Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research and University of Kentucky scientists receive grant to study mechanisms of spinal manipulative therapy and provide student-research opportunities
(Davenport, IOWA) — Scientists at the Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research (PCCR) and the University of Kentucky have been awarded a $451,522 grant by the National Institutes of Health, National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. The grant will fund a three-year research project to learn more about spinal manipulative therapy (SMT), a treatment commonly used by doctors of chiropractic to relieve pain.
“We still know very little about how SMT alleviates pain,” said principal investigator Stephen Onifer, Ph.D., associate professor at the PCCR. “This study addresses that knowledge gap by investigating the underlying factors of pain relief following SMT.”
The project also includes a student research training component, the first of its kind at a chiropractic college. Doctor of chiropractic students on Palmer’s Davenport campus will have an opportunity to learn about basic science research by working with scientists to obtain hands-on laboratory experience.
The PCCR is partnering with co-principal investigator Bradley K. Taylor, Ph.D., at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Ky. Dr. Taylor is a university research professor in the Department of Physiology and serves as director of the Center for Analgesia Research Excellence. “After a traumatic injury, our bodies release natural chemicals called neurotransmitters that attach to receptors in the spinal cord and brain and block pain. This study tests the idea that SMT provides pain relief upon the activation of one important class of these neurotransmitters.”
The Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research, headquartered on Palmer College of Chiropractic’s campus in Davenport, Iowa, is the most highly funded chiropractic research center in the U.S. Within the past 10 years, the PCCR has been awarded grants from the National Institutes of Health, National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration and the Department of Defense, in addition to private foundation grants. Since 2000, these grants have totaled more than $35 million.
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Palmer Media Relations: Lori Leipold, Media Relations; Palmer College of Chiropractic
Phone (563) 884-5726; fax (563) 884-5225
College web site at: www.palmer.edu
You may be wondering where the heck did all the mp3 files and chiropractic video files go? Most of this content was created in the 1990s and early 2000s and it’s been long overdue for an overhaul. Many of the formats (especially for video) are not compatible with today’s browsers and mobile phones. They won’t be gone forever though, preserving the legacy of chiropractic is too important, and I do intend to get most (if not all) of the content posted in up to date formats. For now, this post will serve as a marker that I will update as content gets added. I am working on audio first, format going forward is mp3, which I expect will be compatible for nearly everyone.
Chiropractic audio can be listened to here or downloaded and loaded onto your mp3 player of choice. I love having chiropractic philosophy (especially from these old school docs) on my phone.
Eventually, I’ll provided links to all the mp3 files that are available for listening/downloading.
UPDATE: 405 FWY Chiropractor Interview has been updated, see player/download link below.
Chiropractic Podcasting & Mp3 Playback
Once upon a time, people used dial up modems to listen or watch this content (long before YouTube existed). I had to make files available in a number of formats since almost nobody in 1998 had an mp3 player. Many of the links on this page may not yet be functional, but I will update them so files can be listened to or downloaded.
Mission to Panama – Feb 2004 – The CREW (Chiropractors Restoring Energy Worldwide) 10th Chiropractic mission was completed on February 7th, 2004. In the outdoor lobby of the El Panama Hotel, we interviewed several doctors and individuals that were involved in the mission. There are 3 separate audio files, all in mp3 format. We discussed flow, volume of people adjusted, spiritual aspects of the mission and several other topics. Thank you to everyone that made this experience possible.
405 FWY – Chiropractors on the road – Doctors of chiropractic on the road – This podcast was recorded on Monday, April 3rd, 2006. Three chiropractors (Dr. Don Trepany, Dr. Robert Bates, and myself) were on the way to a chiropractic event in Orange County and I decided to record our conversations. The quality of this recording is not great but there are some good things discussed. Topics discussed include stuck thinking, things to go over on x-rays, why chiropractors fail, taking naps, high volume offices, and more. Both Drs. Rob and Don see lots of people and they had some great answers to my questions. Warning: material may not be suited for some audiences.
The photo above is of Dr. Michael Blum (a great chiropractor in North Hollywood, CA) and Dr. Rob Bates. Aside from my annoying voice (I was closest to the mic) and the background traffic noise, this material is quite inspirational.
Joe Accurso, D.C. – Dr. Joe Accurso practices in Miami, Florida. Dr. Joe has been in practice for more than 30 years. He is a dedicated chiropractor, and speaks all over the US including regularly speaking on the platform of Dynamic Essentials. Dr. Joe is the founder of the original “Saturday Night Live” philosophy program, which has spread across the U.S. When asked, Joe stated “I want to use my knowledge and experience to help others do a better job.”
