Chiropractor Career Report May 2010

By Michael Dorausch, D.C.

It’s an interesting time of year for chiropractors and those that own chiropractic practices. Tax month is over and looking back since the beginning of the year, I’ve spoken to plenty of chiropractors about changes in salaries, income from healthcare insurance, car accident related chiropractic care, their thoughts on referring chiropractic students to chiropractic as a career, and what lies ahead for chiropractors in the remaining months of 2010. Can you see the light?

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Chiropractor Careers
I already know what most of you are thinking, “how much does a chiropractor make?” I know that because it’s at the top of e-mails I receive from people thinking about a career in chiropractic and students that are already in school to become a chiropractor.

Well, the answer hasn’t changed since the last time I wrote in-depth about the topic, chiropractor salaries are generally what they were in 2007 and 2008, and that’s despite the reportedly dismal US economy. Sure, there are those practitioners who lost their clinic jackets and went into bankruptcy during the past two years. I’m only saying that under assumption since I haven’t actually spoken to any chiropractor that’s told me they filed for bankruptcy in the past few years. However, I’ve seen enough bank repossessed spinal decompression tables to realize not every doctor of chiropractic is sunning on the beaches of Cancun Mexico this summer.

From what I’ve gathered talking to dozens of chiropractors since January, the rules of chiropractic practice in the United States have not changed, the basics still apply. Serve your community and serve them well is a message I hear constantly from successful practitioners in the field. Asking for referrals and acknowledging those referrals to both the existing patient and the new patient hasn’t changed. Running the office efficiently without a lot of bloat and overpaid under trained staff hasn’t changed, streamlined offices with hard-working employees that are passionate in what they do is still a key in the cog to success in practice.

For chiropractors already in practice I’d suggest rereading the 2003 Want your Chiropractic Practice to Grow post by Atlanta Chiropractor Sharon Gorman. The biggest change is the one you make between your ears. Guess what? That’s still bigger than any new patient marketing program or chiropractic social media campaign.

Nearly all the chiropractors I’ve spoken to so far this year, that have been in practice seven years or more, are debt-free when it comes to chiropractic student loans. Not one of them had a magical formula for paying them off, but they made it happen. A few chose the option to consolidate student loans in the early years but they still got them paid off in under a decade. The pattern I see here is consistency. Make payments and make them frequently, from the time you graduate from chiropractic school until that time where there is no balance due.

I’m not posting numbers on chiropractic incomes today, I’ve e-mailed several dozen chiropractors to get more accurate statistics on practice income for states they are licensed in (so far included are New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Florida, Utah, Texas, Washington, and California), and will likely outsource that data to compile a summary report. From what I have received so far, 7 out of 63 chiropractors that have compiled salary data, reported a decrease in income for 2009 over 2008. For now, you are welcome to browse the chiropractor salary stats pages.

I must know an awful lot of positively minded folks in chiropractic, because when it comes to advice on referring students to chiropractic schools, they have all replied that it’s a no-brainer. Advice? Find out if chiropractic is for you. Visit the schools you’d most likely be interested in attending. Get in. Get the work done. Graduate. Don’t dillydally in school and especially right after graduation. Get into practice. Surround yourself with like-minded chiropractors are more successful than you. Model that success.

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