Chiropractors
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Overview
Chiropractors treat patients with health problems of the neuromusculoskeletal system, which includes nerves, bones, muscles, ligaments, and tendons. They use spinal adjustments and manipulation, as well as other clinical interventions, to manage patients’ health concerns, such as back and neck pain.
Predicted employment growth
Over the next decade, jobs for chiropractors are expected to grow by 13%, and should have about 1,800 job openings a year.
Safety from automation
Chiropractors are less likely to be automated than 84% of other careers.
Workforce size
Chiropractors, with 47,400 workers, are near the middle of all careers in the number employed.
Education
About 92% of chiropractors have a graduate-level education, and 97% have at least a bachelor's degree.
Education attained by chiropractors
High School
Some College
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate
Context: workers with graduate degrees
More chiropractors have graduate degrees than 98% of other careeers.
Salaries
The median (middle) salary for chiropractors is higher than 78% of all other jobs' middle salaries. The graph shows inflation-adjusted salaries for most chiropractors.
This job's median $71KAll jobs' median $39K$71K$38K20142015201620172018$0$50K$100K$150K$200K
Context: Median Salary
Gender
Women account for 24% of chiropractors -- that's a smaller percentage than 60% of other jobs.
Gender of chiropractors
Men
Women
Context: Salary inequity
For each career, we compared the median (middle) men's salary to the median women's salary. For chiropractors, the median men's salary was 27% more the median woman's salary.
Race/Origin
About 10% of chiropractors are minority, and 10% are foreign-born.
Race/origin of chiropractors
White
Black
Pacific Islander
Hispanic
Asian
American Indian
Multiracial
Other
Context: Foreign-born workers (10%)
Where are the most jobs?
We ranked the number of jobs in Chiropractors per thousand workers in each state, DC, and Puerto Rico. The darker the blue, the higher the job density.
AKMEVTNHWAIDMTNDMNMINYMARIORUTWYSDIAWIINOHPANJCTCANVCONEMOILKYWVVAMDDEAZNMKSARTNNCSCDCOKLAMSALGAHITXFLPR
Job benefits
Employer or union-sponsored pension plans are offered to 29% of chiropractors, and 40% have company-sponsored health insurance (30% have dependents enrolled in their employer's health plan).
Employer-provided health coverage for chiropractors
100% premiums covered
Partial premiums covered
Plan with no cost sharing
No health insurance
Top college degrees
Here are the top college degrees held by the 98% of people in this job who have at least a bachelor's degree. Some of degrees may link to multiple programs due to the way Census classifies college majors. Click on a program to learn more about career opportunities for people who major in that field.
The downside
Some jobs are more stressful than others, and some are just plain dangerous. The following list gives the percentages of chiropractors who report hazardous or difficult situations typically occurring at least once a week.
  • Consequence of Error (60%)
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety (55%)
  • Time Pressure (55%)
  • Exposed to Disease or Infections (45%)
  • Frequency of Conflict Situations (42%)
  • Exposed to Radiation (33%)
SOURCES:24.0 O*NET
Salary and diversity
Salary overview
What do chiropractors earn?

In this section, we want to give you a clear idea of what you can expect to earn in this career. We use two sources of data here: the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which asks employers to classify their workforce and to report salaries using the SOC-specialty level of reporting, and the American Community Survey (ACS), which asks people to classify their jobs using the broad classifications that ididio uses for career profiles, and to self-report their salaries. For some jobs, the differences in survey approaches between BLS and ACS can paint a very different end-picture. Whenever possible, we provide data from both sources.