Joe Accurso Audio @ 28 & 56k
Joe Accurso Audio @ 64k
Running Time: 21.43 minutes
Fred Schofield, D.C. – Dr. Fred Schofield from Phoenix, Arizona talks to us about Chiropractic, Palmer College, Rugby, and the ADJUSTMENT behind all successful chiropractors.
“If you get your mind right on then all else will follow. You work on your innate, your innate has all the answers in your life. Focus on the flow in your life”
Fred Schofield MP3 Audio @ 64k
Running Time: 22.26 minutes
Stew Bittman, D.C. – Dr. Stew Bittman practices in South Lake Tahoe, California. Stew maintains a “Box” practice and we thought it would be great to ask him some questions regarding this type of practice. Stew occasionally writes articles for Planet Chiropractic and is actively involved in serving the profession, helping other chiropractors through the Gathering.
Tina Sigafoose, D.C. – Dr. Tina Sigafoose practices in Thomasville, Pennsylvania. As kids, while some of us were watching bugs bunny cartoons, Tina was doing spinal screenings, helping patients, and steadily becoming a chiropractor. Dr. Tina is an amazing chiropractor, maintains an incredible practice and has a great message for you.
Tina Sigafoose Audio @ 28 & 56k
Tina Sigafoose Audio @ 64k
Running Time: 27.49 minutes
Charla Quiropractica (Video) – This 30 minute video features Dr. Luis Ocon conducting a health talk at his office in Salinas, California. The talk is entirely in Spanish. Currently, you can only view this video using your RealPlayer and you must have at least a DSL or cable connection.
Missions to Panama (Video) – This video is from the third CREW chiropractic mission to Panama. “When you start adjusting, when you get caught up in this thing, your going to find that as you move from person to person and you get to about the 100th or the 200th or maybe even the 300th person…”
Panama Mission III @ 250k
Running Time: 6.40 minutes
Mission of Chiropractic Intro (Video) – This video clip is an intro to Dr. Stew Bittmans “Mission of Chiropractic” video. It features a 5 minute photo display from the third CREW chiropractic mission to Panama and then fades into Dr. Stews health talk.
Intro to Mission of Chiropractic @ 250k
Running Time: 11.43 minutes
Douglas Di Siena at the Crystal Cathedral (Video) – Featuring Douglas Di Siena D.C., F.I.C.A., co-author of the book “Possibility Living” and Dr. Robert Anthony Schuller of the worldwide televised program titled the Hour of Power.
Millions of viewers across the globe tuned in to watch the program that featured two very moving chiropractic testimonials by these gentlemen. Dr. Doug stated that he felt it was “God’s Plan” that he became a chiropractor.
Crystal Cathedral Video @ 200k
Running Time: 6.31 minutes
Sharon Gorman, D.C. – Dr. Sharon Gorman introduces us to the FOCUS Chiropractic Philosophy Weekend in Newport Beach, California.
“Take the bone off the nerve and get out of the way so God can do the healing. The adjustment is so simple but for some reason the challenge in chiropractic is not about giving the adjustment. You are all going to figure out how to move the bone. The ones that are most successful are the ones that can share chiropractic with people in such a way that it motivates them into becoming lifetime patients.”
Steven Eledge, D.C. – Dr. Steven Eledge was the second speaker of the day at the FOCUS Chiropractic Philosophy Weekend in Newport Beach, California.
“We should not be building bridges, we should be building walls. That old adage that we have to build bridges really has nothing to do with principle or patients, or caring, or God.”
Steve Eledge MP3 Audio @ 64k
Running Time: 18.23 minutes
Bruce Parker, D.C. – Dr. Bruce Parker speaks at the FOCUS Chiropractic Philosophy Weekend in Newport Beach, California.
“What I found out was that anything on this planet can be communicated with intention.”
Bruce Parker Part 1 ASF Audio @ 28 & 56k
Bruce Parker Part 2 ASF Audio @ 28 & 56k
Running Time: 18.54 minutes
Running Time: 35.05 minutes
Ernie Landi, D.C. – Dr. Ernie Landi recorded live on October 6th in Eatontown, NJ at a New Beginnings Philosophy Weekend.
