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At a Glance

  • Focus on overall patient health, not just back and neck
  • Use only non-surgical, drug-free treatments
  • Many are part of group practices
  • May work long hours
  • Need about eight years of study and training after high school
  • Have a state chiropractic license

Career summary

Chiropractors treat patients with health problems related to back, neck, and joint damage.

Chiropractors may also be called chiropractic physicians.

#From IA DB 8122 alt title list. Nothing else used from wois description.

# 3/25/19 lh

Chiropractors help people manage back pain and other ailments, including headaches and even the common cold. Chiropractors believe that improper function of the spine causes pain and other health problems. They use only natural, drugless, non-surgical treatments.

Chiropractors follow a routine to diagnose illness. They talk to the patient and take a medical history. They observe the patient's posture and spine. They examine the patient's body and test nerve function, bone structure, and joint movement. They sometimes use lab tests to confirm diagnoses, or x-rays to locate joint injuries.

Chiropractors use many kinds of treatment, such as:

These therapies relax the muscles and stimulate tissues. They may also apply supports, such as straps or braces.

Chiropractors counsel patients about ways to stay healthy, such as:

Each time they see a patient, chiropractors write detailed case notes in the patient's chart. In addition, they may consult with and refer patients to other health practitioners.

Many chiropractors have their own practice. Others work in group practices with one or more chiropractors. In solo practices, chiropractors have many administrative duties. They hire employees and keep records.

Related careers

This career is part of the Health Science cluster of careers.

Related careers include:

Job duties

Task list

The following list of tasks is specific to chiropractors.

Common work activities

Chiropractors perform the following tasks. These tasks are common to many careers.

Work requirements

Working conditions

In a typical work setting, chiropractors:

Interpersonal relationships

Physical work conditions

Work performance


Physical demands

Chiropractors frequently:

It is important for chiropractors to be able to:

It is not as important, but still necessary, for chiropractors to be able to:

Skills and abilities

Chiropractors need to:


Reason and problem solve

Use math and science

Manage oneself, people, time, and things

Work with people

Perceive and visualize

Education and training

Educational programs

The programs of study listed below will help you prepare for the occupation or career cluster you are exploring.

Programs of study directly related to this occupation

Other programs of study to consider


To work as a chiropractor, you typically need to:

Education after high school

Chiropractic programs take four years to complete and grant a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) degree. During the first two years of study, you take courses and lab work in the sciences. These courses include anatomy, physiology, microbiology, biochemistry, and public health. The final two years of training focus on spinal adjustment. You also get experience working with patients.

Before entering chiropractic school, most students earn a bachelor's degree. (This is becoming required by an increasing number of State chiropractic boards.) A pre-medicine or science major is recommended. If you earn a liberal arts degree, be sure to take courses in physics, biology, and chemistry. Some chiropractic schools allow students to enter after completing only two years of college courses.

On-the-job training

During your final year of chiropractic college, you complete an internship. During this period, you work with patients under the supervision of a licensed chiropractor.

Helpful high school courses

In high school, take classes that prepare you for college. A college preparatory curriculum may be different from your state's graduation requirements. You should take as many science and math classes as you can.

You should also consider taking some advanced courses in high school. This includes Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses if they are available in your school. If you do well in these courses, you may receive college credit for them. Advanced courses can also strengthen your college application.

Helpful electives to take in high school that prepare you for this career include:

Many chiropractors are self-employed. If you want to run your own business some day, you should consider taking these courses as well:

The courses listed above are meant to help you create your high school plan. If you have not already done so, talk to a school counselor or parent about the courses you are considering taking.

You should also check with a teacher or counselor to see if work-based learning opportunities are available in your school and community. These might include field trips, job shadowing, internships, and actual work experience. The goal of these activities is to help you connect your school experiences with real-life work.

Join some groups, try some hobbies, or volunteer with an organization that interests you. By participating in activities you can have fun, make new friends, and learn about yourself. Maybe one of them will help direct you to a future career. Here are examples of activities and groups that may be available in your high school or community.

Things to know

Many chiropractors are self-employed. Others work in small group practices. When looking for practice partners or hiring salaried employees, chiropractors prefer people who get along well with others. To build a practice, chiropractors must be understanding and demonstrate a desire to help others. They also must be able to work independently.


Talk with people working in this occupation. Do volunteer work in a clinic or doctor's office. Knowledge of the health philosophy of chiropractics is important.

Costs to workers

 Many chiropractors join professional associations, which usually have annual dues.


Chiropractors must be licensed by the Washington State Chiropractic Quality Assurance Commission. Licensing requirements include:

The application/jurisprudence exam fee is $741 and the annual renewal fee is $566.

For examination information see the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (external link) website.

