Should I Become a Chiropractic Technician?
Chiropractic technicians, or chiropractic assistants, help chiropractors with various aspects of patient and office management. The daily tasks of these technicians can include taking and developing x-rays, assisting in patient therapy and exercise, keeping track of patient records and answering chiropractic-related questions. Evening or weekend work might be required, depending on the normal business hours. A median annual salary of $27,748 was reported for chiropractic assistants by Payscale.com in January 2016.
|Degree Level||High school diploma or equivalent; post-secondary certificate or degree helpful|
|Degree Field||Medical assisting; chiropractic technology|
|Certification||Voluntary but beneficial|
|Key Skills||Strong interpersonal and analytical skills; able to effectively read and understand medical charts; attention to detail; knowledge of basic medical instruments and their functions|
|Salary||$27,748 (2016 median salary for chiropractic assistants)|
Source: Payscale.com (2016)
To become a chiropractic technician, you'll need at least a high school diploma, but a post-secondary certificate or degree in medical assisting or chiropractic technology from an accredited institution may be attractive to some employers. Certification is not always a necessary requirement, but many employers prefer to hire certified individuals. The is an entry-level position, so no previous chiropractic experience is required. You will need strong interpersonal and analytical skills, the ability to effectively read and understand medical charts, attention to detail and knowledge of basic medical instruments and their functions is helpful.
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Steps to Become a Chiropractic Technician
Let's take a look at what steps you'll want to take to become a chiropractic technician.
Step 1: Earn a Certificate or Associate's Degree
Although many chiropractors provide on-the-job training for chiropractic technicians with little or no previous experience, many employers favor candidates with some formal education and qualifications. Post-secondary medical assisting programs, which usually span 1-2 years and result in a certificate or associate's degree, provide chiropractic technicians with core knowledge that helps them become successful in their field.
Alternatively, ambitious chiropractic technicians can gain training and experience through an Associate of Science in Chiropractic Technology program offered by many community colleges and technical schools. These programs typically take 1-2 years to complete, and courses cover chiropractic treatments, medical office procedures, medical terminology, patient management, musculoskeletal anatomy and radiologic technology. Many programs also include internships that offer supervised experience and potential employment contacts.
Be sure to choose an accredited academic program. When you are looking into possible post-secondary programs, choose one that is accredited. Most certification agencies require candidates to possess a certificate or associate's degree from an accredited post-secondary institution.
Step 2: Explore Certification Opportunities
Chiropractic technicians may want to explore various certification opportunities, as certification can prove very helpful when it comes to obtaining a job. Both the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) and the American Medical Technologists (AMT) agency require candidates to complete accredited training programs before they are eligible to become certified.
Since the work of a chiropractic technician can involve taking and developing x-rays, aspiring chiropractic technicians may also want to consider certification from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT). Applicants must meet certain educational, ethical and exam criteria in order to become eligible to take the certification exam. Upon successful completion, they'll be allowed to attach the Registered Technologist (RT) credential to their names. Practicing chiropractic technicians must meet continuing education requirements every two years to maintain this credential.
Become familiar with certification exam material prior to taking the test. To earn certification, you will likely have to pass an in-depth exam. Contact your certification agency to learn more about what the exam covers and what you can do to adequately prepare yourself. Proper preparation can help tremendously on exam day.
Step 3: Pursue Continuing Education Opportunities
Since many certification agencies and credentialing organizations require you to complete continuing education to maintain your certification, try to pursue these opportunities whenever you can. Not only will this help you keep your certification, but it will teach you the latest advancements in the field as well.
Step 4: Consider a Bachelor's Degree
Chiropractic technicians who want to advance might pursue a bachelor's degree in a related healthcare field, like nursing or medical administration. Earning a bachelor's degree is also the next step to becoming a chiropractor, since a certain amount of undergraduate education is required prior to enrolling in a doctoral chiropractic program.
To become a chiropractor technician, you'll need some training, either on the job or through formal education, and you may want to consider certification.