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NOC Code: NOC Code: 3122 Occupation: Chiropractors
Occupation Description: Occupation Description:
Chiropractors diagnose and treat patients' neuromuscular-skeletal disorders of the spine and other body joints by adjusting the spinal column or through other corrective manipulation. Chiropractors are usually in private practice or in clinics with other health practitioners. Chiropractors diagnose and treat patients' neuromuscular-skeletal disorders of the spine and other body joints by adjusting the spinal column or through other corrective manipulation. Chiropractors are usually in private practice or in clinics with other health practitioners.

  • Click on any of the Essential Skills to view sample workplace tasks for this occupation.
  • Skill levels are assigned to tasks: Level 1 tasks are the least complex and level 4 or 5 tasks (depending upon the specific skill) are the most complex. Skill levels are associated with workplace tasks and not the workers performing these tasks.
  • Scroll down the page to get information on career planning, education and training, and employment and volunteer opportunities.

Table will display the Skill Level for the Noc specified
Essential Skills Essential Skills Levels
Reading Text Reading Text 1 2 3 4
Writing Writing 1 2 3 4
Document Use Document Use 1 2 3
Computer Use Computer Use 1 2
Oral Communication Oral Communication 1 2 3
Money Math Money Math 1 2
Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting 1 2 3
Measurement and Calculation Measurement and Calculation 1 2
Data Analysis Data Analysis 1 2 3
Numerical Estimation Numerical Estimation 1 2 3
Job Task Planning and Organizing Job Task Planning and Organizing 1 2
Decision Making Decision Making 1 2 3
Problem Solving Problem Solving 1 2 3
Finding Information Finding Information 1 2 3
Critical Thinking Critical Thinking 1 2 3 4


  • The skill levels represented in the above chart illustrate the full range of sample tasks performed by experienced workers and not individuals preparing for or entering this occupation for the first time.
  • Note that some occupational profiles do not include all Numeracy and Thinking Essential Skills.

If you would like to print a copy of the chart and sample tasks, click on the "Print Occupational Profile" button at the top of the page.


