National Board of Chiropractic Examiners

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The National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE) is a non-profit national and international testing organization for the chiropractic profession; its headquarters is in Greeley, CO. The Board develops, administers, analyzes, scores, and reports results from various examinations. Examinations are offered twice a year (in the USA) to students of schools accredited by the CCE. It was established in 1963 to standardize the licensing requirements, rather than each state having its own requirements.


The NBCE sets written and practical examinations that are administered at chiropractic colleges in the USA, Canada, France, and Australia. The NBCE does not promote a particular philosophy but "formulates test plans according to information provided collectively by the chiropractic colleges, the state licensing agencies, field practitioners, subject specialists, and a Job Analysis of Chiropractic."

There are four primary tests for students: [1]
  • Part I covers six basic science subjects – general anatomy, spinal anatomy, physiology, chemistry, pathology, and microbiology and public health.
  • Part II covers six clinical subjects – general diagnosis, neuromusculoskeletal diagnosis, diagnostic imaging, principles of chiropractic, chiropractic practice, and associated clinical sciences.
  • Part III covers case history, physical examination, neuromusculoskeletal examination, roentgenologic examination, clinical laboratory and special studies examination, diagnosis or clinical impression, chiropractic techniques, supportive techniques and case management.
  • Part IV covers X-ray interpretation and diagnosis, chiropractic technique, and case management skills.

Since 1963, most states have adopted the passage of parts I,II,III, and IV in lieu of their state boards, but each state typically has its own requirements that must also be met.

The NBCE also sets tests in two electives: physiotherapy and acupuncture.

After successful completion of each NBCE exam a 'Certificate of Attainment' is given, but practitioners must still meet individual state or international requirements.

There are two tests for post-licensure purposes:

  • Special Purposes Examination for Chiropractic: This test is to re-assess clinical competency and licensing eligibility in cases involving disciplinary action, reciprocity, and other state board needs.
  • NBCE Ethics and Boundaries Examination: This assesses knowledge of ethics and boundaries issues, including ethical misconduct, sexual misconduct and sexual harassment encountered in chiropractic practice.

Board of Directors

There are 11 board members in all [2]. The first five directors come from the five geographic regions of the USA. Every three years, each region votes for a member to represent them on the board. Two directors are appointed by the Federation of Chiropractic Licensing Boards, and the other four are considered "at large" and are appointed by the board to serve terms of 1-3 years. The board elects officers to fill the positions of President, Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary and Chairman of the Board.

External links


NBCE directory (PDF)