This is spinal prep

Dear Ace: We’ve got a medical school and a massage school, but where around here can I learn to become a chiropractor?—Crooked-Condition-in-Charlottesville

You can’t, so Ace hopes the prospect of leaving town for a spell doesn’t get you too bent out of shape. Or twisted up inside. Or feeling a pain in your neck. Meaning, he hopes the idea doesn’t send shivers down your spine.

According to the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, chiropractic licensure in all 50 states and the District of Columbia requires at least two years of undergraduate study and an additional four years of education at an accredited chiropractic college, leading to a Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) degree. The Council on Chiropractic Education (CCE), America’s national accreditation agency, recognizes 15 D.C. degree programs in 18 locations. The closest such program to Charlottesville is Sherman College of Chiropractic down in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

While the lack of proximal chiropractic educational options may be inconvenient for local aspirants to the vertebrae-fiddling elite, Ace would argue that it’s great for licensed chiropractors themselves, who probably make a killing through the treatment of lumbar strains sustained after loading encyclopedia-sized medical textbooks into a U-Haul and driving eight hours to the nearest chiropractic college. Of course, this kind of ritual is endemic to the Charlottesville narrative: “quitting” Charlottesville for New York City, or the District, or a rope-making collective in Myanmar, meanwhile schlepping everything you own to your destination—only to return with the aforementioned materials and a pained look on your face that says either, “All of my references are in Charlottesville, and nobody knows where that is,” or, “I have three slipped discs.”

If you’re not in a position to leave town, your best option for now is to access the wealth of undergraduate coursework available here. Neither UVA nor PVCC offers a defined pre-chiropractic curriculum, but you’ll be adequately qualified to pursue a D.C. with at least 90 semester hours of study in organic and inorganic chemistry, biology, physics, psychology, English, and the humanities. Which may not seem cheap, but hour-by-hour, it sure beats visiting one of Charlottesville’s roughly two-dozen chiropractic offices for a consultation and surreptitiously taking notes.

You can ask Ace yourself. Intrepid investigative reporter Ace Atkins has been chasing readers’ leads for 20 years. If you have a question for Ace, e-mail it to

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