The BLS-compiled salary data is reported by companies for their employees. This data excludes self-employed workers. We first show the distribution of salaries for chiropractors, and then we show how the middle (median) salary for chiropractors compares to the BLS-computed median salaries of other careers.
Distribution: Salaries for chiropractors (BLS Salary Data)
$71K$0$50K$100K$150K
Context: Median salaries across careers (BLS Salary Data)
$71K$0$50K$100K$150K
We compiled household data from the ACS to determine the salaries that people working at least 35 hours a week report themselves to earn. Unlike the BLS estimates, this data includes self-employed wages. We first show the full salary distribution for all chiropractors, and then we show how the median (middle) salary for chiropractors compares to the median ACS-reported salary of other careers.
Distribution: Salaries for chiropractors (ACS Salary Data)
$63K$0$50K$100K$150K
Context: Median salaries across careers (ACS Salary Data)
$63K$0$50K$100K$150K
Employers and salary
A look at employers and corresponding salaries
The donut shares the break-down of workers by employer type, and following we show the salary distributions for these workers based on those employer types. For some careers, the salaries can be vastly different between private, government, and self-employment. As with our salary overview, we view the both the BLS economists' salary profiles and the household-reported salaries from ACS to get a thorough understanding of where chiropractors work and for what salary. We have the great faith in the accuracy of economist-vetted BLS data; however, the BLS restrictions on which employers are surveyed skews the data a bit (read more in the sources), and the ACS responses provide different and useful categorizations of employers and salaries.
Employers of Chiropractors (ACS)
Private for-profit (30.4%)
Private not-for-profit (1.4%)
Local government (0.2%)
State government (0.2%)
Federal government (0.4%)
Self-employed incorporated (43.4%)
Self-employed not incorporated (23.9%)
Working without pay (0.1%)
Distribution: Salaries of chiropractors by type of employer (ACS data)
Following are the salary distributions by employer type calculated by aggregating individual household survey responses.
$63K$61K$73K$61K$0$50,000$100,000$150,000$200,000Self-employed not incorporatedSelf-employed incorporatedPrivate for-profitAll
Distribution: Salaries of chiropractors by type of employer (BLS data)
Following are the salary distributions by employer type as reported by BLS based on large employer-focused surveys. We note that smaller employer categories are not included by BLS.
$71K$71K$0$50,000$100,000$150,000PrivateAll
Age and career advancement
Salary growth for chiropractors

The biggest take-away from the following two charts is the relationship between salary and experience that we can infer from age. Does this job seem to attract especially younger or older workers? Does it reward experience?

Take a minute a look at how much you might expect your salary to increase with each five years' experience, as well as how the numbers working in this career changes. We only provide this data when there are enough consistent ACS survey responses to allow a reasonable margin of error, so for some careers you will see gaps in our reporting of salary by age.

$72K$72K$78K$63K$55K$75K$72K$42K$0$50K$100K$150K$200KSalary distribution20-2425-2930-3435-3940-4445-4950-5455-5960-64
02K4K6K8KNumber employed20-2425-2930-3435-3940-4445-4950-5455-5960-64

Our only sources for career data containing age, gender, or origin/race come from the Census Bureau. To provide these breakdowns, we have aggregated ACS person-level career survey responses by career, gender, race, and age. These graphics reflect the results of our aggregations, and are useful for identifying trends. A careful statistical study of the impact of age, gender, and race on salaries would correct for other factors that could be contributing to salary differences.

Gender and Equity
Chiropractors and gender

With 24% women, this occupation has a lower percentage of women than 60% of careers.

Context: Women in the workforce
24%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Gender of Chiropractors
Men (76%)
Women (24%)
Distribution: Salaries by gender

As we'll illustrate at the bottom of this section, the median (middle) salary for all full-time male workers in the US exceeds the full-time median salary for women by 20%, and the difference for chiropractors tops that, with the median salary for men 27% higher than the median salary for women. This chart shows you the salary range for most workers by gender.

$53K$68K$0$50K$100K$150KWomenMen
Context: Salary Inequity

Nationwide there are twenty careers for which men do not have a higher median (middle) salary than women. The chart below shows the salary inequity, the percentage by which the median men's salary is higher than the median women's salary, for most jobs. Chiropractors have one of the higher percentage increases for men's salary, with the increase for the men's median salary over the women's median salary in this job even higher than that for 74% of other jobs.

