In the typical chiropractic office, the better question is “What doesn’t a chiropractic assistant do?” The answer is that they don’t diagnose or treat patients, but they are involved in many other aspects of patient care, scheduling and billing. The job demands depend on the particular practice, but chiropractic assistants are a combination of medical and office worker. They perform tasks found in any office, such as answering phones and replying to emails, sorting mail, tracking and ordering office supplies, maintaining calendars and making photocopies. Chiropractic assistants spend a fair amount of their time on the computer doing office work, and perhaps checking and updating their company’s social media sites. If you have basic administrative skills and are looking for a more rewarding and challenging work environment in the medical field, becoming a chiropractic assistant is a good choice.
On the medical side, chiropractic assistants work with patients in routine functions such as sign-in and obtaining insurance information, as well as more “hands-on” work. This may include taking X-rays, explaining certain procedures to patients and any necessary preparation, take vital signs and maintain medical records. That means they must learn basic medical terminology as well as how the insurance billing and payment process works. Other practical tasks may include the laundering of patient gowns, towels and other fabrics used regularly in the practice. Experienced chiropractic assistants will oversee the work of newer chiropractic assistants in the practice. While every chiropractic assistant functions to some degree as a liaison between patients and the chiropractic, most will also serve as liaison between the chiropractor and insurance companies, computer and software tech advisors, state licensing boards and other entities. The chiropractic assistant is a customer service representative par excellence.
Skills Necessary for a Chiropractic Assistant
While a person may obtain many of the skills necessary for becoming a chiropractic assistant through chiropractic assistant training, a potential chiropractic assistant should have some inherent skill sets and personality traits to ensure the job is a good fit. Since dealing with the public is a major part of the job, the chiropractic assistant should like people and communicate well. Good skills include the ability to stay calm under pressure, such as when a patient has some type of complaint, whether justified or not. Chiropractic assistants must possess the finesse needed when dealing with a patient with a delinquent account or other unpleasant situations.
Because a chiropractic assistant runs the office, attention to detail is paramount. Even though chiropractic software now performs many of the tasks formerly delegated to office workers, it is still essential for the chiropractic assistant to keep office records in good order and make sure all issues are attended to in a timely manner. In short, those with poor interpersonal skills or sloppy work habits are not candidates for a chiropractic assistant position
Chiropractic Assistant Training
How to become a chiropractic assistant? Fortunately, finding chiropractic assistant training classes is not difficult. Courses for chiropractic assistant training are usually offered by community colleges or medical assistant training facilities. Online courses are also available for chiropractic assistant training. The advantage of online training is that you can study at your own pace and on your own schedule. By getting your education online, you can choose from a wide variety of schools, not just those within driving distance. However, before enrolling in online classes, determine whether the certification you receive is accepted in your state or the state in which you plan to work.
Your coursework will include an introduction to chiropractic, so you are familiar with its basic philosophy and procedures. Responsibilities of the chiropractic assistant include:
- Patient scheduling
- Patient communication
- Obtaining patient history
- Recording vital signs
- Maintaining medical records
- SOAP notes
- Billing and coding
- Recognizing emergencies
- Biohazard procedures
- Chiropractic ethics
- Familiarity with commonly treated disorders and diseases
- Therapeutic modalities
- X-ray processing and protection
Students will also receive training in Medicare and Medicaid regulations, private and commercial insurance, HIPAA compliance, worker’s compensation claims, personal injury claims, documentation principles, and other facets of a typical chiropractic office.
Chiropractic Assistant Certification
Chiropractic assistants do not generally require certification in order to work, but most employers prefer their employees to hold their chiropractic assistant certification. The Federation of Chiropractic Licensing Boards (FCLB), in conjunction with the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners, offers a certified chiropractic clinical assistant program. Candidates can apply online with the FCLB. Candidates may be required to submit a criminal background check. A past felony conviction is not an automatic disqualifier, as the FCLB reviews each application on a case-by-case basis.
Those meeting the FCLB requirements receive the designation of certified clinical chiropractic assistant, or “Triple CA” as it’s known in the business. It is literally a badge of honor since those making the grade can wear such an identifier while on the job.
FCLB certification is available to those who have completed at least 24 hours of a recognized chiropractic assistant course or who have at least 2,000 hours (just under three months) of work experience in a chiropractic setting. Candidates must pass an online exam for certification. For the first year’s renewal, a person must have 300 hours of supervised clinical experience. After that, renewal every two years requires a minimum of six hours of continuing education during that time period.
Keep in mind that different states have different requirements and terminology for chiropractic assistants. In Florida, for example, registered chiropractic assistants are those who perform administrative tasks and work under the direct supervision of a licensed chiropractor. A certified chiropractic physician’s assistant requires two years of education and performs certain tasks generally done by chiropractors, working under indirect supervision. They cannot perform adjustments or give treatment advice.
Chiropractic Assistant Licensing
In some states, chiropractic assistants do require licensing. Licensing requirements are created and regulated by the state’s chiropractic board. New Jersey and Oregon are among the states where licensing is required. Check a state’s chiropractic board’s website for chiropractic assistant requirements, including required continuing education.
ChiroTouch and Chiropractic Assistants
Other than chiropractors themselves, no one appreciates ChiroTouch’s chiropractic software system more than chiropractic assistants. ChiroTouch provides the right tools for a practice to run smoothly and makes a chiropractic assistant’s job easier. The software is intuitive, making learning a snap. Our mobile apps mean you are not confined to working in the office, allowing you to work at home when necessary. With the CA Provider Mobile app, you can view patient files and perform other routine tasks while away from your desk. As a chiropractic assistant, you want to work with state-of-the art technology to avoid dealing with physical paperwork and the filing it entails. You’ll find your job skills are enhanced and your workflow is more efficient when you are partnered with ChiroTouch.