what is a chiropractor

The Amazing Rewards of Becoming a Chiropractor

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The choice of becoming a Chiropractor is one filled with amazing rewards, but first requires you overcome a series of trials.

The rewards are found in joy, healing, and comfort you provide patients.  The trials come through the challenging education required to become a Doctor of Chiropractic medicine.

In this article we will discuss the basics of becoming a Chiropractor, the salary you can expect, and the challenges of getting started.

Before we get started with all of that, we should make sure you understand the career you are considering.

What is a Chiropractor?

A Chiropractor treats patients with musculoskeletal problems.  More specifically, a chiropractor corrects misalignments in the spinal joints which may be causing neurological issues throughout the body. 

These problems can lead to problems with general health including:

  • Weakness in legs or arms.
  • Tingling, pain, or discomfort in various body parts.
  • Headaches, including migraine headaches.
  • Backaches
  • Weakened immune system

The Chiropractor does not only focus on your spinal alignment, but your overall health.  Their training has prepared them to discuss and recommend changes in your diet, exercise, and lifestyle.

Chiropractors use a wide variety of diagnostic techniques including the use of x-rays, ultrasound, and other laboratory tests to determine your current condition.  A Chiropractor may examine you sitting, standing, and walking posture to determine possible causes of continual misalignment’s.

Becoming A Chiropractor Overview

Human Anatomy
Are Chiropractors doctors?  Yes, they are Doctors of Chiropractic Medicine.  They are not traditional medical doctors, but a Doctor who has been trained in a specialized method of care and treatment.

Are Chiropractors safe?  This is one question you will run into many times.  A Chiropractor is very safe.  They have studied and practiced their art extensively to provide an accurate diagnosis and treatment.

What is the Educational Requirement of Becoming a Chiropractor?

The education for a Chiropractor is very intense.  It begins with your undergraduate studies.  This may be as short as 2 year, or may require a full 4-year Bachelor Degree.  This is dependent on the University and the state of your studies.  It is expected a 4-year degree will become the standard requirement to enter a Chiropractic College in the near future.

While taking your undergraduate courses it is important for you to focus on classes to properly prepare you for Chiropractic College.  You should take classes in:

  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Physiology
  • Psychology
  • Kinesiology

This is just a small list of possible classes to consider.  The emphasis should be on taking science and math classes to help you achieve your goals.  You must plan on working hard during your undergraduate studies; entry into a Chiropractic school is very competitive.

Lance Armstrong - Do Chiropractors work

Your next step in educational requirements is the Chiropractic College.  There are currently 16 accredited programs in the United States.

Your studies in Chiropractic medicine will last for four years.  During the first 2 years you are laying the groundwork of your education.

You will be studying a variety of science courses, mathematics, and social sciences.  The final two year focus intensely on diagnosis and hands-on treatment.

Your education does not stop after graduation, either.  Every state, except New Jersey, requires Chiropractors to pursue continuing education to keep abreast of new techniques and information in their field.  These requirements vary by state.

Passing Your License Examination is the Next Step in Becoming a Chiropractor

In order to complete your journey of becoming a chiropractor you must successfully pass the licensing examination.  The exam is administered on a state by state basis.  Most states use the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners 4-part test either completely or as the basis for their state examination.  Preparing for the National exam will prepare you for any state’s examination.

You will need to check with the state you wish to practice in on their individual licensing requirements.  Some states have developed cross-state agreements to allow Chiropractors licensed in their state to practice in the other state, also.

What Does a Chiropractor Earn After All Their Work?

Becoming a Chiropractor

After becoming a Chiropractor you will have the opportunity to earn a high income.  The average Chiropractor in the USA earns $129,721.

It is important to note this figure varies wildly depending on years in practice.  A new Chiropractor starting their own practice may have a very low income to begin.  Over the next few years as their practice grows the income can rise very rapidly.

Chiropractors follow two different paths for employment most commonly.  You will either start your own practice or assume total responsibility for the business, or you will join an established firm.

While joining a team of other Chiropractors will give you a higher income initially, it can reduce your long-term income, unless there is a stipulation to become a partner.

The third path pursued by some new Chiropractors is to work in a general sports medicine career.  They may be employed by corporate wellness centers, professional sports teams, or large fitness organizations.  This career path can lead to affecting your income to be more in-line with other sports medicine salary figures.

Building a Practice as a Chiropractor

One of the most important tasks of a new Chiropractor starting their own business is marketing.  You will discover it is impossible to build a successful busy practice just waiting for clients to walk in your door.  It can be wise to take a marketing course during your undergraduate studies to prepare you for working with newspapers, radio, television, and other advertising avenues.

Your income as a Chiropractor will be based upon your ability to attract clients and keep them satisfied.  Once you have established a good practice advertising decreases in importance as your clients spread the word.

You may also find these articles worthwhile reading:

  1. Sports Therapist – two paths to becoming a sports therapist.
  2. Becoming a Physical Therapist – requirements for becoming a physical therapist.
  3. Kinesiology Careers – opportunities with your Kinesiology degree.

Summarizing the Journey of Becoming a Chiropractor

In a brief summary of the process of becoming a Chiropractor you must achieve the following:

  • 2 to 4 year of undergraduate studies.
  • 4 years of Chiropractic School
  • Successfully passing the state licensing examination.

While the journey to becoming a Chiropractor may be filled with challenges the final reward is financial success, a personally rewarding career, and the respect of your community.