Chiropractors work with individuals who are suffering from problems associated with the skeletal, muscular and nervous systems of the body. They take a holistic approach to healing the body, as they believe that many health problems or pain located elsewhere in an individual's body result from problems or misalignment of the spine. Often times the treatment they provide is often related to an individual's back. They differ from other doctors as they do not prescribe drugs or painkillers, and they do not perform surgery. In addition to adjusting a patient's spine as part of treatment for their ailments, chiropractors perform several other tasks throughout the workday. They are responsible for appropriately diagnosing a patient's pain or problem, conducting physical exams, taking and examining x-rays, and counseling patients on lifestyle changes to make them healthier.
Education: All chiropractors must complete a four-year program at a chiropractic college or school in order to be licensed to practice. Some of the schools and colleges require completion of a undergraduate degree, while others only require some postsecondary education, prior to entering chiropractic school. In addition to attending college, chiropractors must pass national and state exams in order to receive their license. They also must partake in continuing education courses each year in order to remain licensed.
Where They Work: A large majority of chiropractors own and run their own practice, while many of the rest work for other chiropractors or as a part of a group practice. Other places chiropractors have the opportunity to work is in the educational system teaching future chiropractors, at chiropractic institutions conducting research, or in hospitals and clinics treating patients in these facilities with nervous, skeletal or muscular problems or pains.
Average Pay: The average earnings of chiropractors is $65,000, although their salary can range anywhere from $40,000 to $120,000. Those who own their own practice often are at the higher end of the pay scale, as opposed to salaried chiropractors who work in a hospital, clinic or other practice.
Job Outlook: While in the past many individuals were skeptical about whether or not the treatments provided by chiropractors actually worked, they are becoming more popular in medicine, as more and more individuals seek out alternative methods for relieving pain and benefit from what chiropractors do for them. Due to the increase in acceptance of chiropractors as a form of healthcare, job prospects are very good, as this field is expected to grow faster than the average one. In addition, chiropractors looking to open their own practice, should be able to do so relatively easily in small cities or rural areas where the number of chiropractors practicing is low.
Work Environment: The average work week for chiropractors is 40 hours, although some work longer hours depending upon where they work. Some work different hours than normal working hours, as they accommodate patients by seeing them in the evenings or on weekends.
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