Chiropractors: Salary, career path, job outlook, education and more

Education Required
Prospective chiropractors are required to have a Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) degreea postgraduate professional degree that typically takes 4 years to complete. In 2017, there were 15 Doctor of Chiropractic programs on 18 campuses accredited by The Council on Chiropractic Education.
Job Outlook
The projected percent change in employment from 2016 to 2026: 10% (Faster than average)
(The average growth rate for all occupations is 7 percent.)
All states and the District of Columbia require chiropractors to be licensed. Although specific requirements vary by state, all require the completion of an accredited Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) degree program and passing all four parts of the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE) exam.
Median pay: How much do Chiropractors make?
$67,520 Annual Salary
$32.46 per hour

Chiropractors care for patients with health problems of the neuromusculoskeletal system, which includes nerves, bones, muscles, ligaments, and tendons. They use spinal adjustments and manipulation, as well as other clinical interventions, to manage patients health concerns, such as back and neck pain.

What do Chiropractors do?

Chiropractors typically do the following:

  • Assess a patients medical condition by reviewing the patients medical history and concerns, and by performing a physical examination
  • Analyze the patients posture, spine, and reflexes
  • Conduct tests, including evaluating a patients posture and taking x rays
  • Provide neuromusculoskeletal therapy, which often involves adjusting a patients spinal column and other joints
  • Give additional treatments, such as applying heat or cold to a patients injured areas
  • Advise patients on health and lifestyle issues, such as exercise, nutrition, and sleep habits
  • Refer patients to other healthcare professionals if needed

Chiropractors focus on patients overall health. Chiropractors believe that malfunctioning spinal joints and other somatic tissues interfere with a persons neuromuscular system and can result in poor health.

Some chiropractors use procedures such as massage therapy, rehabilitative exercise, and ultrasound in addition to spinal adjustments and manipulation. They also may apply supports, such as braces or shoe inserts, to treat patients and relieve pain.

In addition to operating a general chiropractic practice, some chiropractors specialize in areas such as sports, neurology, orthopedics, pediatrics, or nutrition, among others. Chiropractors in private practice are responsible for marketing their businesses, hiring staff, and keeping records.

Careers for Chiropractors

  • Chiropractic doctors
  • Chiropractic physicians

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