Council on Chiropractic Education

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The Council on Chiropractic Education - USA (CCE-USA) is an agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education for accrediting programs and institutions which lead to the degree of 'doctor of chiropractic'. Its purpose is to ensure the high quality of chiropractic education in the USA

1) by imposing standards
2) by encouraging educational improvement, and
3) by providing public information.

The current President of the Board of Directors of the CCE-USA is Joseph Brimhall DC, of the Western States Chiropractic College.

Chiropractic education

Over the years, education standards for doctors of chiropractic have became progressively more stringent, and are now not that dissimilar to other healthcare fields, though they tend to concentrate on hands-on methods of treating, short of drugs and surgery. Students who wish to enroll in chiropractic school in the USA today must meet a minimum prerequisite course of study of 90 semester hours from an accredited college or university. Pre-studies required need to be in biology, organic and inorganic chemistry, psychology, and physics. Chiropractic programs require at least 4,200 hours of combined classroom in anatomy, embryology, physiology, microbiology, diagnosis, neurology, x-ray, orthopedics, obstetrics/gynecology, histology, and pathology. Their education is augmented with extensive anatomical studies that includes eight months of human dissection, and students must perform a research project during their third year. The final two years stress courses in manipulation and spinal adjustment and provide clinical experience in physical and laboratory diagnosis, orthopedics, neurology, geriatrics, physiotherapy, and nutrition.

After completing this program, to qualify for licensure, graduates must pass four examinations from the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners [1] and satisfy State-specific requirements. Chiropractic colleges also enable doctors to continue their education in postdoctoral training in neurology, orthopedics, sports injuries, nutrition, rehabilitation, industrial consulting, radiology, family practice, pediatrics, and applied chiropractic sciences. After such training, chiropractors may take exams leading to 'diplomate' status in a given specialty including orthopedics, neurology and radiology. In the USA, this training is overseen by the Council on Chiropractic Education. Each state has a licensing board that is responsible for regulating the practice in that state, overseen by the Federation of Chiropractic Licensing Boards.

Professional education in chiropractic is expected to provide a core of knowledge in the relevant basic and clinical sciences, and sufficient knowledge of related health sciences, to enable the graduate to fulfil his or her professional obligations as a practising doctor of chiropractic. To achieve this, the curriculum must include instruction in anatomy, biochemistry, physiology, microbiology, pathology, public health, physical clinical and laboratory diagnosis, gynecology, obstetrics, pediatrics, geriatrics, dermatology, otolaryngology, diagnostic imaging procedures, psychology, nutrition/dietetics, biomechanics, orthopedics, neurology, first aid and emeergency procedures, spinal analysis, principles and practice of chiropractic, clinical decision making, adjustive techniques, research methods and procedures, and professional ethics. The student must have completed at least 4,200 hours of instruction before graduating.

The CCE-USA is responsible for approving programs of education that lead to the degree of doctor of chiropractic. Approval is a voluntary process; a College that proposes a program will contact the CCE-USA to invite a review of the program. The program will then be reviewed by a panel of expert evaluators, who will discuss it and visit the College. All programs accredited by the CCE-USA are listed on its website.

History of the CCE-USA

In the 1920s, the profession of chiropractic was divided; members of two rival associations, the 'Universal Chiropractic Association' (UCA) and the 'American Chiropractic Association' (ACA) disagreed about what sort of training was needed by the chiropractic profession. In 1930, to resolve these disagreements, the two associations merged to form the 'National Chiropractic Association' (NCA). In 1935, the NCA established a 'Committee on Education Standards' with John J. Nugent DC as its first Director. Nugent had earlier played a significant role in developing the Basic Science Board for all healthcare providers.

Between 1935 and 1940, national chiropractic associations including the NCA; the 'Chiropractic Health Bureau'; and the 'Council on State Chiropractic Examining Boards' worked to raise the quality of chiropractic training. The NCA became the 'American Chiropractic Association' (ACA), and the Chiropractic Health Bureau became the International Chiropractors Association (ICA). In 1938 the 'Committee on Education Standards' and 'Council on State Chiropractic Examining Boards' merged. Under the direction of this new 'Committee on Education Standards', the first institution self-study questionnaire was sent to all 37 chiropractic institutions actively engaged in chiropractic education in the United States. In 1941, after independent inspection of the schools and evaluation of the educational criteria, the Committee issued its first list of 12 provisionally approved institutions.

The 'Council on Education' was formed by institutional representatives and by members of the 'Committee on Education Standards'. In 1947, it gained the formal support and approval of the House of Delegates of the NCA. The Council continued to work to improve chiropractic education, merging weaker institutions with other institutions to create stronger academic programs. Many substandard institutions were closed, and by 1961, the original 37 chiropractic schools were reduced to ten.

In 1964, the NCA merged with other groups to form the present 'American Chiropractic Association' and continued to support the Council on Education, which in 1971 became the CCE-USA, a separate and autonomous national organization. The CCE-USA was listed as a 'Nationally Recognized Accrediting Agency' by the US Commissioner of Education in 1974, and has kept that status since. In 1975, the CCE was accepted as a member of the 'Council of Specialized Accrediting Agencies'. It was recognized by the 'Council on Postsecondary Accreditation' from 1978 through 1992; in 1992, the CCE was granted continued recognition by the 'Council on Recognition of Postsecondary Education' (from 1992 to 2002), and is now recognized by the successor, the 'Council for Higher Education Accreditation'.

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