“Most of you think you are going to live forever. If you didn’t think that you’d be out there telling the story right now because time is of the essence. Stop fooling yourself, we have a big job to do. Take a stand, take a stand for something, something worthwhile. Communicate this message of chiropractic to the world.” – Dr. Ernie
Ernie Landi Audio @ 28 & 56k
Ernie Landi Audio @ 128k
Running Time: 16.13 minutes
Lou Panuccio, D.C. – “Perhaps within a short driving distance of this hotel there are probably at least a couple of hundred chiropractors who are confused, have no identity, who are failing in practice, and so desperately need what we are talking about here.” – Dr. Lou
Dean Sottile, D.C. – Recorded in May of 2001 at a Focus Chiropractic Philosophy Weekend, Dr. Dean Sottile shares his message of chiropractic with all that will listen. “Put your faith in God and not in man.”
Dean Sottile Audio @ 28 & 56k
Dean Sottile Audio @ 64k
Running Time: 22.13 minutes
Shawn Powers, D.C. – Recorded in January of 2001. Dr. Shawn Powers takes the stage to share the message of having a never ending commitment to chiropractic. Get ready to get out of your seat for this one. Turn it on and turn it up!
Ian Grassam, D.C. – In January of 1997, Dr. Ian Grassam spoke to a group of students at Cleveland Chiropractic College in Los Angeles, California. In his talk Dr. Grassam asks students… “At what part in your life do you think it gets easy?”
Ian’s message is powerful and can now be listened to by every chiropractic student on the planet.
Ian Grassam Audio @ 28 & 56k
Ian Grassam Audio @ 64k
Running Time: 25.44 minutes
Sharon Gorman, D.C. – Thanks to the giving spirit at New Beginnings, we are happy to bring you streaming audio recorded at the September 2000 New Beginnings Philosophy Weekend in Eatontown, New Jersey.
During this 17 minute audio clip, Dr. Sharon talks to use about her kids, her patients, and chiropractic. Do people need to have an excuse in order to be adjusted?
Bob Tarantino, D.C. – This audio segment was also recorded at the September 2000 New Beginnings Philosophy Weekend in Eatontown, New Jersey.
“The practice of chiropractic cannot be restricted to the physical correction of the vertebral subluxation. It must emphasize the education to a different way of thinking, perpetuating the inside-out philosophy that will ultimately change the world.”
Bob Tarantino Audio @ 28 & 56k
Bob Tarantino Audio @ 64k
Running Time: 13.11 minutes
Danita Thomas Heagy, D.C. – Spend a few minutes with one of the world’s greatest chiropractors.
Dr. Danita talks about “being all you can be.” She shares her story about how she became a chiropractor and what lessons she learned along the way to becoming a DC. She also shares some other important words of wisdom. A must listen message for chiropractic students.
Danita Thomas Heagy Audio @ 28k
Danita Thomas Heagy Audio @ 56k
Running Time: 6.57 minutes
James Sigafoose, D.C. – Recorded live in York, Pennsylvania and digitally mastered. An excellent chiropractic talk.
“There is an attitude about health in this country that medicine and drugs, or drugs I should say, and surgery, is the answer to health. I’m going to tell you tonight, or this afternoon, that that’s not true. Now for some of you that is going to sting a little bit. But that’s the way it will have to be.”
Reggie Gold, D.C. – Recorded in Orange County, California in December of 2000.
What are you going to do next year to make you a better chiropractor than you were this year? If you can decide that, we have moved everything forward. If you don’t decide that… then, very easily your going to get up next year, your going to do the same damn thing and your going to say “well I’m helping my community” and it’s true, “I’m a good chiropractor” and it’s true. But you could be better.
Where you’re located could make all the difference in the world
A chiropractor in California is going to have different issues to consider than a Florida chiropractor will, even though both are coastal states. That may not have much to do with salary as much as it does with what one does with their salary (such as living expenses).
Chiropractic has also been growing internationally and there are many more opportunities than there were 10 years ago. Remember one thing when you’re getting ready to open a chiropractic practice… Where there are people, there is potential for success. It may be nice to live in a town of 173 but unless the other nearby areas have a significantly greater number of people, you may be doing some struggling if looking to build a volume practice.
Where there are chiropractic schools, there tend to be greater numbers of chiropractors. The state of California has four chiropractic colleges, whereas the state of Florida only has one. As a result, California has more practicing chiropractors located in the state than any other location on the planet, including Florida.
