Understanding a Chiropractor’s Salary
The Story Behind the Numbers
How much do chiropractors make? There’s more to it than just a quick online search
Answering the question, “How much do chiropractors make?”
Figuring out a chiropractor salary is simple, right? You open a search engine and type in something like:
- How much do chiropractors make
- The average salary for chiropractors
- Chiropractor’s starting salary
You’ll instantly see a range of answers. However, this can be misleading since they don’t tell the full story about a chiropractor’s salary.
“Salary is an important career consideration that is impacted by the number of years building a practice, location, owning a practice vs being employed as an associate and more” says Dr. Katie BurnsRyan, DC, dean for the College of Chiropractic at Northwestern Health Sciences University (NWHSU). Dr. BurnsRyan continues, “In addition, there are many other factors that should be considered when contemplating a health care career, including overall job satisfaction, flexible schedules, healthcare philosophy, and more.”
We’ll take a look at some of those factors. But first, let’s explore the chiropractor salary question directly.
How much do chiropractors make?
Chiropractor salaries differ based on location, experience, employment status, and other factors. For instance, some chiropractors operate their own practice.
According to Chiropractic Economics, the average salary for chiropractors in the U.S. is $120,389. Many variables go into formulating reliable salary estimates. That’s why providing a single nationwide number is not the most accurate way to understand a chiropractor’s starting salary. This makes it challenging to accurately determine the average salary for chiropractors in your geographic location, area of expertise or specialization.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) breaks down chiropractor salaries by state and metropolitan area. The BLS states that the annual mean salary for chiropractors in the Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN metro area is $90,830, while chiropractor salaries for the state of Minnesota range from $90,020 to $119,210.
Beyond the dollars: the many benefits of being a chiropractor
It is important to consider a number of important factors to get a solid sense of a chiropractor’s earning potential. Let’s return to NWHSU’s Dr. Katie BurnsRyan to better understand a chiropractor salary.
Dr. BurnsRyan has seen the field of chiropractic evolve in exciting ways. This was through 20 years of chiropractic experience in both academia and the private sector.
A promising job outlook (to say the least)
“It is an exciting time to be a chiropractor!” says Dr. BurnsRyan. “There are so many opportunities for chiropractors, including working within hospitals and large clinics, providing care through the VA system, owning and operating a private practice, participating in rural health care programs and Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC), participating in research, and higher education.”
And there’s plenty of evidence to back up her optimism:
- The BLS estimates a 10% job growth rate for chiropractors from now until 2031. That’s roughly double the rate of growth for all jobs.
- Today, most insurance plans include coverage for chiropractic care. For instance, it is estimated that up to 87% of insured Americans have plans covering chiropractic care.
- Legislation has expanded Veterans Affairs (VA) services to include chiropractic care for veterans.
- Given the painkiller/opioid abuse crisis, a chiropractor’s noninvasive services are becoming a popular and effective approach for pain management.
- Closely related, influential entities support the importance of nonpharmacological approaches for pain relief. For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and The Joint Commission. Developments like these serve to further strengthen the future of chiropractic care.
A rewarding healthcare career helping others—but with less stress
Chiropractors are in the business of helping people improve function, reach health goals, and reduce pain. “If you have a passion for helping people reach their healthcare goals, enjoy providing hands-on care, and improving the health of your community one person at a time, then Chiropractic would be a great fit!” says Dr. BurnsRyan.
“This work is demanding and has a significant impact on the patients in your care. This can be stressful, but chiropractors have high job satisfaction because they know what they are doing is meaningful.”
A professional path with the potential for a lot of freedom
Chiropractors enjoy a high degree of autonomy, especially compared with other healthcare practitioners. Self-employment—being an owner-operator of your own practice—is a highly popular option for chiropractic graduates.
There is considerable freedom for chiropractors who have their own practice. You can shape your own daily schedule and work as many days as you want. You can decide on your office location and create the work environment you have always dreamed of.
For the creative and entrepreneurial spirits, he points to the “tremendous opportunities” that exist today for chiropractors. Both to better serve patients and to develop a competitive business within the healthcare marketplace.
Here are some examples:
- Create a multidisciplinary integrative clinic by offering massage, acupuncture, medical, or nutritional consulting in your practice.
- Develop expertise that allows you to focus on a specific patient population, such as children, expectant moms, the elderly, or athletes.
Add services like health coaching or rehabilitation expertise.
Freedom in other ways
Business ownership is not a character trait that everyone has. That is what makes the chiropractic profession a great choice. You have more freedom than ever to choose from a wide range of work settings. Chiropractors today can work in various environments from hospitals and primary care clinics to fitness centers and corporate settings.