27%0%20%40%60%80%100%

Our only sources for career data containing age, gender, or origin/race come from the Census Bureau. To provide these breakdowns, we have aggregated ACS person-level career survey responses by career, gender, race, and age. These graphics reflect the results of our aggregations, and are useful for identifying trends. A careful statistical study of the impact of age, gender, and race on salaries would correct for other factors that could be contributing to salary differences.

Race/Origin
Race and origin of chiropractors

The representation of minority and foreign-born workers is quite different between careers, and the relative pay of those workers also varies significantly between careers. There is a smaller percentage of minority chiropractors than for 91% of other careers. As with minority workers, there is also a smaller percentage of foreign-born workers in this career than in most other careers.

Race/origin of chiropractors
White (90% )
Asian (5% )
Black (2% )
Multiracial (2% )
Other (1% )
American Indian (1% )
Hispanic (0% )
Pacific Islander (0% )
Context: Representation of minorities in the workforce
10%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Context: Representation of foreign-born workers
10%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Distribution: Salaries for chiropractors by race/origin

For some careers, there is a pay disparity depending on race or origin, though this is not prevalent. We calculate standard errors for all of our calculations, and when the error is high we do not show results. Therefore, for some jobs will have omitted race/origin categories.

$64K$67K$67K$0$50K$100K$150KWhiteMultiracialAsian
Distribution: Salaries for chiropractors by nativity
$61K$64K$0$50K$100K$150KAll foreign-bornAll native citizens

Our only sources for career data containing age, gender, or origin/race come from the Census Bureau. To provide these breakdowns, we have aggregated ACS person-level career survey responses by career, gender, race, and age. These graphics reflect the results of our aggregations, and are useful for identifying trends. A careful statistical study of the impact of age, gender, and race on salaries would correct for other factors that could be contributing to salary differences.

Pathways to this career
Education requirements and salary
Education attained by chiropractors

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), chiropractors typically hold a doctoral or professional degree.

Sometimes the typical education identified by the BLS differs a bit from the reality of the how much education current workers actually have. The donut shows the education level held by people currently working as chiropractors as reported in responses to the American Community Survey. Following, we investigate whether education level influences salary for chiropractors.

Education attained by chiropractors
None
High School
Some College
Associate's Degree
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Professional Deg/Doct
Doctorate
Details: Education and training recommended for chiropractors

Prospective chiropractors are required to have a Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) degree—a postgraduate professional degree that typically takes 4 years to complete. In 2017, there were 15 Doctor of Chiropractic programs on 18 campuses accredited by The Council on Chiropractic Education.

Admission to D.C. programs requires at least 90 semester hours of undergraduate education, and some D.C. programs require a bachelor’s degree for entry. Most students typically earn a bachelor’s degree before applying to a chiropractic program. Schools have specific requirements for their chiropractic programs, but they generally require coursework in the liberal arts and in sciences such as physics, chemistry, and biology. Candidates should check with individual schools regarding their specific requirements.

A D.C. program includes classwork in anatomy, physiology, biology, and similar subjects. Chiropractic students also get supervised clinical experience in which they train in spinal assessment, adjustment techniques, and making diagnoses. D.C. programs also may include classwork in business management and in billing and finance. Most D.C. programs offer a dual-degree option, in which students may earn either a bachelor’s or a master’s degree in another field while completing their D.C.

Some chiropractors complete postgraduate programs that lead to diplomate credentials. These programs provide additional training in specialty areas, such as orthopedics and pediatrics. Classes are taken at chiropractic colleges.

Details: Licensing and certification recommended for chiropractors

All states and the District of Columbia require chiropractors to be licensed. Although specific requirements vary by state, all require the completion of an accredited Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) degree program and passing all four parts of the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE) exam.

Many states also require applicants to pass a background check and state-specific law exams, called jurisprudence exams. All states require a practicing chiropractor to take continuing education classes to maintain his or her chiropractic license. Check with your state’s board of chiropractic examiners or health department for more specific information on licensure.

Distribution: Salary by education level

What level of education is truly needed for chiropractors? Below we see the distribution of chiropractors salaries based on the education attained. These comparisons are based on all survey responses by those who identified themselves as chiropractors, and are not intended as a statistical analysis of salary differences that would correct for non-educational factors that could contribute to high or low earnings.