If you were searching for spring break locations, “best spring break location for hot babes” or something like that, you’d likely end up with a Florida location, or maybe Cabo, Mexico. After you graduate college, you won’t be looking for any spring break locations, you’ll be seeking prime locations to set up chiropractic practices.
Interestingly, the chiropractic school in Florida (Palmer Florida in Port Orange) is not far from Daytona Beach, infamous for its spring breaks. We may see an increase in chiropractic offices around those areas is more students graduate from that school.
Living expenses could be an entire article of its own and I’ll likely get into that in a blog format, I brought up some basics below.
If you intend to party like a rockstar while attending chiropractic college you may find yourself being squeezed trying to keep your lifestyle afloat. There’s nothing worse than living like and multi-platinum rap artist while you’re in school, only to end up down and out on the streets, with a couple hundred grand in student loan debt, with no chance of paying it back, because you were too wasted in school to learn anything.
I’ve heard of it happening, all too many times. Those that don’t plan for financial success usually end up as financial failures. Well, you could always default on your student loans, encumbering the rest of the world with your burdens and debt, become a hate blogger, and live in your mommy’s basement.
Nearly everything above applies to student life and student living, including living styles for the first few years after you graduate. You can do plenty of partying, have a good time in school, get a great education, nail all of your national and state boards, and not be burdened with debt. You just better off making some plans before you get started.
I know quite a few chiropractors that own the most expensive houses in their neighborhoods, but they didn’t buy them the year after graduation. They made plans, they follow those plans, they revisited those plans on a regular basis, and they continue to work those plans today, now living a very attractive lifestyle. You could call it lifestyles of the chiropractic rich and not famous (at least not outside of their practice base).
What expenses are there when you open your office?
Some fixed chiropractor business expenses will include…
Administrative salaries (what you’re paying your staff)
Rent (unless you own your building or property)
Utilities (gas, electric, water)
Insurance (general liability insurance and practice insurance)
Taxes (city, state, local, municipal, federal)
Telephone (plan on four lines or more plus at least one mobile phone)
Auto expenses (Will there be a company car?)
Supplies (face paper, x-ray film for analog docs, file folders, coffee, printer toner)
Sales and marketing (internal marketing such as mailers, external marketing such as Adwords, Facebook Ads, and other online marketing)
Interest (anything you might have to pay on borrowed money)
Miscellaneous (What if you have equipment other than chiropractic equipment in your office?)
Education Expenses (continuing education, licensing, seminars, DVDs and online courses)
Legal and Professional Fees (business attorneys, tax attorneys)
Business Entertaining (open houses, patient gatherings, healthcare talks)
Travel (seminars, more continuing education, practice management training)
New Equipment (x-ray tubes or digital x-ray, adjusting tables, film cassettes, computers, mobile phones)
Software (chiropractic software, Microsoft Office, Windows upgrades, billing software)
Charitable Contributions (many many many patients will ask you to support their cause)
Advertising and Promotion (internal and external marketing as well as online marketing)
Some other expenses include but are not limited to…
Educational products related to business skills (adjusting, report of findings, new patient lectures)
Business association dues (chamber of commerce, International Chiropractors Association, ACA, World Chiropractic Alliance, ICPA, Chiropractic state association)
Business-related magazines and books (Journal of vertebral subluxation research, JAMA, ICPA Pathways)
Coffee and beverage services (bottled water, tea)
Office supplies (paper, pens, toner, window cleaner, vacuum bags, trash bags, toilet paper, hand towels and many many others)
Seminars, trade shows & conferences (this could go under continuing education but you will likely attend conferences regularly that will have no continuing education credits)
What about practicing / living in different cities if you’re going to be in the U. S.?
Think about cost of living and renting vs. owning…
I friend of mine in Lantana, Florida recently bought a 5 bedroom home in a gated community for under $500,000.00
In the city I live in (Los Angeles) I don’t know if there is anything like that even available for purchase. You may pay $950,000.00 or more for a starter home in many California beach communities. By starter I mean one or two bedrooms plus 1 bath with very little property. What goes for the home often also goes for commercial rates. Can you afford to own the land your office is on or will you rent?
Something that happened in my area around 2004… A local chiropractor in Santa Monica had a great practice location. Plenty of parking, lots of space, great visual from the street, and massive pass by traffic. What had happened is the lease came up and hers was not renewed. The entire property was renovated and she was put out of her location as a result. As is the nature of business, another Santa Monica chiropractor experienced his business grow significantly.
