Chiropractic Assistant Training
Professional chiropractic assistants have a unique outlook on life which is peculiar to their profession. They must be excited about their work. They are sometimes allowed to prepare patients and assist in some treatments under the close supervision of a chiropractor. Being a chiropractic assistant though, requires much more than technical aptitude. It is vital that chiropractic assistants maintain their own mental, physical and spiritual well being to be able to serve as a good example to patients. Above all they must understand and accept the principles of holistic medicine and be able to explain them to patients.
Philosophy of Chiropractic Medicine
Chiropractic Assistants must learn the holistic philosophy of medicine as it applies to chiropractic practice. This viewpoint is quite different than clinical medicine. Holistic medicine treats the patient as a whole being, not just a diseased, broken or injured body to be repaired. It focuses on wellness by strengthening immunity and balancing the subtle energies of the body. Chiropractic practitioners help the client build mental, physical and spiritual health. Far more than the mere absence of disease, health is a state in which immunity is heightened, the sum of the body is operating in concert with its environment and the balance between body, mind and spirit is optimal.
Respect for the Field
Respect for the Chiropractic field of medicine is integral to training. Doctors of Chiropractic Medicine have an equal education to medical doctors. This education however, differs in philosophy, perception and goals from the education of an MD. Their assistants must learn the history of chiropractic medicine and its parallels in various parts of the world. They must learn the effectiveness of various holistic treatments and be able to explain just how chiropractic treatment varies from other forms of treatment.
Chiropractic Assistant Training Develops a Variety of Skills
- Vocabulary and Speech – Assistants of chiropractors must learn a mix of medical, radiological, anatomical and chiropractic vocabulary. The vocabulary of chiropractic medicine varies from traditional medicine in many ways but some terms are the same. There is a certain flavor to the language of chiropractics and other forms of holistic medicine. Chiropractic vocabulary tends to be more positive and aimed more towards good health and wellness. Chiropractic vocabulary must at all times reflect a holistic point of view.
- Anatomy – An understanding of anatomy is a crucial part of training for any chiropractic assistant. There is a focus on the musculoskeletal system and the nervous system combined with an understanding that these systems deeply influence all the other systems of the body.
- Office Skills and Practices – Assistants are often required to transcribe doctor’s notes, file insurance and keep good patient records. Filing for various types of insurance can be challenging for the chiropractic assistant. Training includes filling out many different types of forms, record keeping and the basics all office assistants need to know and placing them in the context of a chiropractic practice. In addition, training includes an understanding of all the laws governing the treatment of patients in a chiropractic office.
- Managing Potential Bio-hazards – Like all medical assistants, chiropractic assistants must learn how to prevent risks to themselves and their clients from blood, saliva and the potential spread of disease. Proper methods of biohazard waste containment and disposal to prevent potential infection is an important part of training.
- The use of Radiological Equipment – X-ray is a common practice prior to most chiropractic treatments. Assistants must understand the use of radiological equipment and materials. They must also learn how to protect clients and themselves during the use of radiological equipment.
Salary and Job Outlook
The demand for chiropractic assistants is on the rise. The Bureau of Labor Survey reports increasing opportunities in this field. Salary varies from $8 to $16 per hour. Salary is dependent on degree of education, geographic location and the specific duties assigned. The exact duties of chiropractic assistants also vary greatly. Some assistants are responsible for clerical work almost exclusively, while other assistants get more hands on experience with the patients. Since assistants work directly under a chiropractor it is at his discretion exactly what duties assistants are assigned. It is also possible to use the position to learn more about chiropractic and holistic medicine before obtaining more education in the field. Chiropractic assistants often go on to become Chiropractors, massage therapists and physical therapists.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Chiropractic assistants are trained in maintaining their own health and well being. They learn about healthy lifestyles, attitudes and practices. When they start their jobs as assistants, their employers teach them even more about holistic practices and attitudes. Most chiropractic assistants receive free chiropractic care from their employers who seek to keep their staff healthy as a good example to their clients. Working as a chiropractic assistant can improve vigor, increase agility and boost immunity leading to a longer and healthier life.