$54K$67K$65K$0$50K$100K$150KBachelor's Degree (5%)Professional Deg/Doct (51%)Doctorate (38%)
Bachelor's degree pathways
College majors held by chiropractors

This table shows the college majors held by people working as chiropractors. Select any degree to see detailed information. We are able to connect careers to degrees using the American Community Survey (ACS), and their degrees are defined a little differently from our programs, which are based on standard CIP classifications. Therefore, selecting some degrees will lead to a selection of CIP-level programs from which to choose.

If you see "**" before the name of a degree/program, that means this field is one that the Department of Education believes is preparatory for this career. However, you can see from this list that those recommendations are far from your only path to this job!

Degree
Select any title to learn more about that degree
Percentage of Chiropractors with this degree
Salary for all majors
Salary distribution (across jobs). Showing 0-$200,000.
Median
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
Education
Final education level of all people with this major
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate
Gender
Gender of people this bachelor's degree
Men
Women
The link between degrees and careers
The link between degrees and careers

With the following "sankey" diagram, you can follow the top ten bachelor's degrees held by people working as chiropractors, and then, in turn, you can see the 10 occupations that hire the most of each degree's graduates. This visualization links fields of studies and careers, suggesting both similar careers and options for degrees. The full list of bachelor's degrees held by chiropractors given in the previous section reminds us that there are many paths to these careers beyond what we can summarize here.

This job
Top 10 majors
Each major's top ten jobs
Physicians and surgeonsPostsecondary teachersManagers (specialized areas)Elementary and middle school teachersDentistsRegistered nursesPhysical scientists (specialized areas)Epidemiologists and Medical/Life ScientistsClinical laboratory technologists and techniciansPharmacistsFirst-line supervisors of retail sales workersAccountants and auditorsWholesale and manufacturing sales representativesMedical and health services managersSecondary school teachersPhysical therapistsChiropractorsPhysician assistantsRecreation and fitness workersAthletes, coaches, umpires, and related workersEducation administratorsCounselorsSocial workersPsychologistsLawyers, judges, and magistratesHuman resources workersVeterinariansNurse PractitionersNursing, psychiatric, and home health aidesNurse anesthetistsChemists and materials scientistsChief executives and legislatorsFinancial managersFirst-line supervisors of non-retail sales workersMarketing and sales managersRetail salespersonsOccupational therapistsHealthcare practitioners and technical occupations (specialized areas)Therapists (specialized areas)BiologyMultidisciplinary or GeneralSciencePhysiologyPhysical Fitness, Parks,Recreation, and LeisurePsychologyHealth and MedicalPreparatory ProgramsNursingChemistryGeneral BusinessTreatment TherapyProfessionsAll other degrees
Switching Careers
Most common new jobs
The most common next careers for chiropractors

What jobs will most chiropractors hold next year?

The data in this chart comes from person interviews for the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey. The survey interviews households eight times over a two-year period, allowing us a glimpse into how people move from job to job. You can see more details from the results of the survey in our last tab in this section, and you can read about our methodology in our source descriptions.

Here we see all of the jobs that at least 1% of chiropractors reported holding in their second year's survey. Is your future job on this list?

ChiropractorsPhysicians and surgeonsMedical and health services managersRetail salespersonsOffice and administrative support workersReal estate brokers and sales agentsManagers (specialized areas)Massage therapists
Lateral career moves
Lateral job transitions for chiropractors

A lateral career transition is a move to a job with similar pay and responsibilities. A move to such a job can offer a change of pace without an increase in stress or a decrease in pay. The following table simply identifies all 3 jobs which were held by at least 1% of survey respondents before working as chiropractors as well as 1% of respondents after working as chiropractors. Select a row to investigate the job's full description and determine if it truly offers an opportunity for a lateral transition.

