Chiropractors diagnose and treat musculoskeletal conditions using physical manipulation of the spine, back and neck. A desire for a health-related job that involves physical treatment and a willingness to commit seven to eight years to school to earn a doctor of chiropractic degree are key requirements. Many chiropractors are self-employed and experience a number of advantages in their jobs.
Chiropractors typically earn above average incomes. In 2010, the median annual salary for all chiropractors was $67,200, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Your earning potential is often higher if you are self-employed or work in communities with substantial populations of middle- and upper-income earners. The bureau also noted that Tennessee, Delaware and North Carolina are among the states with the highest income rates for chiropractors.
Once taboo, chiropractic care has become more universally accepted in the medical profession. Doctors commonly refer patients to chiropractors to deal with back and neck pain, according to an August 2010 article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. While some doctors are still skeptical, more stringent educational requirements and more established treatment processes have given chiropractors greater overall credibility with both doctors and patients. The article also noted that physicians and surgeons generally believe chiropractors offer a legitimate alternative -- or supplement -- to the more traditional treatments of drugs and surgery.
Medical acceptance combined with increased patient interest in receiving chiropractic treatment has led to huge demand for chiropractors. The bureau projected a growth rate of 28 percent in jobs from 2010 to 2020. This not only offers job security once you achieve the necessary education, but it also offers flexibility in the nature of employment. You can set up an independent practice in a small community or become part of a group practice in a larger city.
Chiropractors typically experience a great sense of value in the care they provide patients. Often, patients come to them as a last-ditch effort to deal with chronic symptoms and unbearable or nagging pain. Headaches, fibromyalgia and various types of back pain are among the common ailments that people come to get treated. The ability to take a patient suffering with severe back pain and help her feel relief and freedom of movement can be a very satisfying experience.
2016 Salary Information for Chiropractors
Chiropractors earned a median annual salary of $67,520 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, chiropractors earned a 25th percentile salary of $47,460, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $96,770, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 47,400 people were employed in the U.S. as chiropractors.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Chiropractors
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2009: Chiropractors
- St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Chiropractors Gain More Acceptance
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Chiropractors
- Career Trend: Chiropractors
Neil Kokemuller has been an active business, finance and education writer and content media website developer since 2007. He has been a college marketing professor since 2004. Kokemuller has additional professional experience in marketing, retail and small business. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Iowa State University.