Employment is projected to grow much faster than average. Job prospects should be good.
Employment of chiropractors is expected to increase 20 percent between 2008 and 2018, much faster than the average for all occupations. Projected job growth stems from increasing consumer demand for alternative healthcare. Because chiropractors emphasize the importance of healthy lifestyles and do not prescribe drugs or perform surgery, chiropractic care is appealing to many health-conscious Americans. Chiropractic treatment of the back, neck, extremities, and joints has become more accepted as a result of research and changing attitudes about alternative, noninvasive healthcare practices. Chiropractors who specialize in pediatric care will be in demand as chiropractic spinal treatment is very gentle and children enjoy subsequent visits. The rapidly expanding older population, with its increased likelihood of mechanical and structural problems, also will increase demand for chiropractors.
Demand for chiropractic treatment, however, is related to the ability of patients to pay, either directly or through health insurance. Although more insurance plans now cover chiropractic services, the extent of such coverage varies among plans. Chiropractors must educate communities about the benefits of chiropractic care in order to establish a successful practice.
Job prospects for new chiropractors are expected to be good, especially for those who enter a multi-disciplined practice, consisting of, for example, a chiropractor, physical therapist, and medical doctor. Multi-disciplined practices are cost effective and allow patients to remain in-house. Should a patient be referred to a medical doctor, they may use the "in-house" doctor or one of their own choosing. Chiropractors usually remain in the occupation until they retire and few transfer to other occupations, so replacement needs arise almost entirely from retirements. Establishing a new practice will be easiest in areas with a low concentration of chiropractors.
Chiropractors held about 49,100 jobs in 2008. Most chiropractors work in a solo practice, although some are in group practice or work for other chiropractors. A small number teach, conduct research at chiropractic institutions, or work in hospitals and clinics. Approximately 44 percent of chiropractors were self-employed.
Many chiropractors are located in small communities. However, the distribution of chiropractors is not geographically uniform. This occurs primarily because new chiropractors frequently establish their practices in close proximity to one of the few chiropractic educational institutions.
Job Zone 5 - Extensive preparation
Extensive skill, knowledge, and experience are needed for these occupations. Many require more than five years of experience. For example, surgeons must complete four years of medical school and up to an additional five to seven years of specialized medical training to do their job.
At a minimum, a bachelor's degree is required for these occupations. However, many also require a graduate school degree such as a Master's, Ph.D., M.D., or J.D. (law degree).
Employees may need some on-the-job training, but most of these occupations require that you already have the necessary skills, knowledge, work-related experience, and/or training.
Lawyers, instrumental musicians, physicists, counseling psychologists, and surgeons.
These occupations often involve coordinating, training, supervising or managing the activities of others. Very advanced communication and organization skills are required.
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General information on a career as a chiropractor is available from the following organizations:
- American Chiropractic Association, 1701 Clarendon Blvd., Arlington, VA 22209. Internet: http://www.acatoday.org
- International Chiropractors Association, 1110 North Glebe Rd., Suite 650, Arlington, VA 22201. Internet: http://www.chiropractic.org
- World Chiropractic Alliance, 2950 N. Dobson Rd., Suite 3, Chandler, AZ 85224.
For a list of chiropractic programs and institutions, as well as general information on chiropractic education, contact:
- Council on Chiropractic Education, 8049 North 85th Way, Scottsdale, AZ 85258-4321. Internet: http://www.cce-usa.org
For information on State education and licensure requirements, contact:
- Federation of Chiropractic Licensing Boards, 5401 W. 10th St., Suite 101, Greeley, CO 80634-4400. Internet: http://www.fclb.org
For more information on the national chiropractic licensing exam, contact:
- National Board of Chiropractic Examiners, 901 54th Ave., Greeley, CO 80634. Internet: http://www.nbce.org
For information on admission requirements to a specific chiropractic college, as well as scholarship and loan information, contact the college's admissions office.
Sources: O*Net data version 12.0
Occupational Outlook Handbook
Department of Labor
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