Employment Prospects


There are approximately 73,000 chiropractors practicing in the United States, according to the American Chiropractic Association. A newly licensed doctor of chiropractic might find a salaried position in a chiropractic clinic or with an experienced chiropractor. Other salaried positions can be found in traditional hospitals, in hospitals that specialize in chiropractic treatment, or in alternative health care centers and clinics. Approximately 30 percent of the doctors of chiropractic in the United States are self-employed. Most maintain offices in a professional building with other specialists or at their own clinics.

Chiropractors practice throughout the United States. Jobs in clinics, hospitals, and alternative health care centers may be easier to find in larger cities that have the population to support them. However, most doctors of chiropractic choose to work in small communities. Chiropractors tend to remain near chiropractic institutions, and this has resulted in higher concentrations of chiropractic practices in those geographical areas.

Starting Out

As a newly licensed chiropractor, you might begin working in a clinic or in an established practice with another chiropractor on a salary or income-sharing basis. This would give you a chance to start practicing without the major financial investment of equipping an office, and it will give you a chance to see how a practice is run and gain more information about the financial aspects of running a business. It is sometimes possible to purchase the practice of a chiropractor who is retiring or moving. This is usually easier than starting a new solo practice because the purchased practice will already have patients. However, some newly licensed practitioners do go straight into private practice.

National chiropractic associations and professional publications may also list job openings. Attend an association meeting to get to know professionals in the field. Networking is an important way to learn about job openings.

Advancement Prospects

As with many other professions, advancement in chiropractic usually means building a larger practice. A chiropractor who starts out as a salaried employee in a large practice may eventually become a partner in the practice. Chiropractors also advance their careers by building their clientele and setting up their own group practices. They sometimes buy the practices of retiring practitioners to add to their own practices.

Another avenue for advancement is specialization. Chiropractors specialize in areas such as neurology, sports medicine, or diagnostic imaging (X-ray). As demand for chiropractors grows, more are advancing their careers through teaching at chiropractic institutions or conducting research. A few doctors of chiropractic become executives with state or national organizations.

Tips for Entry

Practice clearly explaining problems and solutions. Any chiropractor will have to explain health matters to a patient and then concisely describe the treatment required and steps involved.

Develop a strong background in health and science and learn the basics of operating your own business. This will help set a foundation for establishing your own practice.

Visit chiropractic offices in your area and see if you can shadow a chiropractor at his or her workplace.