or equivalent. Certification in the area of chiropractic assistant would be needed for advancement in the field. An associate's degree in medical or chiropractic assisting and clinical experience would also be advantageous to those looking into this career path.
Earning an Associate's Degree
A 2-year associate's degree program in chiropractic technology provides high school graduates with the educational background and technical training necessary to perform tasks in the front office. It also prepares future chiropractic assistants to complete some preliminary orthopedic and physical exams on patients. An assistant with a degree may take x-rays and educate patients on treatment methods.
Those enrolled in an associate's degree program in chiropractic technology learn the fundamentals of the field through classroom lectures, but are also required to complete supervised experiences in chiropractic clinics. Direct, hands-on experience is required to prepare students to enter roles as chiropractic assistants upon graduation.
Previous college education is not typically a prerequisite for gaining admittance into an associate's degree program in chiropractic technology. Students interested in enrolling in such a program should hold a high school diploma or its equivalent; they should possess a GPA of at least 2.0.
Courses within an associate's degree program in chiropractic technology cover basic office and business skills in addition to technical and clinical skills. Specific topics include:
- Bookkeeping fundamentals
- Computer science
- Office management skills
Also included would be:
- Chiropractic methods
- Medicine and ethics
- X-ray and radiology technology
- Insurance and reimbursement procedures
Employment Outlook and Salary
A chiropractic assistant performs both front and back office duties at the private practice of a licensed chiropractor. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does not release data specific to the position of chiropractor assistant but did report that medical assistants are increasing much faster than other careers, and employment is expected to grow in this field by 23% from 2014-2024. In 2015 the median annual salary for a medical assistant was $30,590.
Not all states require chiropractic assistants to gain licensure or certification before beginning a career in the field. Those that do typically require aspiring chiropractic assistants to apply for certification and then complete an examination offered by the state's Chiropractic Examiners Board.
A chiropractic assistant program would likely require a student to earn an associate's degree through a 2-year program. A degree would be necessary for career advancement in this growing field in which the assistant manages the office work along with being actively involved in basic chiropractic patient care.