What is the GCC's
role in relation to education and training?
The GCC promotes high standards of chiropractic education and training to ensure that students, upon graduation, can meet the requirements of the GCC's Code of Practice and Standard of Proficiency. The Code and Standard set out for patients the quality of care they are entitled to receive from chiropractors. For chiropractors they are the benchmarks of conduct and practice.
We regulate the education and training that an individual has to undertake to be eligible to apply for registration as a chiropractor. We also set the requirements for the Continuing Professional Development that registered chiropractors must undertake.
We do not currently recognise any specialisms in chiropractic nor any related specialist education and training.
It is illegal in the UK for anyone to describe themselves as a chiropractor, or to imply that they're a chiropractor, if they are not GCC registered.
What do chiropractors do?
Chiropractic is concerned with the framework of bones and muscles that support the body (the musculoskeletal system). Some problems of the musculoskeletal system can be caused by accidents, stress, lack of exercise, poor posture, illness and everyday wear and tear.
The standards that the GCC has set out in its Coode of Practice and Standard of Proficiency apply to all chiropractors practising in the UK whatever:
The standards that GCC has set out its Code Practice and Standard of Proficiency apply to all chiropractors practising in the UK whatever:
their employment status (that is, whether they run their own clinic, work in a partnership, work as an associate or an employee, or work as a locum)
the environment in which they practise (that is, whether they provide chiropractic services to a local community, to the NHS, work as part of a multidisciplinary team, act as a sports team advisor or coach, or work in public health
Almost all chiropractors in the UK are in private practice. Nearly all chiropractors are self-employed; very few are employees.
Patients usually refer themselves to chiropractors (called 'self-referral'). Chiropractors take a full clinical history and examine patients by sight and by touch, carrying out a thorough physical examination. This includes neurological and orthopaedic tests if needed.
A chiropractor's first concern is to find out what is wrong. They will also check for signs of any serious conditions for which a patient would need to go to their GP or to a hospital.
Chiropractic has an emphasis on manual treatments, involving precise handling or moving of parts of the body. Chiropractic is a physically and mentally demanding profession.
How can I become a chiropractor?
To be eligible for GCC registration, UK graduates must have successfully completed a university degree programme recognised by the GCC. Chiropractic students in the UK typically study for four years to gain their chiropractic degree.
During their degree course students must meet set standards (known as programme outcomes) for the following areas of knowledge and skill:
those that form the basis of chiropractic including: history, theory and principles of chiropractic; normal and abnormal structure and functioning of the human body; and the range of presenting conditions
research and evaluation
communication with patients and other healthcare professionals
independent primary healthcare practice
professional accountability and the protection of patients
Further detailed information about programme outcomes, and other aspects of chiropractic degree programmes can be found in our Degree Recognition Criteria.
A degree course to prepare individuals to practise as a chiropractor must:
be at the minimum at the level of an honours degree or integrated masters degree validated by a UK-recognised higher education institution
have a minimum credit rating of 480 UK credits (240 ECTS credits) of which a minimum of 120 credits must be at level 6 of the Higher Education Qualifications Framework in England, Wales and Northern Ireland or its equivalent. At least 360 UK credits (180 ECTS credits) must be directed study relevant to the programme outcomes.
The GCC promotes equality of opportunity and quality assures the provision of chiropractic education in relation to this. We have produced a booklet for people with a disability or a health condition who are interested in becoming a chiropractor - Becoming a chiropractor: A Guide for Disabled People.
The institutions that offer chiropractic degree programmes can be found at Institutions offering recognised chiropractic degrees. We welcome submissions from potential new providers of degrees in chiropractic.
Does completing a chiropractic degree programme mean that I will be registered as a chiropractor?
Successfully completing a recognised degree programme does not guarantee that someone will become registered as a chiropractor. It shows us that the applicant has met the degree programme outcomes and so is eligible to apply for registration.
When someone first applies to register with us, they must satisfy the Registrar that they have a GCC recognised chiropractic degree. Applicants for registration must also:
declare any criminal convictions or cautions, no matter when or where in the world the offences were committed
provide a report from their GP confirming they are in good health, physically and mentally
give details of registration with other regulatory bodies or associations in the UK or elsewhere, and about any disciplinary action taken against them by such a body
give information about any allegations of professional negligence considered by a civil court
provide proof of professional indemnity insurance
provide a birth certificate and proof of any change of name since then (for example, a marriage certificate)
provide a character reference
When the GCC grants registration to an applicant, this means that they have met the legal requirements for GCC registration. It does not guarantee a job or position within a chiropractic practice.
How does the GCC
The GCC decides which programmes meet its Degree Recognition Criteria.
The Council agreed the current Degree Recognition Criteria, 12 May 2010 following consultation with UK providers of chiropractic education and other stakeholders and analysis of other information. This included comparing the content of the GCC degree criteria with those of other worldwide chiropractic jurisdictions.
The Criteria are reviewed every five years and are designed to ensure that graduates meet the requirements of the GCC's Code of Practice and Standard of Proficiency for the Competent and Safe Practice of Chiropractic.
The Degree Recognition Criteria contain requirements about:
the level and nature of the degree programme
the outcomes that students need to achieve
the nature of the clinical experience and practice that students need to have before they can qualify with a chiropractic degree
The criteria also place requirements on the education institutions that provide the degrees for:
the quality of the education
the management of the institution
the resources available to support students and the programme as a whole
The GCC checks whether institutions have met these requirements through quality assurance. This includes visiting institutions that wish to offer chiropractic degrees to ensure that the proposed programme meets our standards. When the GCC's Council is satisfied that a degree programme meets its Degree Recognition Criteria, the final step in the process is that the Privy Council must give its formal approval for the degree to be recognised for the purposes of the Chiropractors Act 1994.
Once we have recognised a chiropractic degree programme, institutions are required to submit annual reports so that we can monitor student progress in the programme and any other changes that have taken place following recognition. If problems arise that cannot be rectified, then (subject to the approval of the Privy Council), the GCC can remove recognition. The full recognition process is repeated every five years.
As well as the Degree Recognition Criteria, we also publish further advice and guidance for institutions that offer recognised chiropractic degree programmes. This includes:
Becoming a chiropractor - A guide for disabled people (December 2010) - this booklet is designed primarily for individuals who are thinking of becoming a chiropractor, but it also contains information for someone working on a recognised chiropractic degree programme, such as admissions staff, academic and clinical staff, and disability support staff
Supervision and delegation in chiropractic undergraduate education: where does the responsibility lie if complaints are made? (May 2010) - this advice note looks at delegation in chiropractic undergraduate education and explains where responsibility lies with different possible forms of complaint and to whom a complaint is made
offer recognised chiropractic degrees?
The GCC has recognised Masters in Chiropractic (MChiro) from the following UK institutions. The links take you to the institutions' websites so that you can find further information on the degree courses concerned.
The McTimoney College of Chiropractic (MCC)
1 Kimber Road
Tel: 01235 468575
Fax: 01235 523576
University of South Wales Welsh Institute of Chiropractic
Tel: 01443 483555
Fax: 01443 483756
The outcomes of our recognition visits can be found below.
AECC Master of Science (Chiropractic)(MScChiro) for students graduating between 2016 and 2021 - view Recognition Visit Report
AECC Master of Chiropractic (MChiro) for students graduating between 2013-2017 - view Recognition Visit Report
MCC Master of Chiropractic (MChiro) for students graduating between 2011-2016 on the 5 year programme and between 2013-2016 on the 4 year programme - view Recognition Visit Report
University of Glamorgan Master of Chiropractic (MChiro) for students graduating between 2009-2014 - view Recognition Visit Report