Trying to find a new location with current rates what they are could be a difficult task. Again, I am only speaking of one area and a single example so do some work on your own demographics before you go on my input alone. You may pay $1000 per month rent for 1000 square feet in some areas. You may pay $4000 per month for the same square footage in others. If you’re going to be a single chiropractor office, four grand monthly payment just for rent could be a real mood drainer.
We are not selling widgets…
The number of patients coming into one chiropractic office vs. another vary greatly. Some chiropractic offices in the US (individual DCs) will see 60 visits per week. That can be 20 people coming in 3x per week. It can be 60 people coming in once a week. These numbers are never static, nothing is static in a chiropractic office. We should be able to assess averages though based on past performances. One week an office can be full of new patients and the next week there may be none. We want to average those numbers and income earned over both weeks to get more accurate data.
The Big Ones
There are some offices in the US that are seeing in excess of 1000 visits per week and a few above 2000 visits per week. Is anyone over 3000 visits per week as a solo doctor? If there is, I’ll get some data and post it here. If they are seeing 1000+ visits per week then how long are they there?
Doing the math on adjustment fees collected…
$20 x 100 = $2000 (this can be per day / per week / per month) Yes, some DCs see 100 per day and more. Some, in fact many, see less.
$50 x 100 = $5000 (this can be per day / per week / per month) Yes, some DCs see 100 per day and more. Some, in fact many, see less.
$2000 x 5 work days = $10,000 per week
$10,000 x 48 = $480,000 per year
That’s assuming a 48 week period (allowing time off for vacations). These are much higher numbers than what is being reported above but wouldn’t it be nice to get some of this info so we can see where the upper volume offices are functioning?
We have many other factors to get into…
How many hours does one work? Some current data says an average of 30 – 39 hours per week. For example, in my chiropractic office I have 25 adjusting hours per week. But it is not accurate to say I work 25 hours per week. There are morning preparation hours, marketing hours, report hours, weekends doing events, spinal screenings, etc…
To tell you the truth, I’ve pretty much organized my day so that I can go in and see patients (typically a four-hour shift) and allow my staff to handle everything else. As an aside, I’m blessed to work with some great people.
I will not begin adjusting patients on a Tuesday typically before 3:00 p.m. but I may be in that same office at 6 a.m. getting narrative reports or other office work completed. I will get plenty of time to exercise, rest, handle other tasks, and address other “work-related” issues.
You can’t put a price on the freedom you get from having your own chiropractic practice. If you read through all the pages of this article on salaries, you probably already made some comparisons to other fields. Make no mistake, there are those who have in chiropractic, and those who have not. For those that have gotten what is often referred to as “The Big Idea” chiropractic is an absolute joy. Work weeks that are under 40 hours and being able to set your schedule around your lifestyle are benefits that outweigh income for many chiropractors.
Ironically, nearly every chiropractor I know that works less office hours, often times sees more people and has better earnings, than those that work long days and don’t take regular vacations.
The variations of reimbursement insurance…
In theory all of the $50 on a per visit adjustment would be collected. But is that the case? We’ll find out and post some data here. One insurance company may only pay $25.00 per visit for 12 visits. One may pay $34.75 per visit for 20. One may pay the full fee. The person receiving care would be responsible for the balance but it would be great to get some data on how much gets left unpaid.
There are probably as many different ways to collect fees as there are chiropractors. Some do cash only. Some accept insurance. Some offices have care plans that provide affordable care for whole families. Some offices focus on work-related injuries. Some receive most of their income from settlements handled by attorneys. There’s any number of ways to combine the way chiropractors earn their incomes. I didn’t even get into those that work with sports teams, salaried chiropractors for movie sets and television shows. Traveling DC’s the provide care to mega-celebrities, big business tycoons, and models.
Yes, this is a mish mash of information but it gets a bit more cohesive each time I do some updates. I have received hundreds of emails asking for more info. You can probably tell that I’m rather excited about this stuff. For those of you in doubt, it may be helpful to know that I went into school with no savings and paid for my entire education with no family assistance. What I did have was some common bonds with fellow classmates which became an essential component in my being where I am today.
Read through all the pages if you haven’t done so already, think about the topics you want more details on, and email me. Please note that I may address your e-mails on the chiropractic salaries blog (without sharing your personal information), so that I don’t have the answer the same questions each time someone e-mails me. Gotta have my beach time!
