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Chiropractor Job Description: What You’ll Do

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Chiropractic medicine is a popular natural health degree choice. Read all about the job.

Chiropractors fall under the holistic medicine umbrella because their treatments are natural and focus on overall health. Their philosophy is that spinal misalignment can negatively affect the musculoskeletal system, leaving people more susceptible to disease and illness.

Chiropractors don’t perform surgery or prescribe drugs, but they will refer patients to a specialist if necessary. However, they work with patients on their overall lifestyle, providing guidance on exercise, nutrition and sleeping habits.

As a chiropractor, you’ll promote a holistic health approach. If you’re a good listener, compassionate and have an interest in natural healing, a career as a chiropractor could be right for you.

What Does a Chiropractor Do?

While their job is to manually re-align the spine and adjust other joints, chiropractors may also use tools such as straps, shoe inserts and braces to help patients with their pain.

Like other medical professions, chiropractors can also work in specialized areas like sport injuries, internal disorders, orthopedics and pediatrics. Regardless of the specialty, the role of a chiropractor is to provide a natural form of pain relief.

On the job chiropractors perform these duties:

  • Focus on the connection between the nervous system and spinal column
  • Evaluate a patient’s condition based on their symptoms and medical history
  • Examine spine and posture
  • Diagnose and treat by manual re-aligning the spine and adjusting joints
  • Run tests or take x-rays
  • Use heat, cold, massage therapy and other methods to treat patients

If you’re considering one day running a solo practice, your job duties will expand to include administrative work and building and administering to a clientele.

What Does a Chiropractor Earn?

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Avg Annual Salary


Projected job growth: 7%

Average salary information is calculated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and is based on the 2019 payroll records of business establishments. Actual salaries vary greatly depending on your location, level of education, years of experience, work environment, and many other factors. Please note that salaries may differ even more for those who are self-employed or work part time.

What education or certification will I need to become a chiropractor?

In order to practice, you’ll need a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) degree which usually takes about four years to complete. To enroll in a DC degree program, students need three years of undergraduate study, but many schools recommend earning a four-year bachelor’s degree.

Chiropractors interested in working in a specialized area, such as sports injuries, might also consider earning a master’s degree in a related health or science field.

To work as a chiropractor in any of the 50 states or the District of Columbia, you’ll need to be licensed and hold a DC degree from an accredited school. All jurisdictions require aspiring chiropractors to pass their own exam, the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners test or both.

Always check with your state to find out exact requirements to become licensed.

What career paths can I take as a chiropractor?

Chiropractors can choose from a wide range of career paths. The majority of chiropractors in the U.S. work in a solo or group practice. Some find jobs in other medical settings such as hospitals and doctors’ offices, while a small group chooses to teach.

Learn about pay and salary projections for chiropractors.

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