How to Become a


The complete career guide to be a Chiropractor: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $78,370
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • 17.5%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Growing Demand
    Job Outlook
  • Don't Take Work Home
    Career Attribute

Chiropractors work with patients with neck and spine issues who suffer from chronic pain. They take ex-rays and ultrasounds, diagnose problem areas, and perform adjustments by applying pressure to the back and other areas. Chiropractors can alleviate pain without turning to medicines or surgeries.

Recommended Schools

What is a Chiropractor?

The following job responsibilities are common for individuals in chiropractor roles:

  • Evaluate new patient needs by performing x-rays and ultrasounds, taking medical histories, and discussing concerns and problems
  • Perform a series of adjustments to a patient’s spine through the use of pressure to alleviate chronic back or neck pain
  • Refer patients to other medical professionals when needed for issues that cannot be resolved

A Day in the Life

Chiropractors help patients with chronic back and neck pain without turning to medicine or surgery. Instead, chiropractors use the techniques of neuromusculoskeletal therapy to alleviate pain: applying pressure to different areas of the back to move bones and joints into place, alleviating the pressure on pinched nerves, performing massages to relax tensed muscles, and applying hot/cold therapy products. The result of their efforts is alleviated pain for patients who are able to resume their normal activities.

When a chiropractor receives a new patient, he/she conducts a thorough investigation of the problems being reported. The chiropractor may take x-rays or ultrasounds to diagnose problem areas, takes a full medical history to learn more about the types of treatments a patient has already received, and conducts a long discussion with the patient to determine the exact issues a patient is experiencing and how those issues are affecting the patient’s quality of life.

In cases where the chiropractor is unable to help with a patient’s pain, he/she may refer the patient to another provider. Of the patients a chiropractor sees, appointments may be frequent, seeing the same client multiple times a week. The chiropractor may also prescribe the patient different devices designed to keep their body in its proper shape between visits, such as back braces or shoe inserts. These devices help patients improve their postures and avoid recurring episodes of pain resulting from poor posture.

Typical Work Schedule

Most chiropractors work full-time schedules, though part-time schedules may be common as well. For the most part, they work normal business hours, though they may work evenings and weekends to accommodate patient work schedules.

Projected Job Growth

An increased interest in alternative medicine is expected to result in significantly higher demand for chiropractors in the coming decade as more individuals seek to resolve their medical problems without resorting to prescription medication or surgery.

Typical Employers

Most chiropractors work in private practices—either ones they own themselves or group practices owned by multiple chiropractors. Some may also be employed by hospitals.

Recommended Schools

How To Become a Chiropractor

The first step in becoming a chiropractor is to earn a bachelor’s degree. The type of bachelor’s degree earned is fairly flexible because most of the professional training will be conducted as part of your graduate degree program, but coursework in anatomy, medicine, and physiology can be beneficial for preparing students for their graduate degree programs. A common degree pursued by aspiring chiropractors is a bachelor of science in human biology.

After earning a bachelor’s degree, you’ll be ready to apply for graduate doctor of chiropractic (D.C.) programs. These programs are similar to medical school, though you’ll focus all of your studies on the chiropractic discipline. Most D.C. degree programs last four years and prepare students to find work as chiropractors after graduation. Chiropractors must also be licensed by their state to practice, which may require passing written and practical exams and fulfilling continuing education requirements.

Some D.C. programs and states may not require students to obtain a bachelor’s degree prior to entering graduate chiropractic programs. While students may need to earn a number of credits as an undergraduate student, they may be able to move into graduate programs without needing to earn a full bachelor’s degree. The specific requirements vary by state and college, so before you begin your education, make sure to look into prerequisites for the programs you’re interested in attending.

Chiropractor Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

Low Range




High Range


National Hourly Wage

Low Range




High Range


How do Chiropractor salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Chiropractor's can make an average annual salary of $78,370, or $38 per hour. On the lower end, they can make $45,350 or $22 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #148 Nationally for All Careers

  • Above Average Salary Nationally

Highest Education Among Chiropractors

  • 89.3%   Doctorate
  • 2.4%   Masters
  • 4.7%   Bachelors
  • 0.3%   Associates
  • 1.8%   College
  • 0.9%   High School
  • 0.6%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs


2024 Est. Jobs


Job Growth Rate


Est. New Jobs


How does Chiropractor job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of 7,900 jobs for a total of 53,100 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a 17.5% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Above Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #81 Nationally for All Careers

  • Above Avg. Growth Nationally

What Companies Employ The Most Chiropractors

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Offices of chiropractors 27,100 5,000 5%
Self-employed workers 15,300 2,100 2%
Offices of physicians 1,200 300 0%

Want To Be a Chiropractor? Get Started!

Generate your free SmartPlan™ to identify colleges you like, and potential ways to save on a degree or certification program toward your career with courses, offers, and much more!

Enroll Now and Get Started

or Learn More →