If you haven’t already seen them, here is Part 1 and Part 2 of this series.
Statistics on chiropractor salaries
I have done some of my own research to gather information regarding Chiropractor Salaries. I came up with a lot of different numbers, none of which offer any specifics on topics I hope to address. No one is going to have exact data but we can at least get a range from the info that is available. For example, according to salary.com, the median expected salary for a typical chiropractor in the United States is $78,994.
According to data on collegegrad.com, median annual earnings of salaried chiropractors were $65,330 in 2002 with the middle 50 percent earning between $44,140 and $102,400 a year.
One website I visited stated that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates chiropractors earned an average salary of $84,020 in 2004. However, when I visited the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics I found this information… Median annual earnings of salaried chiropractors were $69,910 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $46,710 and $118,280 a year. The Labor Bureau mentions a chiropractic economics survey from 2005 with a mean salary for chiropractors at $104,363. If we go back to 2000, the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) found average income for chiropractors at about $81,500.
I like the idea of averages, It is a great way to measure anything that is going on in your practice/life. I have to give credit to Dr. Fred Schofield for really pushing me to develop the skills to measure averages, in multiple categories, on a daily basis. Let’s average out some numbers from above so we can get a figure to work with.
78,994 + 65,330 + 84,020 + 69,910 + 104,363 + 81,500 = 484,117
484,117 divided by 6 gives us an average of $80,686.00
We are looking at data over a five year period since we have ACA info from 2000 up to most current data from 2005. I believe the 2005 data is actually reported incomes from 2004. In a way, having info across a five year span helps us since we are really interested in averages and don’t want to focus on just one year. I am working to keep this article refreshed with the most accurate data so watch for updates.
For 2017 I have another source of data that’s collected from chiropractors selling their practices to others (Chiropractic Practices For Sale). I am including advertised numbers here, it’s a randomly selected list of chiropractor take home pay mentions.
Chiropractor take home pay before taxes $202,739.00
Chiropractor take home pay before taxes $303,598.00
Chiropractor take home pay before taxes $50,118.00
Chiropractor take home pay before taxes $106,257.00
Chiropractor take home pay before taxes $33,547.00
Chiropractor take home pay before taxes $149,830.00
Chiropractor take home pay before taxes $130,418.00
Chiropractor take home pay before taxes $367,036.00
Chiropractor take home pay before taxes $130,418.00
Chiropractor take home pay before taxes $273,615.00
Chiropractor take home pay before taxes $104,913.00
Chiropractor take home pay before taxes $121,059.00
Chiropractor take home pay before taxes $196,365.00
Chiropractor take home pay before taxes $582,666.00
Chiropractor take home pay before taxes $146,994.00
Chiropractor take home pay before taxes $228,815.00
Chiropractor take home pay before taxes $276,547.00
Chiropractor take home pay before taxes $341,000.00
Chiropractor take home pay before taxes $333,143.00
Chiropractor take home pay before taxes $213,910.00
I randomly selected 20 listings from hundreds (may actually be thousands) of practice ads for sale. I then ran the numbers through excel to get an average. That number was $214,649.40.
Looking at these numbers reminded me of a conversation I had years ago with a chiropractor in Miami, Florida. He shared that he never tried to make a lot of money in chiropractic and instead focused on serving his patients. However, looking back on 30 years in practice he realized he averaged (over the 30 years) a take home income of around $300K per year. On the day we spoke, he was genuinely very excited to be serving patients, that has stayed with me to this day.
Remember the 3 to 4 different groups I mentioned when we started this article? Everyone’s going to have different thoughts and opinions. I know there are chiropractors reading this thinking to themselves wow, I earn two to three times the national average, I’m a rock star! Others, are wondering why their earnings are coming in under these estimated averages. To those of you that are completely new to the idea of being a chiropractor, understand that these are averages based on past performances, they don’t represent future earning potentials.
As an aside, I hang out with a lot of successful chiropractors, many of whom practice on the West Coast, but there’s a number scattered throughout the globe. I cannot think of one that’s had take-home earnings under six figures per year, since they’ve established their businesses. Almost all are self-employed and own their chiropractic business.
