Chiropractors have become increasingly important professionals in the health care community. They typically diagnose and treat conditions related to the musculoskeletal system, such as the spine and neck. This care is often valued by people with chronic back issues who find no other form of relief. Pay varies based on location and whether you are self-employed or part of a practice, but median annual pay as of May 2010 was $67,200, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Demand for chiropractors has been on the rise and job opportunities have become plentiful. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projected a growth rate of 28 percent for all chiropractors from 2010 to 2020, well above the average across all occupations. This means that people who earn chiropractic degrees should find ample opportunities to work in employer practices, or by setting up private practices in communities not already saturated with chiropractic care.
Once considered socially taboo or an alternative source of health care, chiropractic treatment has become increasingly accepted by society and other medical practitioners. Patients dealing with back pains have increasingly sought treatment options beyond medicine and surgical procedures. Back surgeries often have unpredictable and inconsistent results. Regular visits to the chiropractor have proved to alleviate pain for extended periods of time for some patients. Medical practitioners have more consistently embraced chiropractors because of public acceptance, as well as increased collaboration of medical professionals in health network systems.
Baby Boomer Effect
Virtually all medical professions have high projected growth trends from 2010 to 2020, according to the bureau. This is due in large part to the aging baby boomer population. This group of people, born between 1945 and 1964, is in retirement or later stages of life. Increased prevalence of spine, neck and joint problems combined with greater education on the benefits of chiropractor care contribute significantly to the positive job outlook.
While the overall employment trend is for workers to hop around to multiple careers over time, chiropractors typically remain in their jobs until retirement, according to the D'Youville College Chiropractic Health Center. This is a positive indication of the pay, benefits and stability of the position, as well as the moderate level of stress relative to other medical professions. Chiropractic care is more preventative or maintenance-oriented, meaning practitioners usually deal with fewer emergencies than medical doctors.
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