Chiropractor Job Description

Chiropractor manipulating the spine on a male patient.  Chiropractors treat disorders of the nervous system, spine, and body by using manipulation and massage.

Chiropractor manipulating the spine on a male patient.  Chiropractors treat disorders of the nervous system, spine, and body by using manipulation and massage.

Chiropractors, also known as doctors of chiropractic or chiropractic physicians, diagnose and treat patients whose health problems are associated with the body’s muscular, nervous, and skeletal systems, especially the spine.

Chiropractors believe that interference with these systems impairs the body’s normal functions and lowers its resistance to disease. They also hold that spinal or vertebral dysfunction alters many important body functions by affecting the nervous system and that skeletal imbalance through joint or articular dysfunction, especially in the spine, can cause pain and dysfunction.

The chiropractic approach to health care is holistic, stressing the patient’s overall health and wellness. It recognizes that many factors affect health; including exercise, diet, rest, environment, and heredity.

Chiropractors provide natural, drugless, nonsurgical health treatments and rely on the body’s inherent recuperative abilities. They also recommend changes in lifestyle—in eating, exercise, and sleeping habits, for example—to their patients. When appropriate, chiropractors consult with and refer patients to other health practitioners.

Chiropractic practitioners are considered alternative health but have become increasingly mainstream. Many insurance companies are starting to pay for treatments. When compared to general practice medical doctors or family practice salaries the chiropractor salary compares very favorably.

Chiropractors follow a standard routine to secure the information they need for diagnosis and treatment. They take the patient’s medical history; conduct physical, neurological, and orthopedic examinations; and may order laboratory tests. X rays and other diagnostic images are important tools because of the chiropractor’s emphasis on the spine and its proper function. Chiropractors also employ a postural and spinal analysis common to chiropractic diagnosis.

In cases in which difficulties can be traced to the involvement of musculoskeletal structures, chiropractors manually adjust the spinal column. Some chiropractors use water, light, massage, ultrasound, electric, acupuncture, and heat therapy. They also may apply supports such as straps, tapes, and braces. Chiropractors counsel patients about wellness concepts such as nutrition, exercise, changes in lifestyle, and stress management, but do not prescribe drugs or perform surgery.

Some chiropractors specialize in sports injuries, neurology, orthopedics, pediatrics, nutrition, internal disorders, or diagnostic imaging.

Working Environment

Chiropractors work in offices and clinics. They usually work 4-5 days a week and do not work week-ends or major holidays. They may work 10 hour days. The work environment is usually pleasant with air conditioning and heating.

Education and Training

Chiropractors are doctors who treat people by manipulating the skeletal and muscular structures of the body. To become a doctor of chiropractic medicine takes about 6-8 years depending on the program.

Approximately 4 years of pre-medical education followed by 2-4 years of chiropractic education this includes anatomy, physiology, rehabilitation and even public health courses.

An internship + additional clinical hours will mean an average of 4200 hours of "on the job" training is part of the education process.

Licensing and Accreditation

In all 50 states and the U.S. Territories chiropractors are regulated. The usual method to be a credentialed and licensed chiropractor is:

Possess the amount of training and/or a degree from an accredited school of chiropractic medicine

Pass a national exam

Apply for licensure in the state you wish to practice in.

Significant Points for Chiropractor Job Description 

Chiropractors must be licensed, requiring 2 to 4 years of undergraduate education, completion of a 4-year chiropractic college course, and passing scores on national and State examinations. 

Employment is expected to increase faster than average.

Job prospects should be good; establishing a new practice will be easiest in areas with a low concentration of chiropractors.

As with other types of independent practice, earnings for chiropractors are relatively low in the beginning, but increase as the practice grows. 

The management of a medical practice requires the same skills as for a small business; accounts receivable, hiring employees, and business overhead are just a few of the many details that will have to be dealt with.

Many chiropractors are solo or group practitioners who also have the administrative responsibilities of running a practice. In larger offices, chiropractors delegate these tasks to office managers and chiropractic assistants.

Chiropractors in private practice are responsible for developing a patient base, hiring employees, and keeping records.

Career Progression

The majority of chiropractors are engaged in private practice. Unless they work for a major corporation or form a group practice promotions and advancement will be limited.

Increases in salary will come from raising their fees and/or passing on rising costs to the consumer. For those who are employed advancement will vary depending on the size of the organization.

Resources for Chiropractor Job Description

Chiropractor Job Description Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition.

American Chiropractic Association 

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