Chiropractor Salary

How much can chiropractors make?

Not only are chiropractors becoming more popular as the holistic health movement gains traction, but as the population ages quickly, chiropractors will be in demand.

Although the demand is there, patients’ ability to pay is a big factor in a chiropractor’s success. Chiropractic services are covered by more insurance companies, but there are often stipulations in how much treatment a patient can receive before they have to pay out of pocket.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, chiropractors earn a median annual salary of $66,720.

Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors. Plus, as you gain more years of experience, you’ll be able to demand a higher salary.

Don’t be shocked if you’re not earning a big salary right out of school.

The BLS says the lowest 10 percent of chiropractors earn less than $31,400. But, if you’re good at marketing yourself, you may do well in a solo or group practice. Building a strong clientele can help secure a steady and healthy salary, but it takes time and plenty of networking.

Having a specialization can also increase your earning potential. If you’re an expert in a certain medical area, such as orthopedics, you may be able to charge a higher fee for your expertise. Another aspect is geographical location. Where you practice can make a difference.

How do chiropractor salaries compare?

Natural Health Career Median Annual Salary*
Massage Therapist $37,180
Physical Therapist $82,390
Podiatrist $120,700
Occupational Therapist $78,810

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition; Chiropractors; Massage Therapists; Physical Therapists; Podiatrist; Occupational Therapists.
*The salary information listed is based on a national average, unless noted. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors. National long-term projections of employment growth may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth.

Is there demand for this career?

Between the popularity in holistic medicine and an aging population, chiropractors will be needed to satisfy this demand. The baby boomer generation is getting older and with that comes a higher chance of joint and musculoskeletal issues. But chiropractors are needed across the board from sports injuries to pediatrics making this a much-needed career.

Is chiropractic medicine a growing field?

According to the BLS, employment for chiropractors is expected to grow by 17 percent through the year 2024, which is faster than average for all occupations. However, it is important to be aware that national long-term projections of employment growth may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions.

How much competition will I face for a job?

Since so many chiropractors are self-employed, you’ll need to ask yourself questions such as, “Will I be one of only a few private practices in your city or town or are there many?”

One way to edge out competition is flexible hours. If you’re willing to accommodate patients by working evenings or weekends, you may be a more desirable option. Networking and good marketing are other ways to remedy some of the competition issues.

Partnering with a medical doctor can help as you refer patients to each other.

What kind of institutions hire chiropractors?

The majority of chiropractors are self-employed, but hospitals, group practices, dentist offices and colleges and universities are all potential work settings.

If you’re not comfortable going out on your own right after graduating, consider working in a group practice or hospital where you can continue to learn from others and gain the confidence to eventually run your own business.

How do I advance in my chiropractic career?

Since chiropractors have to earn the highest degree to practice, beefing up their educational background to advance is less of an option. The good news is chiropractors have the option to become their own boss and run a private practice. While it’s a lot of responsibility, chiropractors who build up a good patient base can enjoy a stable career working in medicine.

If you choose to work in a group practice, you might consider working toward becoming a partner, while a hospital setting allows you the chance to move your way up the ladder.

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