Some things we are going to discuss…
Chiropractors in solo practice (self-employed chiropractors or those in an independent practice)
Chiropractors in a group practice
Chiropractors working for others (salaried chiropractors)
Chiropractors located in small communities vs. big cities or metropolitan areas
Chiropractors that do vacation or locum coverage
Geographic imbalances in the distribution of chiropractors – mainly because many tend to establish practices close to chiropractic schools and colleges
Earnings in the beginning of practice (first five years) vs. increased earnings as the practice grows
Chiropractors focusing on particular practice models…
Personal Injury Clinics
Workers Compensation Clinics
Cash Only Offices
Insurance dependant Clinics
Straight Chiropractic Offices
DRX9000 or Vax-D Offices
Multi Disciplinary offices (massage, acupuncture, yoga, nutrition, physical therapy, medical care)
Questions visitors are asking me…
What are the doctors in my area doing?
Is that a doctor working in someone else’s office?
Are they in their own office?
Which is better?
Should I associate?
Should I go out on my own?
Should I rent?
Advantages of working for someone…
Learning the ropes
Not paying salaries
Paying less on insurance
Paying less on rent
Paying a percentage on patients
miss out on the benefit of being out on your own
In the final part of this series we will be discussing location.
That is going to depend on a lot of factors. Those factors include but are not limited to… where you’re going to practice, how you’re going to practice, how many hours a day you intend to work, how many years you intend to work, if you plan on owning your own business or intend to work for someone else, and the list goes on. For the purpose of this article we are talking about money chiropractors earn while practicing chiropractic, not what they can do with their money once they have it.
It’s not necessarily how you make your money, regardless of the profession you choose, it’s what you do with your money that will make the difference between living a prosperous life versus living in poverty.
Can a chiropractor make $1000.00 per week, $2000.00 per week, $5000.00 per week, $10,000.00 per week, $20,000 per week, or more? The answer is yes. We have to get away from the “can” and hopefully address some of the “how” and the “why” or else none of this will make much sense. Remember, a chiropractor can also make zero dollars per day, per week, and per year, so the “how much” question is really rather ambiguous.
2017 Update: a local Southern California chiropractor that I know reportedly collected his 1st seven figure month earlier this year (a million dollar month). If I get his permission, we’ll get more details posted on what he is doing. This is a volume cash based practice in Los Angeles County.
Let’s get into a few basics. I assume someone is reading this that has never been to a chiropractor before, is not aware of how many years of schooling are required to become a doctor of chiropractic, and for some reason thinks chiropractic could be a good career move for them.
Remember I’m addressing three to four different groups of people here and the paragraph above addresses mainly those in group number one. There are people that have developed an interest in becoming a chiropractor because of stories they’ve read or heard about others.
Stories are nice but my advice for a person in that group would be to get a lot more information before making such a move. Chiropractic schooling today takes longer than it has in the past. Currently, a potential student can expect to be out of the workforce for up to seven or eight years while they are attending school. Tuition for chiropractic education is not cheap. Prospective students can expect to pay $25,000.00 – $65,000.00 per year for what is typically a four year graduate program. That’s four years after you have had your three years or more of prerequisites fulfilled. You can call the process anything but fun (although looking back on it I’d personally do it all again in a heartbeat).
Federal student loans are available for chiropractic education but borrowing money means that you’re expected to pay it back. Also, interest rates on federal student loans have been going up these past few years which is going to result in an increased monthly payment for soon to be graduating students as well as new doctors in the field.
The worst thing you can do is not have a clear understanding as to what you want to accomplish, borrow the maximum amount of loans, have no direction while in school, make no effort to succeed, go into financial loan default, file bankruptcy, and waste the rest of your life blaming someone else for your self created misery. You’ll become a drain on society, the educational system, the chiropractic profession, your friends, your family, and yourself.
That which blocks the way, is the way.
The longer I practice chiropractic the more I come to realize that only one thing stands in the way of my success, and ultimately that’s me. I don’t expect you to know that if you’re an 18 year old kid, and it can be tremendously difficult to maintain that thinking while in school or when just beginning your practice.
A chiropractic education for someone who has borrowed money for both schooling and living expenses could easily graduate with debt in the ballpark of $200,000.00 or more. Add an 8% fixed interest rate on that 200 grand, consolidated into a 30 year loan, and you’ve got a significant monthly payment whether you’re successful in practice or not.
That could be enough to scare someone straight into anything other than chiropractic as a career. But then there’s the flip side, the rub, the upside, or whatever you want to call it… chiropractors that are earning six-figure monthly incomes, or just a lot of money, and helping masses of people live healthier lives in the meantime.
