Chiropractor Job Description
What does a chiropractor do? Chiropractors are professionals in the medical field who specialize in the treatment of disorders of the neuromusculoskeletal system. Unlike medical doctors, they do not typically use surgery or medication to treat these disorders. Instead, chiropractors use a combination of therapies such as adjustments, physical therapy, applying heat and cold to injured or affected areas of patients’ bodies, and massage therapy. Additionally, chiropractors utilize tests such as x rays to diagnose patients, and if called for, they will refer patients to other health care professionals for further treatment. Furthermore, chiropractors will often make suggestions to patients regarding diet and exercise as a way to improve their conditions.
Most chiropractors work full time. They are typically employed in office settings, either in a private practice or in a group with other chiropractors. Less frequently, chiropractors can also work in doctors’ offices. Those who work in their own offices have more flexibility when it comes to scheduling, but they may need to work in the evening and on the weekend if patient need dictates. Chiropractors often work with physical therapists, massage therapists, and other medical professionals involved in the area of rehabilitation.
Those considering a career as a chiropractor should possess certain qualities. It is important to have good physical stamina since much of a chiropractor’s day is spent on his or her feet treating patients. They should also have excellent communication skill because they must spend a great deal of time discussing conditions, treatment options, and procedures to patients. An attention to detail is also important so that a chiropractor can effectively diagnose and plan an appropriate course of treatment for patients.
On a daily basis, a chiropractor might perform the following duties:
- Meet with and evaluate patients
- Perform adjustments on patients
- Give patients advice on improving their health through lifestyle changes including diet and exercise
How To Become A Chiropractor
In order to become a chiropractor, one must complete at least 3 years of undergraduate coursework and pass all prerequisite classes. Some states and chiropractic schools require that applicants earn a bachelor’s degree before they gain entrance into a chiropractic program. A Doctor of Chiropractic degree must then be achieved, followed by the passage of state and national licensing exams.
How Long Does It Take To Become A Chiropractor?
Becoming a chiropractor involves about 8 years of schooling. If a chiropractor wishes to specialize in a particular chiropractic area, he or she can become certified in a specialty which will require further postgraduate training.
The path to become a chiropractor begins at the undergraduate level. Those who would like to pursue a career as a chiropractor will need to complete at least 90 hours of coursework as an undergraduate. The majority of those who enter chiropractic programs earn a bachelor’s degree, and prospective chiropractic students will also need to have successfully passed prerequisite classes in biology, chemistry, and physics.
Since there are only 15 programs in the United States that offer the Doctor of Chiropractic degree, entrance into a program is competitive and it is imperative that applicants focus on achieving high grades while an undergraduate. Once accepted into a program, students can expect to take classes in such subjects as anatomy and physiology, biochemistry, and microbiology.
Chiropractic programs also consist of an intense clinical portion. Students must participate in extensive clinicals, working in a variety of healthcare settings to learn more about patient care and gain hands-on experience performing procedures under supervision.
Certifications for chiropractors are available in different areas. Postgraduate programs can be completed in such areas as orthopedics, sports, and pediatrics. Specializing can increase opportunities and income for chiropractors.
Licensing is mandatory in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Some of the requirements to become licensed in all states include graduating from an accredited chiropractic program, and candidates must also pass the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners Exam which contains several different components. Depending on the state, there might also be a state licensing exam. Therefore, is best to research the laws in the state where one wishes to become a chiropractor.
The future job outlook for chiropractors is good. It is projected that between the years of 2012 and 2022, there will be a 15 percent increase in new jobs in the field.
The reason for this faster than average growth is due to the new popularity of alternatives to medication and surgery. Also, since alternative therapies are now being more widely accepted, insurance companies are more likely to cover chiropractic treatment, and chiropractors are now working with other medical professionals to treat patients. The portion of the population that is aging will also seek chiropractic treatment due to conditions and injuries of the spine and joints associated with getting older. Detailed chiropractor salary data is available here.
States With Highest Employment Levels
|State||Hourly mean Wage||Annual mean salary||# Employed||Employment/1000 jobs|