Chiropractor

Pros


  • You will be helping people with their health problems, some of which may be quite painful.
  • The majority of chiropractors are self-employed.
  • The method with which chiropractors practice is a non-invasive way as opposed to some other medical treatments.

Cons

  • You must use your hands a lot, along with standing on your feet most of the day.
  • You must be capable of dealing with people all day. Many of these people are in physical pain because they have suffered a serious accident or have a serious medical condition.
  • Chiropractors must accommodate their patients’ schedules. This often means working outside of regular 9-5 working hours.

Overview

The practice of a chiropractor is to offer people an alternative to regular medical treatments. Chiropractic medicine involves the belief that the human body is a machine that has incredible self-healing powers, and that the majority of problems can be fixed using a method called spinal manipulation.

This is the bulk of the work that a chiropractor performs, first diagnosing with patients their particular health issues. This is done via x-ray and personal consultations, along with reviewing the person’s medical history. Once this is completed they recommend treatment, although as opposed to traditional medicine, chiropractors do not perform surgical procedures or prescribe drugs. Usually when chiropractors identify a specific issue with a person’s spine, they use this information to correct slight joint misalignments in specific areas by manually correcting the problem with their hands. Often times they will also counsel their patients regarding lifestyle choices including diet, exercise and stress reduction to help relieve patients of their physical problems.

Over half of chiropractors are self employed, maintaining their own private practice while employing a group of assistants to help diagnose problems and coordinate billing with patients. They may also work in cooperation with other chiropractors as partners. The remainder work for established practices taking a salary with benefits as traditional employees do.

Education

Today, most chiropractors need to have studied for two to four years at a university and then study for four years at a chiropractic school. Chiropractic schools require ninety credit hours of undergraduate study in order to qualify for admission to their programs, with a large portion of those credits being derived from physical science. While chiropractor schools do not require a bachelor’s degree, many applicants have obtained one prior to attending. Some colleges even have pre-chiropractic programs. Upon admission to a chiropractic program, students spend their first two years mainly in the classroom. After that, they spend time learning intensive hands-on work performing spinal manipulations in their final two years which culminates in a Doctor of Chiropractic degree.

Job Prospects

The need for chiropractors is expected to grow over time. The aging population in the United States is creating a great demand for personnel in the field of medicine, and this includes a need for more chiropractors. The baby boomer generation is actively seeking alternative medical solutions to problems trying to avoid surgery and prescription drugs. Also, a large amount of existing chiropractors are expected to retire in the next ten to fifteen years.

Advancement Opportunities

The ability for a chiropractor to advance in their profession depends on whether they are self-employed or not. It is possible for a chiropractor working in an already established practice to at some point take over that business once the principal owner retires. This would be an ideal situation for someone in this field, as starting a new practice is much more difficult and the salary is much lower until the practice is built up enough to where it has a steady flow of patients.