There’s also other things besides money but they don’t pay off your student loans. However, what they may do is motivate you enough to drive in the direction of success. I am fortunate to live and practice where I do, but I hear many chiropractors say that. That’s one of the freedoms of practicing chiropractic, you can setup nearly anywhere.
Money may be your driver, sports may be your driver, your kids may be your driver, your spouse, laying hands on presidential candidates, celebrities, newborn babies, whatever. The point is to figure out what it is that motivates you, and move in that direction.
I have not located any online statistics on the big earners in chiropractic as of yet. I have good reason to believe you won’t find any reliable information either. I break bread with these folks regularly and income amongst the biggest of the big is rarely discussed openly. In nearly all cases, they’d rather talk about how many people they adjusted in the past week, how many new people attended their health orientation, how many pregnant moms they’ve been caring for who’ve just had babies, what their kids did recently in sports or school, what their last vacation was like. Do you recognize the pattern?
Read on to view some of the stats that I have collected regarding chiropractic incomes and salaries.
The purpose of this article is to hopefully answer some of the many questions people have asked me over the years (now 17) regarding the earning potential that a doctor of chiropractic has.
Please note that this article is a continual work in progress and in being so it has unfinished parts. As I gather and filter through more information I will include it. If after reading through the article you feel there is a particular issue that could have been discussed, feel free to email me and I’ll consider getting into it with greater detail. In an effort to help everyone, I am addressing some of your e-mail questions on the chiropractic salaries pages. Your personal information will be kept private but the subject of your question may appear on the site. Thanks to all who have been emailing me with feedback.
Take note that I’m a full-time chiropractor in active practice. I am not a recruiter for any chiropractic school or agency and I have no desire to sell you on anything, other than yourself. If you like the content you’ve read here, find your own way to say thank you.
Before we get into the meat and potatoes (or tofu and broccoli) of this article let me first say that if you are considering becoming a chiropractor solely based on the thought that you can make lots of money, you may be setting yourself up for a massive let down. I have heard far too many stories of people getting into chiropractic for all the wrong reasons. When they failed, their misery and anger was directed at the very same profession that provided them an opportunity to not only live a very successful and financially rewarding life, they missed out on the unique lifestyle factor that chiropractic offers.
Pause and think about the above paragraph for a moment. I believe my advice applies to any career you may be considering. I am not you and I don’t know what it’s going to take to motivate you towards being a successful and productive individual, regardless of your chosen profession.
I can tell you this about the lifestyle chiropractic has provided me, yet it’s a bit off topic from income levels. On the day I’m writing this, I worked a total of 3.5 hours in the office. That’s my typical Tuesday (has been for nearly 20 years). I also got to meditate, go out to breakfast with a friend, go hiking with a friend, walk my dogs at the beach, have lunch with a friend, go running and workout.
We have three or four types of people primarily reading this content. The first is someone in the general public that is considering going to chiropractic school and has some questions about how much money can be made. From the e-mails I’ve received, most of your in your late teens and early 20s, but I’ve had inquiries from people of all ages. Read the entire series, there is some great information for you.
The second is a current chiropractic student or recent graduate that is seeking some answers to questions they didn’t get answers to in school. Hopefully, I get a question or two answered for you. There is also more than nine years of articles in our chiropractic news archives.
The third is the doctor in practice that may just be curious to see where they are on the earnings scale. You already know there are many different ways people practice chiropractic. If you’re an all cash wellness office don’t try to compare yourself to a no cash personal injury clinic.
The fourth is someone that does not fit into any of the above categories. If that is you and you don’t find what you are looking for, email me and I’ll see what I can do about it. Some of you may find the answers to what you’re looking for and I am working to develop subsections of this article for each individual group mentioned above so that you can hopefully get to the information you’re seeking more rapidly.
Nearly all the data supplied here is going to relate to the United States although I do communicate regularly (and get practice information from) chiropractors in Australia, Canada, Spain, South Africa, Panama, Costa Rica, Denmark, and other locations around the globe.
Okay, let’s get to the big question that most people are asking.
Dr. Michael Dorausch has authored hundreds of articles related to health care. He is a US trained chiropractor and maintains an active practice in the beach communities (Venice, Playa Vista) of Los Angeles, California. Dr. Dorausch communicates regularly with some of the top earning chiropractors in the field. He also receives and answers e-mails regularly from chiropractic students and those that are new to the profession, many of which are related to the topic addressed here.