Here's How To Start A Career As A Chiropractor

Chiropractors focus on the neuromusculoskeletal system, which is the muscles, nerves, ligaments, bones, and tendons, per WebMD. A patient may seek out a chiropractor if they are experiencing muscle pain, mainly neck and back pain. But there are a variety of reasons someone may choose to see a chiropractor. Many people believe that aligning the spine can help with things like chronic headaches and arthritis, and even improve your immunity and overall health.

A chiropractor does not prescribe medicine to help with ailments. Instead, they do something known as adjustments, where they work to align your joints to lessen pain and discomfort, per Cleveland Clinic. In addition to adjustments, they also help with stretching and exercises that can help ease pain. Many chiropractors may even do soft tissue therapy, which can help patients suffering from tight muscles and spasms. 

If becoming a chiropractor interests you, here are the steps you need to take to become one.

The steps to starting a career as a chiropractor

According to Northeast College, the first step to becoming a chiropractor is attending a university for an undergraduate degree. Not only do you need to graduate, but you also need to do well. In fact, in order to get to the next step, you need to have a 3.0 GPA or higher. Once you accomplish that, you will need to go to a chiropractic college and obtain a Doctor of Chiropractic Degree, or a DC, per How to Become. Obtaining a DC is similar to getting a medical degree. It takes about three or four years to complete and during that time, you will study things like anatomy, biochemistry, and microbiology. You will also spend time doing hands-on chiropractic work during clinical training and internship programs.

Once you graduate, you will need to be licensed in the state you wish to work and pass the licensing exam administered by The National Board of Chiropractic Examiners. All of this will take you about eight years to complete, so if this is a career path you are hoping to take, it's a good idea to start right away.

What to expect once you become a chiropractor

Once you graduate and pass your licensing exam, the real work starts. According to Parker University, chiropractors work long hours. Those who work for someone else can expect a typical 9-5 job, but those who own their own practice should be prepared for late night and even weekend hours to accommodate their patients. Depending on how big your office is and the demand in your area, you may see anywhere from 30 to 100 patients a day. You spend the majority of your day on your feet, so it's important for a chiropractor to be in good health themselves. It's also important to have interpersonal skills, as a lot of your job is communicating with your patients to ensure they receive the best treatment possible.

While the job may be taxing, it is also rewarding. But is all that schooling worth the salary? According to U.S. News & World Report, the average salary for a chiropractor is about $70,720, but many can make less or more than this depending on where they live.