Chiropractors: Salary Overview
Chiropractors evaluate, treat, and care for patients by manipulating the spine and the musculoskeletal system.
Their job responsibilities include assessing patients’ medical history, analyzing the patient’s posture, conducting tests, providing neuromusculoskeletal therapy, giving additional treatments, advising patients on lifestyle and health issues, and referring patients to other healthcare professionals if needed.
Some chiropractors travel to their patients’ homes to give treatment.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for chiropractors was $70,340 as of May 2019.
Salaries in this field vary based on a wide range of factors, including the chiropractor’s level of experience, the region, and the employer.
The lowest 10 percent earned less than $35,290 in May 2019 while the highest 10 percent earned more than $147,480.
So, as an entry-level chiropractor, your salary will more likely be somewhere in the range of $35,000-$40,000 and will increase as you earn several years of experience.
Chiropractor Salary by Industry
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, chiropractors held about 50,300 jobs in 2018.
Most of them (63%) were employed in offices of chiropractors while 30 percent were self-employed workers.
Offices of physicians employed about 4 percent of all chiropractors.
Chiropractors who worked in offices of physicians earned a mean annual wage of $105,800 in 2019 while those who worked for employment services earned on average $100,810.
Outpatient care centers paid chiropractors, on average, with $96,100 a year while general medical and surgical hospitals paid them with $96,080 a year, on average.
However, there are very few jobs for chiropractors in hospitals and care centers, and competition for a position in this field is expected to be strong.
The biggest employer for chiropractors, the offices of chiropractors, offered a mean annual wage of $83,840 in 2019.
Some experienced chiropractors choose to start their own chiropractor practice later in their career and may earn more than $90,000 a year but they also have to fulfill administrative and management duties.
A chiropractor’s earnings also vary depending on the demand for chiropractic services in a particular area and the extent to which these services are covered by health plans or clients’ afford to pay for them directly.
Chiropractors typically earn more as they build a client base and become owners or partners in private practice.
Self-employed chiropractors set their own hours and may work overtime or during weekends in order to accommodate their patients’ needs.
Chiropractor Salary by Compensation Structure
Chiropractors typically receive a base salary but some of them also receive bonuses, commissions, and profit-sharing.
Other benefits may include pension plans, health insurance, paid vacation, and more.
According to payscale.com, chiropractors can make anywhere between less than $1,000 and more than $25,000 in bonuses, between less than $1,000 and $39,000 in profit sharing and up to $41,000 in commissions.
These numbers also vary depending on the chiropractor’s level of experience and his or her role within the practice.
Total compensation (including base salary, bonuses, commission, and other benefits) for entry-level chiropractors is somewhere in the range of $50,000 while chiropractors with more than 20 years of experience make on average more than $75,000 a year.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of chiropractors is projected to grow 7 percent from 2018 to 2028, faster than the average of all occupations.
They will be needed especially as the baby-boom generation is aging and are more likely to have neuromusculoskeletal and joint problems.
The demand for chiropractors is also related to how many patients afford to pay for their services, either directly or through a health plan.
However, competition for positions in industries that offer higher salaries is expected to be fierce, and having a few years of experience in the field can give you better job prospects.
* Based on information from the May 2021 salary report from the BLS. The figures represent accumulated data for all states of employment for Chiropractors. BLS data represents averages and medians for workers at all levels of education and experience. This data doesn't represent starting salaries.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.