From chiropractic to medicine?

THANK YOU old premed…I am thrilled that I found this site! My story/confusion sounds like others on this site, however, as it is I have a lot of time and money already invested in education.

A bit of history… I am a 35 yo male (with a very supportive wife and 2 mo old baby boy ) with an ugrad in accounting and a Masters degree in business (both high GPA’s). Based upon my parent’s advice of “everything in life is a business” I felt this would be a great career path. I have given it the best effort that I could given that it completely bores me and provided little gratification.

Five years ago, I decided (with my wife’s support) that it was time to make a career change. After doing considerable research, I made the decision to go to chiropractic school. A desire to be a “doc” was never a goal of mine, but rather I wanted to be that unique individual who had great ethics, bedside manner, truly cared, and could help people. I found chiro school challenging, extremely interesting, enjoyable and after four years and countless exams and national boards I did well 3.9 GPA (summa cum laude). I just graduated in May of 2008.

I thought I had it all figured out until I did rotations through the VA hospital system, an integrated health care facility, and started doing original research with a clinic director at an Ivy League med school. Further, I had a poor experience as an associate within a busy chiropractic center.

As a licensed chiropractor, I enjoy being able to help people non-invasively, while using the best available research (I am very scientifically based). This has been rewarding. However, I feel that my hands are tied the longer I practice. Camaraderie within the profession is hardly what I expected and more importantly, the differing opinions and practice styles that fall under “chiropractic” is mind-blowing (some of which are absurd and many are unsubstantiated. PLEASE don’t get me wrong… there are some great scientifically based chiropractors out there doing a lot of good).

If I were a “quack” it wouldn’t really matter whether or not I could integrate well into our health care system… I just wouldn’t care. I do care, and the idea of becoming an MD crosses my mind constantly.

I thought I did enough research before, however there are some things that you can learn ONLY by going through the program. I have been told by a friend (an orthopedist) and multiple MDs that this is a horrible time to go into medicine and that this is one of the first times in history that parents are recommending to their children not to go into medicine. That was one of the reasons that I chose chiropractic.

As already mentioned, I have a lot of $$$$$ tied up in education. I am questioning the topics of my age, family, and prior education as factors in my decision. Will I ever be able to get out from under this debt if I go back to school?

I have received support thus far, but I don’t think I could be any more confused about this!

Sorry for the long post. I would appreciate any comments/suggestions/help ! I feel that I don’t have enough valuable information to make an informed decision. Thank You…

Dr. T

How many of the pre-reqs have you already completed while obtaining to doctorate in chiro? If any? I am unaware of what the requirements are for your field…Just curious, as this may help facilitate your path much quicker…

Welcome to the Party - You will find a number of posts dealing with finances as you browse about.

If I may be so bold, do consider DO as well as MD. With your already acquired skills in manipulative medicine it would be a natural transition to a full medical qualification.


Thanks for the reply. The pre-reqs for chiro are the same as med (gen chem 1-2, o-chem 1-2, physics, etc.) Looking at say Umass Medical I have already completed the pre-reqs. Chiro semesters are full time/full days, 5 days a week and averaged 25-29 credits (roughly 8 classes)for 4 years. Sample coursework includes all of the basic sciences, a&p, histology, pathology, neuro, ortho, microbiology, biochemistry etc. etc. Some obvious major differences are (amongst many others): we focus heavily on manual therapy/technique, and because the majority of chiropractors do not prescribe meds, our pharm classes are introductory in nature.


This site is going to keep me busy for hours! That is a great suggestion (DO vs. MD), and I’ve considered that until I shadowed one and I had one as my pcp (a great doc). I my opinion (and I hope I don’t offend anyone) the letters after their name were the only difference between DO and MD. I figure that if I am going to go for it, I should take the most “accepted” route.

  • Tryingtodecide Said:

This site is going to keep me busy for hours! That is a great suggestion (DO vs. MD), and I've considered that until I shadowed one and I had one as my pcp (a great doc). I my opinion (and I hope I don't offend anyone) the letters after their name were the only difference between DO and MD. I figure that if I am going to go for it, I should take the most "accepted" route.

It's a common perception among premeds that the DO degree is less accepted. However today it's fully equivalent to the MD degree in terms of legal standing in the 50 states and several other countries.

Both DO and MD tracks will get you to a career in medicine. DO schools are somewhat easier to get into for nontrads; they tend to be a little more open minded toward older candidates and they also are more lenient about replacing old grades. But they also get less government funding and hence they tend to cost more (with a few exceptions).

It is true that many DO’s function much the same way as MD’s, however if there is any lack of respect from my MD colleagues they hide it very well.

I do actually work in manipulative medicine into my daily primary care routine. It is a welcome relief from the somewhat intense schedule of primary care. It seems to be much appreciated by my patients as well as by the clinic manager who appreciates the greater reimbursement that OMT brings as a procedure.

I love blending the “respectable” aspects of conventional medicine with the much appreciated- but less clinically proven methods of hands on OMT

A natural extension of your manual skills from chiropractic I would think.

I realize that this could be looked at as a simple bump for this topic, but I’m in pretty much the same boat as the OP.

Since I’m not ready to up and relocate, and with the nearest DO school about 3 hours away (OUCOM), my best shot is going to be a couple of local MD schools. The Assistant Dean of Admissions of one of them was very nice and encouraging. Certain things he’d like to see me do, which I’m in the process of moving toward, but that’s what it’s looking like for me!

As a professor at a Chiropractic College, I see several students each year decide to transition to a second program. Interestingly I have written more LOR’s this year than ever before, not sure why that is. Most pursue an MD or DO with a few interested in a PA/NP degree. This has increased with an NP program in Texas that gives DC’s advanced standing. As for the opportunities here locally, The medical school here is very accepting of those with an alternative health care background but is very competitive and takes very few OOS students. There is a new DO school in Yakima, WA and another opening in Southern OR next year. I have spoken with several people that have received credit for their previous education at a few of the DO schools, UNE, WVSOM, and AT Still, which might make them more attractive to those applying.

good luck to everyone!