Lateral-move careers for chiropractors
Annual openings
How many openings are expected each year?
Salary
Salary distribution for people in this occupation. Range is 0-$200,000.
Median
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
Education
High School
Some College
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate
Gender
Men
Women
Medical and health services managers
36,700
$0$200K$69K
Office and administrative support workers
30,900
$0$200K$40K
Physicians and surgeons
28,600
$0$200K$76K
Full prior and next career listings
Prior and next careers for chiropractors: full listings

What do people typically do before and after they work as chiropractors? Here are the full lists of all jobs that at least 1% of chiropractors surveyed reported as holding a year earlier or later.

Choose which type of transition to view
Prior jobs
Next jobs
Prior careers for chiropractors
Annual openings
How many openings are expected each year?
Salary
Salary distribution for people in this occupation. Range is 0-$200,000.
Median
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
Education
High School
Some College
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate
Gender
Men
Women
Percentage Transitioning
What percentage worked in this job the previous year?
Secretaries and administrative assistants
395,200
$0$200K$36K
1.0%
Elementary and middle school teachers
164,300
$0$200K$51K
1.1%
Medical assistants
95,000
$0$200K$30K
1.4%
Lawyers, judges, and magistrates
44,000
$0$200K$93K
1.4%
Medical and health services managers
36,700
$0$200K$69K
3.4%
Office and administrative support workers
30,900
$0$200K$40K
1.5%
Physicians and surgeons
28,600
$0$200K$76K
6.3%
Chief executives and legislators
24,000
$0$200K$96K
1.1%
Optometrists
2,000
$0$200K$103K
2.9%
Chiropractors
1,800
$0$200K$63K
70.0%
No occupation
4.9%
Read about chiropractors
Responsibilities and activities
Responsibilities and activities

Chiropractors typically do the following:

  • Assess a patient’s medical condition by reviewing the patient’s medical history and concerns, and by performing a physical examination
  • Analyze the patient’s posture, spine, and reflexes
  • Conduct tests, including evaluating a patient’s posture and taking x rays
  • Provide neuromusculoskeletal therapy, which often involves adjusting a patient’s spinal column and other joints
  • Give additional treatments, such as applying heat or cold to a patient’s injured areas
  • Advise patients on health and lifestyle issues, such as exercise, nutrition, and sleep habits
  • Refer patients to other healthcare professionals if needed

Chiropractors focus on patients’ overall health. Chiropractors believe that malfunctioning spinal joints and other somatic tissues interfere with a person’s neuromuscular system and can result in poor health.

Some chiropractors use procedures such as massage therapy, rehabilitative exercise, and ultrasound in addition to spinal adjustments and manipulation. They also may apply supports, such as braces or shoe inserts, to treat patients and relieve pain.

In addition to operating a general chiropractic practice, some chiropractors specialize in areas such as sports, neurology, orthopedics, pediatrics, or nutrition, among others. Chiropractors in private practice are responsible for marketing their businesses, hiring staff, and keeping records.

Personality and skills
Personality and skills

Can you see yourself in the ranks of chiropractors? Here are the skills and traits that could lead to success.

Decisionmaking skills
Chiropractors must determine the best course of action when treating a patient. They must also decide when to refer patients to other healthcare professionals.
Detail oriented
Chiropractors must be observant and pay attention to details so that they can make proper diagnoses and avoid mistakes that could harm patients.
Dexterity
Because they use their hands to perform manual adjustments to the spine and other joints, chiropractors should have good coordination to perform therapy effectively.
Empathy
Chiropractors often care for people who are in pain. They must be understanding and sympathetic to their patients’ problems and needs.
Interpersonal skills
Chiropractors must be personable in order to keep clients coming to their practice. Also, because chiropractors frequently touch patients in performing therapy, they should be able to put their patients at ease.
Organizational skills
Self-employed chiropractors may need to schedule appointments, manage employees, bill insurance companies, and maintain patients’ files. Good recordkeeping and other organizational skills are critical in running a successful business.
Trends in employment
Salary trends
Distribution and trends: Salaries for chiropractors
Choose actual dollars or inflation-adjusted dollars to view
Adjusted for inflation
Historic dollars

In 2018, the median (middle) salary for chiropractors was higher than 78% of all other jobs' middle salaries. This graphic shows how the salary distribution (adjusted for inflation) has changed for this job over recent years. The gray line, as a comparison, shows the median salary of all US workers.

