How to Become a Chiropractor
When you become a chiropractor you can look forward to a career helping people correct their health problems and enjoy a better quality of life. Chiropractic health is a form of natural therapy, chiropractors believe that many illnesses, aches, and pains are directly connected to the musculoskeletal system. By correcting the imbalances that are found in the muscles and spine, they can improve health and relieve pain.
People see a chiropractor for many reasons, the most common cause is back pain. A chiropractor will treat other illnesses as well, for instance headaches and migraines, immune system responses like allergies, and body movement.
A chiropractor will meet with clients, usually form a consulting room or clinic. They will spend some time talking about the client's illnesses or pains, as well as looking into their lifestyle and exercise routine. After these they may perform an adjustment of the spine or surrounding bones and muscles. This is the moment when you hear the loud crunch that chiropractors are famous for. They may also use techniques like tapping or massage to help the body gain readjustment.
Clients may visit a chiropractor regularly, or only come a few times if their problems are minor. It is also an important part of a chiropractors role to make recommendations for lifestyle changes. Most will encourage their clients to drink plenty of water, increase their core strength, and get plenty of exercise to help keep the spine in good repair.
Education Requirements to Become a Chiropractor
The educational path to become a chiropractor is a long one. To begin with, you'll need to undergo a four year undergraduate degree. The best degree to choose is one that is focused on pre-medicine. This will give you the understanding of anatomy and biology needed to peruse further study in chiropractic health.
After you have completed an undergraduate degree, you will need to move on to complete a post graduate degree at an approved chiropractic school, where you will spend another four years. The first two years will be spent learning theory in classroom, and the second two will include more practical work experience, always under the supervision of a qualified chiropractor.
There are only a limited amount of schools that are approved by the Chiropractic Council of Education, or CSE, so you may need to live away from home, or move interstate to obtain your degree.
In most states, you will be required to complete 4200 hours of educational work, made up of classroom work, home study, and practical work experience. You will then required to pass a three part test prescribed by the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners before you can start practicing. This test is a mix of theory and practical knowledge.
Chiropractor Job Description
A chiropractor will spend most of their time working one on one with clients in a clinic. Some may work in small groups employed by other doctors, in hospitals, or in larger health centers. For the most part, chiropractors are self-employed.
While a chiropractor spends most of their time working with patients, they also have other duties, like record keeping and administrative tasks. If you are self-employed you will need to spend time promoting your services. Here are some of the duties you might be responsible for as a chiropractor:
- Reviewing clients spinal alignment
- Adjustments to musculoskeletal alignment
- Analyzing client's lifestyle
- Giving advice on nutrition and exercise
- Maintaining thorough records of client's treatment
- Communicating with clients and other staff members
- Marketing and business development
Chiropractor Salary and Career Path
After completing their education, most chiropractors will start out working for someone else, either within a clinic or in a hospital. Over time they may take on a more senior position, or more commonly, start their own practice.
Some chiropractors may move on to managerial positions within clinics, or become teachers within the industry.
The starting salary for a chiropractor is around $45,000 a year. After a few years of work experience you could expect to earn closer to the median salary of $85,000 a year. The top earning chiropractors will earn $150,000+ per year.
If you're interested in health and science, and are also looking for a role where you get to spend a good amount of time working with people, then a career as a chiropractor might be right for you.
*Salary Information provided by the Bureau Of Labor Statistics