According to the National Institutes of Health, a chiropractor’s main focus is making adjustments to the spine or other parts of the body that will correct alignment issues and encourage the body's self-healing capabilities. Many chiropractors are individual or group practitioners who may also be responsible for administrative duties. People commonly contact a chiropractor to help remedy back and neck pain, as well as headaches.
Chiropractic care is an alternative approach to the treatment of health problems. Chiropractors perform a hands-on therapy called spinal manipulation or adjustment. A 2007 National Health Interview Survey found approximately 18 million adults in the United States had received chiropractic or osteopathic—treatment by a fully licensed physician—manipulation in the past year.
Chiropractic practitioners in the United States are required to earn a four-year Doctor of Chiropractic degree from an accredited college.The National Board of Chiropractic Examiners gives an exam that most state boards require to be passed in order to become licensed.
Working Conditions and Duties
Chiropractors generally work in a clean and comfortable environment. They often work a typical 40-hour work week, but it’s not unusual to work additional hours. Chiropractors who take X-rays must take proper precautions against the hazards associated with repetitive exposure to radiation. In addition to spinal adjustments, a chiropractor may perform electrical stimulation treatments, provide heat and ice therapies, and give advice about rehabilitative exercise, diet, weight loss and dietary supplements.
According to a survey conducted by Chiropractic Economics magazine, the mean salary for chiropractors in 2005 was just over £67,600. A top-paid chiropractor can earn £76,700 annually, a midrange salary falls between £44,850 and £55,250, and lower-end earnings range from £26,000 to £44,850.
Self-Employed vs. Salaried
Earnings can vary substantially depending on whether a chiropractor is self-employed or salaried. While salaried chiropractors typically earn smaller incomes, they are likely to receive heath insurance and retirement benefits from their employers, whereas self-employed chiropractors must pay for both out of pocket. The average annual income for a salaried chiropractor is upwards of £39,000. The median salary for a sole practitioner is just over £52,000.
Level of Experience
Years of experience can have a big influence on the annual salary of a chiropractor. For example, the average earnings for a first-year chiropractor is around £26,000. One with 10 years experience might make more than £52,000, and a veteran chiropractor who has been in practice for at least 20 years could earn £78,000.
The geographic location of a chiropractor can have a major influence on his salary. For example, a chiropractor in San Diego could earn upwards of £78,000, while one in Minneapolis might expect to make £32,500. Some U.S. cities, including Houston and Boston, fall somewhere in the middle at around £51,350.