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How Much Can You Make as a Chiropractor?


Some people cringe at the sound of a popping back, but others smile. If you're one of the latter, being a Chiropractor might be a great career choice for you. Of course, there's more to it than just helping people pop their backs. Chiropractors help millions of people with back problems every year, but is it with it? How much can you make as a chiropractor?

How Much Can You Make as a Chiropractor?

Chiropractors' salaries vary wildly. Depending on where you live and work, the difference is in the tens of thousands of dollars annually. Rough estimates range from around forty thousand to as high as two-hundred plus thousand dollars annually. Chiropractors in Rhode Island, Tennessee, and Connecticut, respectively, have the highest median salaries, according to Forbes. The mean annual wage in top-ranked Rhode Island in 2017 was around $147,900. Meanwhile, number ten on the list was Maryland at a still respectable $97,100 per year. Notably, Alaska and Hawaii didn't have enough data to be included on this list. Doubtless, those two costly states also pay their chiropractors better than average. The lowest paying state in 2017 was Wyoming, at $45,010. Fortunately, this isn't a huge surprise given that there are vast swathes of land there and relatively few people. Many of the towns wouldn't be large enough to support even a single chiropractic business.

Beginning Salary for Chiropractor

A newly graduated Chiropractor can expect to make significantly less the first year they work in the field. That is the case for virtually every profession. The median income for a new chiropractor is around $65,000 per year. However, that's not representative of the lowest-paid workers in the field. At worst, you might only make $33,000 your first year in a busy area where many established professionals have already flooded the field.


If you plan to work as a chiropractor, other costs are associated with setting up a business. You'll need insurance, rent, and utilities for the location, advertising, equipment, decor, someone to man the front desk, patient rooms, and other equipment. If you don't work for an established company, everything has to come out of your pocket. Additionally, you have to consider unexpected investments like your wardrobe, business cards, a janitor, and even tiny expenses like stocking the bathrooms with soap. For many new grads, it's more profitable to work for someone else who has an established practice the first few years. Doing this will allow you to save up to open a private business.

Chiropractor School

In addition to paying for your practice after you graduate, there's the issue of going to school to get licensed. It takes at least four years to become a Chiropractor in most states. However, you need an undergrad degree in science to apply for the four-year program. According to CostOwl, the annual tuition ranges from around ten thousand dollars to thirty thousand. All told, your schooling will run you forty to a hundred and twenty thousand dollars. If you take out loans, then there's also interest to pay. Sadly, interest on large loans can add up quickly. Plus, you will need books, a computer, and equipment while you study at the very least. However, to put this in perspective, it is roughly the same amount you'd spend on any four-year degree.

How Hard Is Chiropractor School

Becoming a chiropractor is not easy. It will require perseverance and no small amount of biology. According to, students often cite the biochemistry classes as the hardest, but there is a challenge in obtaining any four-year degree. You will have to take both chemistry and organic chemistry as well. These classes require lab work. However, most chiropractic colleges use a trimester system, and you'll be in school year-round. The benefit to that system is that it will only take around three-point three years to graduate. Regardless, it will require significant commitment.

Do Chiropractors Go To Medical School

Chiropractors do not go to medical school. To gain an education in this field, you'll first need to obtain an undergrad degree in a relevant scientific field. After that, you can transfer to a Chiropractic program for four years. A Doctor of Chiropractic is not a medical degree, and the license doesn't allow you to write prescriptions, perform health exams, or perform any other similar medical function.

Self Employment Opportunities

One of the significant benefits of becoming a chiropractor is the self-employment opportunity. While there are plenty of opportunities for chiropractors to work for an established business, roughly half of all the professionals in this field run private practices. Working for yourself is incredibly satisfying. However, there are other important factors to consider as well. According to NWHealth, "It's also important to consider chiropractor career factors beyond salary, says Trevor Foshang, DC, DACBR, former Dean for the College of Chiropractic at Northwestern Health Sciences University. "I'm talking about everything from lower stress levels and schedule flexibility to job security, entrepreneurial potential, and overall job satisfaction." Working for yourself is a great way to help control your stress levels and job satisfaction. While it's not always easy, hiring a good office manager and secretary will undoubtedly help. Still, it's an overall laid-back profession if you want to help people without working in the hustle and bustle of a giant hospital.

Final Thoughts

Choosing to study as a Chiropractor is a brilliant way to work for yourself in the long run. While you won't make as much as a Ph.D. graduate on average, you also don't have to worry about dealing with body fluids and hospital administrative bodies. Plus, you'll spend about half as long in school, and you don't need to complete a residency to go to work in your chosen field. Not only can you make an impressive wage, but you'll be helping people along the way.

Dana Hanson

Written by Dana Hanson

Dana has extensive professional writing experience including technical and report writing, informational articles, persuasive articles, contrast and comparison, grant applications, and advertisement. She also enjoys creative writing, content writing on nearly any topic (particularly business and lifestyle), because as a lifelong learner, she loves to do research and possess a high skill level in this area. Her academic degrees include AA social Sci/BA English/MEd Adult Ed & Community & Human Resource Development and ABD in PhD studies in Indust & Org Psychology.

Read more posts by Dana Hanson

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