Reading Text
  • Read brief referral notes from other health practitioners requesting treatment for clients. (1)
  • Review treatment notes prior to meeting with clients. Read reminders about previous problems, treatment plans and progress to date. (2)
  • Read letters from insurance companies and Workers' Compensation Boards requesting information on clients' progress and the number and cost of treatments. (2)
  • Scan memos from provincial and national chiropractic associations outlining the content of upcoming conferences and seminars. (2)
  • Read detailed reports from physicians, psychiatrists and physiotherapists that describe specialized assessments of mutual clients and offer medical opinions about further treatments. (3)
  • Read articles in peer-reviewed journals, such as the Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association, the Journal of Vertebral Subluxation, and the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics to stay current with new developments in chiropractic care. (3)
  • Refer to the Compendium of Pharmaceuticals and Specialties to determine the use, potential side effects and precautionary measures associated with clients' medications. (3)
  • Study medical texts to understand the diagnoses and treatments of unusual or rare conditions such as Larson's Syndrome. Chiropractors synthesize information from several sources and combine it with their own background knowledge when treating clients. (4)
  • Review decisions of the Canadian Chiropractic Association Disciplinary Board and provincial regulatory boards for accuracy before the official release of decisions. These multiple page reports present backgrounds to disciplinary cases and explain the decisions reached and actions taken by the board. (4)
  • Read federal and provincial legislation, acts and announcements related to the delivery and funding of health care to determine the implications for chiropractic care. (4)
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Writing
  • Jot brief notes about clinical observations, clients' concerns and the dates and durations of visits. (1)
  • Write summaries during or after all client treatment sessions. Record clients' subjective analyses of their own conditions, objective data from physical examinations and tests, actions such as adjustments performed and plans for follow-up exercises and additional treatments. This structured 'SOAP' (subjective, objective, action, plan) writing format ensures that all aspects of diagnoses and treatments are recorded. (2)
  • Write newsletter articles and information sheets for clients. Write about allergies, exercising safely, prostrate health and other topics of interest to clients. (3)
  • Write referral letters to physicians, podiatrists, physiotherapists and other health care professionals providing technical details of clients' conditions and outlining recommended treatment plans. (3)
  • Write literature reviews or articles on clinical subjects such as rehabilitation therapy or 'torque release' for publication in refereed journals. The articles may serve as evidence of continuous learning. (4)
  • Write detailed case reports outlining clients' injuries, treatments provided, results achieved and recommendations for returning to work. Chiropractors have to choose their words carefully because medical reports may be used to justify continuation of health benefit coverage or as evidence in legal proceedings. At the same time, they must communicate clearly to largely non-specialist audiences. (4)
  • Create exam questions for the Canadian Chiropractic Examining Board. Synthesize questions on topics such as kidney function and chiropractic care using content drawn from scientific journals such as The Lancet, The Spine Journal and the Journal of Manipulative & Physiological Therapeutics. Revisit college textbooks, notes and consult other chiropractors prior to developing the questions. Members of the examining board review the questions before they are accepted. (4)
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Document Use
  • Enter client names, contact data and health care coverage information in appointment schedules. (1)
  • Obtain measurement and trend data from bar graph and 'run chart' displays on diagnostic equipment. For example, scan graphs portraying the presence and severity of abnormal muscle activity or graphs of skin temperature change around an injury. (2)
  • Use anatomical drawings of the skeleton, muscles and nervous system to show clients the location of their discomfort and other anatomical features likely to be affected by vertebral subluxations. (2)
  • Enter summary data for each client visit. Use a combination of abbreviations and markings on a spine diagram to record treatment details. (2)
  • Examine radiographs to view bone abnormalities such as tumours, arthritides, degeneration and consequent changes to surrounding muscles and soft tissues and the location and nature of injuries. Radiograph results inform chiropractors' diagnoses and treatment plans. (2)
  • Enter data on client physical examination, Workers' Compensation Board and insurance company forms. Chiropractors record their examination results, diagnoses and treatment plans by circling words or abbreviations, checking appropriate boxes, marking diagrams, entering numerical data and writing short phrases. (3)
  • Review self-assessment forms to become familiar with new clients' medical histories and current health concerns. Look at checklists of medical conditions, short comments and markings on drawings that identify areas of concern for the clients. (3)
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Computer Use
  • Enter information in spreadsheets to track the number of clients, the frequency of use of particular diagnostic codes and inventories. Review the data at set intervals to determine client retention and growth, frequency of particular treatments and inventory requirements. (2)
  • Use graphics software. For example, create slide shows using presentation software such as PowerPoint. Use slide shows to educate clients and to present information to other health care professionals. (2)
  • Access bookmarked websites of chiropractic associations to view and retrieve forms, newsletters, health-related articles and information on upcoming seminars and other professional development topics. Search for information on specific conditions such as severe head and neck trauma or sports-related injuries. Search for resources using online medical journals and databases such as Medline. (2)
  • Use word processing. For example, write and format brief referral letters to other health care practitioners. Chiropractors also produce larger reports for third party agencies such as Workers' Compensation Boards and insurance companies. (2)
  • Use bookkeeping, billing and accounting software. For example, use specialized chiropractic software to record client appointments and manage billing. Balance ledger entries, reconcile transactions with bank statements and print summary reports. (2)
  • Use communications software. For example, use email to communicate with clients, colleagues and chiropractic associations. Attach newsletters or registration forms. (2)
  • Use databases. For example, use specialized information management software to enter and access client contact information and medical coverage data. (2)
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Oral Communication
  • Obtain information on clients' health care coverage by using an automated health care information system. Listen to prompts and enter appropriate numerical codes to retrieve information. (1)
  • Interact with receptionists and administrative assistants to discuss appointment scheduling and other administrative tasks. (1)
  • Present information sessions for clients and the general public on the benefits of chiropractic health care. (2)
  • Interact with clients during treatments. Question clients about their medical histories and current health to gather information that informs diagnoses and treatment plans. During treatment sessions, continually solicit comments from clients to inform and confirm the examination of their spines. By explaining the techniques used in performing adjustments, educate clients about the benefits of chiropractic care. (2)
  • Mentor other chiropractors by providing advice and building their understanding of treatment techniques and philosophies. (3)
  • Compare diagnosis and treatment information with other medical practitioners. Seek opinions on unusual or difficult cases involving mutual clients. Use precise medical terminology to describe medical conditions and treatments. (3)
  • Interact with colleagues at provincial and national seminars and conferences. Discuss adjustment techniques, new developments in the field and business practices. (3)
