Chiropractors who are licensed to practise in Australia are required to have undertaken degree studies in an accredited programme at an Australian university. In addition, in order to maintain their registration, it is also a requirement that chiropractors undertake annual continued professional development (CPD), in order to ensure that they are aware of and implementing developments in best practice.
In order to become a registered health professional in Australia, chiropractors are required to undertake an extensive programme of professional and academic training, and in order to maintain their registration, it is a requirement that chiropractors undertake continued professional development (CPD) training on an annual basis.
An Australian chiropractor will have completed five years of training at a university on an approved and accredited degree course. This five years may consist of a five-year Bachelor of Chiropractic, or it may consist of a three-year Bachelor degree followed by a two-year post-graduate Masters degree. It is also possible to practise in Australia if a chiropractor has completed an programme of study overseas that has been accredited by the Council of Chiropractic Education Australasia (CCEA), whose role it is to assess the quality of chiropractic education and training in this country, as well as to evaluate the knowledge and skills of chiropractors trained outside of Australia and New Zealand who apply to practise here.
Chiropractic training has at its heart practitioners being taught to assess and diagnose spinal and musculoskeletal problems, and learning therapeutic approaches to these problems. Practitioners are instructed in the key elements of chiropractic diagnostic and manipulative skills, such as spinal adjustments and other joint and soft-tissue manipulation. This specialised training takes place alongside studies in anatomy, neuroanatomy, physiology, microbiology, histology and pathology. As the culmination of their chiropractic studies, student practitioners in the final years of their training also undertake the practical treatment and care of patients under the supervision of a registered practitioner.
A further essential focus of chiropractic training is that practitioners are taught to assess and manage patients from a wellness perspective, meaning that chiropractic training also focuses on understanding the ways in which patient lifestyle (e.g. exercise, posture, diet, etc.) can have an effect on well-being.
In addition to this initial training and education, chiropractors continue their training and learning throughout their careers. As part of their continued registration, chiropractors are required to undertake mandated hours of continued professional development (CPD) on an annual basis.
Registered chiropractors must undertake at least 25 hours of CPD each year; this might consist of conferences and seminars, accredited courses, research, etc. This ongoing training and professional development means that all chiropractors practising in Australia ensure that their skills and knowledge remain current, and that they are aware of the latest developments and discoveries in the field, all of which has the aim of minimising risk and improving safety and health outcomes for patients. In addition, all chiropractic practitioners must hold a current Senior First Aid (Level 2) certificate.
An Australian chiropractor must undertake this combination of initial accredited and approved university training and ongoing CPD in order to be licensed to practise in this country. The Chiropractic Board of Australia (CBA), working in partnership with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), is responsible for the registration of chiropractors and for overseeing the maintenance of the highest professional standards through its Code of Conduct.
Therefore, patients in Australia seeking or undergoing chiropractic treatment can feel confident that their chiropractor has undergone rigorous and extensive university study, is committed to developing and enhancing their skills and knowledge, and is effectively regulated in line with other primary healthcare professionals in this country.