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F.A.Q. - D.C.

You probably have questions about prerequisites, curriculum, financial aid, tuition and more. We put together these frequently asked questions to provide you with some of those answers.

Please feel free to contact us at any time for more information. We look forward to seeing you at Palmer!

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Why should I choose Palmer for my education?

The short answer? Because Palmer is the trusted leader in chiropractic education. As a student, you’ll experience excellence in teaching and real-world chiropractic preparation while you earn the prestigious Palmer degree. Most importantly, you’ll receive a great value for the cost of education.

Whether you’re enrolling in our Doctor of Chiropractic program or pursuing one of our other degrees, you’ll experience an academic program that blends theory with hands-on practice, delivered by faculty who are recognized as the best in the profession and care about the success of their students. Plus, Palmer is home to the world’s leading chiropractic research program. The question really is, why wouldn't you choose Palmer?

How long is the Doctor of Chiropractic program?

Students attend classes on a year-round basis and complete their studies in three and one-third years. The program is 10 trimesters long on the Davenport campus. The programs at the West campus, in San Jose, Calif., and the Florida campus, in Port Orange, Fla., are 13 quarters in length. Learn more about our academic programs.

How much is tuition?

Tuition costs average $34,600 per year. Learn more about tuition and cost of attendance.

Is there a fee to apply?

Yes, there is usually a $100 non-refundable application fee, but we are able to waive that fee for some applicants. Please contact your admissions counselor for more details.

When do classes start?

Our Davenport campus enrolls students in March, July and November. Our West and Florida campuses enroll students in January, April, July and October. You can explore each campus by taking part in our campus visit program (you may even qualify for a travel reimbursement). Experience it for yourself and visit campus today.

Where can I meet with an Admissions counselor?

Palmer Admissions counselors meet with students at each of the Palmer campuses and at off-site events throughout the year. Learn more about campus visits and events.

Do I need an undergraduate degree? And, if I do, what should I major in?

Although it isn't an official educational requirement for admission (except on the Florida campus), we recommend students complete a bachelor’s degree prior to entering the Doctor of Chiropractic program. That's because some individual state licensing boards require a degree in order to practice. Applicants with a bachelor's degree are awarded priority seating at our Florida campus, as a bachelor's degree is required to graduate from the Doctor of Chiropractic program on that campus.

Despite this, a specific major isn't required. Many of our students choose pre-health, biology, chemistry or pre-med as their majors, but Palmer students also come with backgrounds as varied as business, English and even history.

Where should I go to prepare for Palmer? Can I take undergraduate courses at Palmer?

You may qualify to save up to a year’s worth of time and tuition. 

On Palmer’s Main campus, the Department of Undergraduate Studies offers a Bachelor of Science Completion degree in General Science to aid D.C. applicants in completing prerequisites and prepare them for the Doctor of Chiropractic program.  Some states require the completion of a bachelor’s degree before a Doctor of Chiropractic can be licensed.  Current D.C. students also, therefore, utilize this program to complete their bachelor’s degree if they have not already done so.  Most classes are upper level, three credit hours each, and start in mid-afternoon to mesh with D.C. class schedules.  All courses are offered on Palmer’s trimester schedule.

This program also offers science prerequisites such as Anatomy & Physiology and Chemistry to meet the needs of incoming students lacking science prerequisites.

Palmer also has joint admissions programs and educational agreements with dozens of schools around the nation, which could save you time and money. But you can attend any accredited college of your choice in preparation for Palmer College.

We encourage you to contact an admissions counselor to discuss your plans. Based upon your individual situation, your representative will be able to counsel you one-on-one and provide the best information.

Palmer has three campuses-which one is right for me?

The College's main campus is located in Davenport, Iowa. The branch campuses are Palmer College of Chiropractic Florida, located in Port Orange, Fla., and Palmer College of Chiropractic West, located in San Jose, Calif.

Each Palmer campus features the three phases of our curriculum:

  1. Basic sciences: Anatomy, Embryology, Pathology, Physiology, etc.
  2. Clinical sciences: Radiology, Technique, Diagnosis
  3. Outpatient clinics, business management and professional development curriculum

All three Palmer campuses are very welcoming and offer early hands-on activity within the curriculum, whether it be taking a patient history and observing in the clinic setting, studying anatomy through cadaver dissection or learning palpation and adjusting techniques.

The curriculum delivery at both Palmer's Davenport and West campuses is through lecture and lab-based courses. Both campuses have sectioned labs for a more hands-on approach and greater access to the instructors.

Palmer's Florida campus has curriculum mastery courses set up in tracks, which focus on specific areas of instruction and are linked by common subject matter.

Palmer's Davenport campus

The Davenport campus is the founding location of the profession. It's comprised of 14 major buildings, occupying seven city blocks and is the largest of the three Palmer campuses. These buildings contain classrooms, a new, modern athletic and recreation center, the Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research (the largest in the world), an extensive sports chiropractic and rehabilitation facility, the David D. Palmer Health Sciences Library, the Palmer Center for Business Development and the Academic Health Center. There's a close-knit feel on this campus, and it tends to draw students with families, as well as those drawn to the profession by chiropractic philosophy.

