Chiropractic economics is changing. Once was a time when a DC could open up shop practically anywhere, give decent service at reasonable rates and cruise along, prospering with that alone. But no, chiropractic is not going to disappear, and many chiropractors will continue to thrive.
Sure, it may have been easier to be operate a chiropractic practice years ago, but consider that it used to also be easier to operate a grocery store, restaurant, medical office etc back then too. The opportunity for prosperity is not gone it’s just different. Chiropractic is a business and change is essential for survival, just as with any business. Changes usually include how the benefits are communicated, payment options, addressing the needs of consumers, marketing, management and accessibility. The underlying principle that health comes from within, is interfered with by subluxation, and corrected by adjustment can and should remain the same.
In fact I’ll go further and state that right now there exists more opportunity for Doctors of Chiropractic than ever before. For many, chiropractic salaries are breaking records. Consider the days gone by when DCs were jailed and accused of practicing without license, or when the AMA was orchestrating their covert plan to eliminate the profession, or when insurances like Medicare did not cover any chiropractic services, or ….well I could go on and on. Those struggles are long gone.
Be inspired by the wonderful things occurring that point to a bright future for chiropractors. For example, the world is embracing the holistic concept of health within which chiropractic is a perfect fit, conventional medicine is struggling because of its abuses with pricing and safety, major entities like professional sports teams and the military are recognizing the benefits of adjustments, and a steady stream of research is showing the evidence.
“What we do with our hands and our knowledge of health and disease is a highly desirable service for a large segment of the human family and will never disappear.”-Dynamic Chiropractic – September 23, 2009, Vol. 27, Issue 20.
And this video by Palmer College of Chiropractic gives even more validity:
Are there dangers, concerns, hazards and “rocks in the water” so to speak for the chiropractic profession? Of course; and there always have been. So whether you are considering a career in Chiropractic or are a veteran DC, simply keep your eyes on the radar and make appropriate changes to your course of action. Open water lies ahead for chiropractors success!
Chiropractor salaries and incomes are extremely variable. I know some Doctors of Chiropractic (DC) who earn very little, and I know some who make millions, and I know many that make the average which according to 2 good sources is between $94,000 and $120,000 per year.
Why the extreme variation in chiropractor’s incomes?
#1) This is common amongst professions like chiropractic that have a high percentage of self employment. The same variability occurs in the fields of dentistry and law. The harder the professional works the more they make.
#2) The doctors overhead expenses are also variable. Some DCs run a high overhead practice, perhaps with multiple staff, multiple doctors, and large office spaces, while others practice solo with perhaps 1 or 2 staff in a small setting.
#3) Some DCs offer multiple services to their patients while others have a more simplistic and uniform billing system. This “case average” varies tremendously and also and has a profound effect on income.
#4) Many DCs continue to practice a few hours per week long into typical retirement years and earn very little, mostly because of their love for the profession. This skews the average salary lower.
I assume there are 2 types of readers of this article. One type is perhaps a student considering chiropractic as a career. The other type is an established DC looking for information to either compare their own salary to others or are looking for ways to boost their salary. I have advice for both below.
If you are a prospective chiropractor you must first understand what chiropractic is. It is a science art and philosophy of things natural and holistic specifically focusing on the human body’s inborn ability to get and be healthy. Chiropractor’s understand that the nervous system controls and coordinates all body systems and functions either directly or indirectly, and that misalignment of spinal structure causes interference or blockage of the nerve inpulses. This is called vertebral subluxation. Chiropractors correct this with adjustments. The safety, cost effectiveness and high patient satisfaction is well established.
Because of the high level of art in the profession, particularly the hands-on aspect of the detection and correction of the subluxation, there exists a high variability of the services and charges. To me, as a DC for over 25 years, this “high level of art” and it’s complications are an attribute not a detriment. The art has been virtually minimized if not eliminated from conventional medicine, much to their demise.
Thus, prospective chiropractors should not be dismayed by the variability of chiropractic salaries, as it is very justified.
For those of you readers who are comparing salaries with peers or seeking to improve their own salary, I offer the following:
1) Compare and despair. Because of the high variability in practice styles, billing, sizes, etc it is near impossible to get an accurate comparison. Likely, one will find disappointment in comparing, especially with inaccurate information. So, realize that the average salary does not mean much. Do not let it discourage you.
2) Most of the DCs that have much higher than normal incomes have several common characteristics. They generally do a lot of marketing to attract large volumes of patients. They generally employ multiple doctors and profit from them. They generally are sincerely dedicated to helping others, and love people. All of these characteristics can be improved upon if you are lacking them.
3) It’s nearly impossible to be both a busy, loving, caring doctor and good manager. The 2 conflict with each other. So most of the highly successful DCs have management either in the form of an employed manager or they subscribe to coaching/management services so they can focus their efforts on being exceptional doctors.
Patients want doctors that enjoy what they are doing.Therefore, doctors seeking to improve their incomes can do so by improving themselves and reclaiming the joy of practice, particularly by focusing on being an excellent doctor, and let somebody else focus on the practice management.
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