  • Serve as expert witnesses and provide professional opinions in legal cases. Clearly articulate facts substantiated in clients' files and use language that will be understood by people who do not have medical backgrounds. (3)
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Money Math
  • Receive payments and provide change after treatment sessions. (1)
  • Calculate travel claim amounts for business trips. Use established per kilometre and per diem rates and add amounts for registration fees, accommodation and incidentals. (2)
  • Calculate invoice amounts for chiropractic services. When preparing invoices, total treatment hours, calculate associated fees using hourly rates, add amounts for specific procedures such as radiography and apply federal and provincial taxes. Bill Workers' Compensation Boards and insurance companies on behalf of clients as appropriate. (2)
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Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting
  • Verify amount of fees collected and allocation to cash, debit card and credit card to ensure accuracy of entry and mitigate losses. (1)
  • Create daily, weekly and monthly clinic schedules. Factor in the number, duration and type of appointments and consider the care of current clients, the time required for new clients and the likelihood of emergencies. (2)
  • Complete accounting tasks associated with operating small businesses. Allocate costs to appropriate accounts, calculate payroll deductions, prepare budgets and monitor financial status. (3)
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Measurement and Calculation
  • Measure muscle and nervous system activity using diagnostic scanners. (1)
  • Measure clients' bodily range of motion, starting from the vertical position, using an inclinometer. (1)
  • Use protractors to measure alignment deviations shown on radiographs. (1)
  • Measure clients' blood pressures using a blood pressure cuff during consultations. (2)
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Data Analysis
  • Compare clients' subjective pain scale ratings over a series of visits to determine if the pain is subsiding. (1)
  • Manage inventories of treatment room supplies. Determine stocking levels, perform inventory counts and determine re-order quantities. (2)
  • Compare range of motion measurements of joints on one side of the body to the other and to normal range of motion reference values. (2)
  • Examine the surface electromyography comparison graph values, recorded at varying intervals, to identify changes in motor nerve and muscle activity. Changes in readings may indicate a need to revise treatment plans or confirm the success of current treatment plans. (2)
  • Generate weekly, monthly and yearly operational statistics for comparison and analysis. For example, track the number of client visits, 'no shows' and cancellations. (3)
  • Compare distance and rotation measurements taken from radiographs and direct measurements to norms for scoliosis diagnosis. (3)
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Numerical Estimation
  • Estimate the number of visits needed to alleviate clients' conditions based on previous assessments, present treatment plans and clients' willingness to complete their assigned exercises. (2)
  • Make frequent estimates to aid the selection of treatments. For example, estimate the number of degrees that clients can rotate their heads or the weight and repetitions needed for leg lift exercises. (2)
  • Estimate radiograph machine angles needed to capture the curvatures of clients' spines. (3)
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Job Task Planning and Organizing
  • Chiropractors determine their own working hours and schedules of client appointments. Each appointment follows a standard pattern; the variation lies in the adjustments made on each client. New client consultations are scheduled in specific blocks of time to allow more time for exploration of health histories and thorough physical examinations. They occasionally need to fit emergency cases into their schedules. Many chiropractors operate private clinics and accordingly are responsible for business planning, marketing and success. Chiropractors may participate in provincial and national committees to develop and ensure practice standards. Chiropractors organize the daily tasks of administrative assistants or receptionists who are responsible for scheduling appointments, tracking client files and receiving payment from clients. (2)
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Decision Making
  • Decide if regular clients should be charged for checkups. Occasionally, clients do not need adjustments when they come in for regular treatments. In these situations, chiropractors decide if it is appropriate to charge fees. (1)
  • Decide when to schedule follow-up appointments based on current diagnoses of clients' progress. (1)
  • Decide when to refer clients to specialists. Make this decision based on professional expertise, your ability to help clients and knowledge of what additional treatments are available. (2)
  • Decide which techniques to use to address particular problems. Choose among high speed, low force thrusts on specific areas of the spine, activators, integrators, cold or heat therapies. Select techniques that will best resolve the problems and do not increase clients' discomfort. (3)
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Problem Solving
  • You are confronted by clients who arrive late for appointments and expect immediate service. Explain that this is impossible because other clients are waiting. Reschedule the missed appointments. (1)
  • Clients are frustrated with slow rates of improvement. Chiropractors explain that clients must be active participants in the healing process and encourage them to do assigned exercises at home as described in their treatment plans. (2)
  • Determine that clients do not have sufficient money or medical coverage to treat conditions that will require multiple treatments. Contact provincial health boards and welfare departments to see if the clients are eligible for assistance or make other arrangements for payment such as instalment plans. (2)
  • You sense that new clients are not providing complete medical histories. Spend extra time asking questions to establish past histories and determine why clients are not being forthcoming. The omission of important information can lead to incorrect diagnoses and treatments. (3)
  • First-time clients may be apprehensive about chiropractic adjustments. Explore the causes of nervousness, explain the techniques that will be used, begin treatment processes at a slower rate and provide clients with informative educational brochures. (3)
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Finding Information
  • Find information about clients' medical prescriptions by talking with doctors, pharmacists and other medical professionals, by looking in the Compendium of Pharmaceuticals and Specialties and by consulting online databases. (1)
  • Find information on health conditions such as Lou Gehrig's disease in textbooks, on-line research databases and journals. (3)
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Critical Thinking
  • Evaluate the suitability of treatment plans. Consider clients' progress, willingness to follow supplemental exercise plans and availability for treatments. Identify components that can be improved to make the treatment plans more effective or more convenient for clients. (2)
  • Evaluate clients' physical health. Consider clients' descriptions of their concerns, probe for information on symptoms and histories and conduct physical examinations of clients' muscular and skeletal structures. Radiographs and surface electromyographic scans may also be examined. When you feel a well-founded diagnoses has been found, inform clients and discuss the implications of the findings. (3)
  • Judge the value and usefulness of new chiropractic techniques such as network spinal analysis. Analyze and synthesize research materials, consult colleagues and conduct trials with volunteers prior to deciding if the new techniques will be incorporated into your practice. (3)
  • Evaluate the quality and accuracy of other chiropractors' diagnostic findings and treatment plans as part of an arbitration process. As members of teams which may include kinesiologists, physiotherapists, message therapists, psychiatrists and other medical professionals, examine clients and clients' medical files to determine if there have been misdiagnoses. Assessment reports must be extremely accurate so as not to mistakenly damage the reputation of other health care practitioners. (4)
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