Palmer's West campus

Palmer's West campus occupies one building on the west side of multi-cultural San Jose. It’s been retrofitted specifically for convenient access to all classrooms, laboratories, library, fitness center and the outpatient clinic. The campus is located in the heart of Silicon Valley and is known for its excellent Sports Council student organization. The West campus has a strong focus on chiropractic research.

Palmer's Florida campus

Palmer's Florida campus is located in the heart of Port Orange. The campus consists of three buildings designed to specifically serve chiropractic students with the most up-to-date technology available. The Florida campus offers an integrated learning system. Many students who attend this campus are drawn to sports chiropractic, nutrition and pediatrics.

While each Palmer campus has its own personality, you're going to get a top-notch chiropractic education at whichever Palmer College campus you choose.

Is financial aid available?

Yes. The primary source of aid available for chiropractic students is in the form of student-loan programs, but Palmer also offers grants and employment opportunities through the U.S. Department of Education, state-specific grants and scholarships.

Don't just look at the price tag. Chiropractic school is an investment in your future, and Palmer's cost-of-attendance is competitively priced. Plus, Palmer has one of the lowest federal student loan default rates among all colleges and universities in the nation—not just chiropractic institutions—which means Palmer alumni are experiencing success and are able to pay back their student loans.

I am a U.S. veteran. What does Palmer provide for vets?

Palmer is a full participant in the Yellow Ribbon GI Education Enhancement Program, offering one year of full tuition to eligible veterans. See our Veterans Handbook provides complete information.

What is the average class size?

On our Davenport campus the average class (a cohort of students that start their training together) ranges from 100 to 200 students, depending on the time of year the class begins. Classes at Palmer’s West campus range between 20 and 50 students. At our Florida campus, classes range between 30 and 80 students. On average the student/faculty ration at Palmer is 15-1.

What is the curriculum like?

The Palmer D.C. curriculum includes extensive coursework in the basic sciences, chiropractic technique, chiropractic philosophy and business management. In addition, Palmer College provides preceptorship and internship programs, as well as other specialized programs in sports, pediatrics and other fields to help you gain hands-on experience caring for patients.

Palmer's Academic Success and Wellness is dedicated to promoting the welfare and success of all Palmer students by providing a number of academic support services like tutoring, study strategy sessions, academic advising and wellness support. Both on-site and on-line resources are available to support your academic success.

How difficult is the D.C. program?

The D.C. program is an intense, graduate-level, first-professional program. Students learn from supportive faculty who are committed to the success of their students. Students also have access to academic counseling, study groups and tutoring. Palmer is sensitive to the academic needs of students and works with all students who request assistance.

Is Palmer accredited?

Yes. Palmer's D.C. program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of the Council on Chiropractic Education (CCE).Palmer is also institutionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Both the CCE and HLC are accrediting bodies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

How much money do chiropractors make right out of school?

Incomes of recent graduates vary tremendously as a result of the varied choices available to them. The Bureau of Labor Statistics website has more information on chiropractors' salaries.

Will I need a bachelor's degree in addition to my D.C. degree to practice?

Some states require doctors of chiropractic to prove they hold a bachelor’s degree for licensure. Be sure to check with the licensing body or bodies in the state or states where you plan to practice to ensure you understand their requirements. The Federation of Chiropractic Licensing Boards maintains a directory of the licensure requirements for each state and certain countries.

Does Palmer offer career services?

Yes! Your success after graduation is a reflection of how well Palmer prepared you for your future. That's why only Palmer College offers students and graduates complimentary business training and career networking services through the Palmer Center for Business Development (PCBD).

Through the PCBD, students can build their resume, practice interviewing, attend business training events, research practice locations and even get help developing a business plan. Plus, the Palmer CareerNetwork helps students and graduates find job openings, associate opportunities, and practices and equipment for sale.

Palmer is committed to helping students and graduates achieve their professional goals.

Once I complete the program, can I practice anywhere I want?

Every U.S state and territory, as well as many foreign countries have licensing boards that require applicants to pass individual state board exams.

In the U.S. there are four sections of National Board exams. Many states require a passing score on these exams to obtain a license to practice. In addition, some states, including Florida, require a background check prior to licensure. (Palmer College also requires a background check as part of its admission process. Complete information about this process can be found in our catalog.)

We strongly encourage you to visit the Federation of Chiropractic Licensing Boards' website,, which provides specific information about licensure requirements based upon the area in which one wishes to practice. Understanding these requirements before you begin on your path to a chiropractic career is a very good idea.

I'm interested in becoming a chiropractor, and I'm interested in attending Palmer. What's my next step?

We recommend three things:

  1. Email an Admissions counselor at our Davenport campus, West campus or Florida campus so we can put you in touch with a Palmer graduate in your area. Visit with a Palmer doctor of chiropractic and find out what being a chiropractor is really like.
  2. Visit campus. Each campus has a fantastic campus visit program (and see if you qualify for a travel reimbursement), which has been called one of the best in the nation by a major enrollment management service.
  3. Connect with one of our admissions counselors and get your specific questions answered.

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