Chiropractor Job Description: This Is What They Do

Maybe you're about to graduate from high school? Perhaps you're looking to make a career change? If you're interested in the medical sciences, you should consider becoming a chiropractor. 

Not sure of what a chiropractor does? Looking for a little more information on the matter? Here is a full chiropractor job description.

Chiropractor Job Description

A chiropractor is a healthcare professional who treats patients by correcting misalignment in the body. Generally speaking, chiropractors achieve this by manipulating the body in certain ways, twisting the back, arms, legs, and neck in a variety of configurations. 

Chiropractors believe in drug and surgery-free treatment. As such, they don't prescribe medications or perform operations. They believe in the body's ability to heal itself and that, if the body is correctly aligned, other ailments will correct themselves as well.

Chiropractors are not officially licensed as doctors. Note, though, that they must still possess licenses to practice chiropractic and must maintain a requisite level of knowledge over time. 

Most chiropractic work occurs in a one-on-one setting. The patient lays on a medical table so that the chiropractor can perform necessary manipulations of the patient's body. There are elements of massage therapy involved, though, overall, the practice is substantially different. 

The primary goal of most chiropractors is to treat chronic pain, whether it be from headaches, back problems, arthritis, or otherwise. To do this, chiropractors see their patients on a regular basis. 

Though the most common chiropractic treatment is hands-on manipulation, there are other treatments that are sometimes performed. For instance, some chiropractors make use of intersegmental traction therapy

Chiropractor Salary

On the whole, chiropractors make a very decent amount of money. The median salary of chiropractors in 2020 is around $85,000. Note, though, that they can make as little as $45,000 a year and as much as $160,000 a year. 

The state you live in will largely dictate how much you're able to make. If you live in a high-cost-of-living state (like Massachusetts or California), you will likely make well over $100,000 a year. If you live in a low-cost-of-living state (like Wyoming or Georgia), you will likely make closer to $50,000 a year. 

Of course, once you become licensed, you have the option to start your own practice. From there, the sky's the limit.

Becoming a Chiropractor

Interested in becoming a chiropractor? Wondering how to make it happen? We'll get into the specifics below. 

Obtain an Undergraduate Degree

Generally speaking, chiropractic colleges require their students to first complete an undergraduate degree. This degree can be in anything, though you're advised to pursue a medical-related degree, in particular. These degrees run the gamut from biology to exercise science and the like. 

Note, if you're going to make it into chiropractic college, you're going to have to maintain decent grades. Most colleges require a minimum GPA of 3.0. Your GPA should at least be this high, though the higher it is, the better off you'll be. 

Obtain a Degree from a Chiropractic College 

Once you've graduated from your undergraduate university, you're going to have to enter chiropractic college. You must obtain a degree from such a college in order to become a professional chiropractor. 

There are relatively few chiropractic colleges located in the United States. In fact, there are only 19 of them. As such, they can be a little difficult to get into. 

This is why it's vital for you to get good grades while you're obtaining your undergrad degree. Acceptance is highly competitive and you need to impress as much as possible. 

Once you've been accepted into a college, you'll take classes on a variety of subjects, from biology to physiology to nursing to physical therapy and the like. Chiropractic school will take you 4 years to graduate, provided that your classes are passed on time. 

Pass the NCBE Exam

After you graduate from chiropractic college, you'll need to pass the NCBE exam (National Board of Chiropractic Examiners). The passing of this exam in conjunction with your Doctor of Chiropractic Degree will make you an official chiropractor. 

Find Employment

You've passed your NCBE exam. Now, it's time to find employment. This can be achieved in a few different ways. 

A popular option is to intern with an already-practicing chiropractor. This will help ease you into the profession so that you can get your bearings straight. Then, once you're comfortable, you can either accept full-time employment or strike out on your own. 

Another option to gain full-time employment immediately. If you go this route, you'll be expected to know your stuff from the start. Note, though, that it will allow you to progress in your career more quickly. 

Finding employment as a chiropractor is the same as finding employment for any other job. Hopefully, you'll have some connections that can serve as an in somewhere. If not, you'll need to frequent job boards and send out applications. 

Start Your Own Practice

After a few years of working at someone else's practice, you might decide to strike out on your own. This can be beneficial, as it allows you to work on your own schedule, and might even allow you to make more money. 

Note, though, that you shouldn't pursue this lightly. You would essentially be starting your own business and being a business owner is an entirely new ball of wax. Make sure that you have your ducks in a row before making the big plunge. 

Chiropractor Might Be the Perfect Career for You

And there it is, a full chiropractor job description. Though it can take a while to get into this career, it might be the perfect choice for you. Assess your options and act accordingly. 

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