This job's median $71KAll jobs' median $39K$92K$38K200420052006200720082009201020112012201320142015201620172018$0$50K$100K$150K$200K
Projected versus actual employment
Exploring actual employment trends versus projected trends

Currently, jobs for chiropractors are anticipated to grow by 13% over the next decade; only 16% of jobs are predicted to grow more.

The projected employment for chiropractors is the best guess created by talented economists and statisticians at the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). However, as you look through several careers you'll notice that the projections are heavily influenced by past performance and may miss current trends. No one can tell the future, and as new information and better techniques are developed, actual counts and future projections may change. Here's a glimpse at the actual counts versus the projections over time.

2000201020202030020,00040,00060,00080,000
Employment counts
Actual measured employment
BLS 10-year predictions
Variation by state
Employment
State-by-state employment numbers

Some careers tend to be centered in specific parts of the country. For example, most jobs in fashion are in New York or California. Let's see if your dream job is easy to find in your dream location! We have a few choices for viewing the data that can help you get a full employment picture.

Job density versus job count

Which states hire the most chiropractors? We wonder if that's a fair question since states come in all sizes, so instead let's start with the question of which states have the highest density of people working as chiropractors. You can choose to view the number of jobs per state if you prefer.

BLS vs ACS data

This map defaults to employment information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which provides job totals carefully compiled for accuracy and with a primary focus on how employers describe their workers. The BLS job totals do not count self-employed workers. We've also compiled totals using the Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS) which are based on how workers describe themselves. Sometimes ACS results are quite a bit different from the employer-based BLS data.

Choose the metric to review
Jobs per 1000 working
Number of jobs
Use this data source
BLS
Number of Chiropractors per 1,000 workers (BLS)
Select a state to see local area details
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0.00.20.40.6
Salary
Salaries by state
Let's get a feel for where chiropractors earn the highest salaries. There are several choices for which data we consider and how we view that data, and each can lead to different conclusions, so please read on...
Median salary versus state ratio

We use two methods to compare salaries across states:

  • In-state comparisons: the ratio of median (middle) salaries for chiropractors compared to the median salary for all people working in each state, or
  • Median salary: the unaltered median salaries for chiropractors.

We hope the ratio allows perspective about how salaries may compare to the regional cost-of-living.

BLS vs ACS data

We have two sources for statewide salary information with important distinctions. The BLS data is created by surveying companies, missing individuals who are self-employed or work for smaller companies. The ACS data is compiled from multi-faceted household surveys and may reflect the inconsistencies that people may have in reporting information.

Choose the metric to review
In-state comparisions
Median salary
Use this data source
BLS
Median salary ratio: Chiropractors to all workers (BLS)
The darkest shading corresponds to states in which chiropractors earn the highest salary when compared to other jobs in the state. We think this ratio might be a better indicator than the actual salary for your buying power as a state resident.
Select a state to see local area details
AKMEVTNHWAIDMTNDMNMINYMARIORUTWYSDIAWIINOHPANJCTCANVCONEMOILKYWVVAMDDEAZNMKSARTNNCSCDCOKLAMSALGAHITXFLPR
0.01.02.03.0
Compare to similar jobs

If this job interests you, then use the dots below to find other jobs you might like. The dots closer to the top represent jobs that are like Chiropractors (shown with a blue star). Look for the dots to the right to find the best salaries! (We pulled salary data from BLS, and they give a top salary value of just over $200K to protect privacy, so our graph would go much higher if the salaries were not top coded.)

How should the career similarity be computed

There are a number of ways to measure the similarity of jobs, here are a few we provide:

  • Interests: Also known as a Holland Code - Are you a thinker? A helper? What fits your personality?
  • Environment: Are there hazards? Will you be comfortable? Will it be stressful?
  • Knowledge: What do you need to know the most about?
  • Physical Abilities: Do you need to especially strong or coordinated?
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