For state licensing questions, contact:

Washington State Department of Health
Chiropractic Commission (external link)

PO Box 47858
Olympia, WA 98504-7858

# updated fees made changes/additions 1/23/20

Job listings

Listed below are links to job categories from the National Labor Exchange that relate to this career. Once you get a list of jobs, you can view information about individual jobs and find out how to apply. If your job search finds too many openings, or if you wish to search for jobs outside of Washington, you will need to refine your search.

To get a listing of current jobs from the WorkSource system, go to the WorkSource website (external link).


Chiropractors (SOC 29-1011)

Pay Period
Washington Hourly $16.92 $22.58 $30.29 $56.65 (1)
Monthly $2,932 $3,913 $5,249 $9,817 (1)
Yearly $35,190 $46,960 $63,010 $117,830 (1)
    Bremerton-Silverdale Hourly $23.41 $33.07 $41.24 $55.76 $61.80
Monthly $4,057 $5,731 $7,147 $9,663 $10,710
Yearly $48,698 $68,786 $85,773 $115,990 $128,540
    Kennewick-Richland Hourly $14.85 $33.94 $41.86 $47.23 $50.45
Monthly $2,574 $5,882 $7,254 $8,185 $8,743
Yearly $30,888 $70,588 $87,057 $98,233 $104,939
    Mount Vernon-Anacortes Hourly $19.10 $20.31 $22.37 $24.50 $43.24
Monthly $3,310 $3,520 $3,877 $4,246 $7,493
Yearly $39,729 $42,244 $46,544 $50,959 $89,930
    Olympia-Tumwater Hourly $16.08 $17.69 $28.88 $41.22 $52.34
Monthly $2,787 $3,066 $5,005 $7,143 $9,071
Yearly $33,446 $36,795 $60,073 $85,720 $108,855
    Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue Hourly (2) (2) (2) (2) (2)
Monthly (2) (2) (2) (2) (2)
Yearly (2) (2) (2) (2) (2)
    Spokane-Spokane Valley Hourly $28.37 $41.90 $66.94 $81.92 (2)
Monthly $4,917 $7,261 $11,601 $14,197 (2)
Yearly $58,995 $87,135 $139,231 $170,400 (2)
    Vancouver Hourly $19.63 $23.89 $30.90 $40.45 $48.57
Monthly $3,402 $4,140 $5,355 $7,010 $8,417
Yearly $40,823 $49,682 $64,279 $84,151 $101,027
    Wenatchee Hourly $25.86 $27.04 $29.00 $30.96 $45.35
Monthly $4,482 $4,686 $5,026 $5,365 $7,859
Yearly $53,794 $56,240 $60,318 $64,395 $94,326
United States Hourly $16.82 $24.95 $34.33 $47.74 $71.72
Monthly $2,915 $4,324 $5,949 $8,273 $12,429
Yearly $34,990 $51,890 $71,410 $99,290 $149,170

(1) Wages are greater than $90/hour or $187,200/year.
(2) Wage estimate is not available.

Self-employed chiropractors usually earn more than those who work for others. However, their earnings are somewhat low when starting a practice, and increase as the practice grows. This is true for any type of private practice. In addition, earnings are affected by the qualifications and personal traits of the chiropractor. Those who develop good relationships with their patients are more likely to have repeat customers.

Chiropractors who work full time in a group practice generally receive benefits, such as paid vacation and health insurance. Self-employed chiropractors must provide their own insurance.

Employment and outlook

Washington outlook

Location may become more important for establishing a successful practice. More associate positions may become available due to chiropractors' desire to reduce the costs of running a health care practice.

The table below provides information about the number of workers in this career in various regions. It also provides information about the expected growth rate and future job openings.

Chiropractors (SOC 29-1011)

Location Current employment Growth over 10 years Annual openings
Washington 1,996 43.0% 16.1% 232
    Adams, Chelan, Douglas, Grant, and Okanogan Counties 54 44.4% 13.4% 7
    Benton and Franklin Counties 43 48.8% 15.0% 5
    Clallam, Jefferson, and Kitsap Counties 75 45.3% 11.9% 9
    Clark, Cowlitz, and Wahkiakum Counties 241 46.1% 15.2% 29
    Grays Harbor, Lewis, Mason, Pacific, and Thurston Counties 158 50.6% 14.1% 21
    Island, San Juan, Skagit, and Whatcom Counties 73 47.9% 14.6% 9
    King County 1,113 39.9% 19.6% 121
    Kittitas, Klickitat, Skamania, and Yakima Counties 24 45.8% 13.8% 3
    Pierce County 149 53.0% 15.2% 20
    Spokane County 43 46.5% 13.9% 5
United States 50,300 7.6% 5.2% 1,800

National employment

About 30% of chiropractors are self-employed. Most of the rest work in group practices. A small number teach or work in doctors' offices or hospitals.

Major employers:

National outlook

Demand for chiropractors will increase as more Americans are drawn to alternative forms of medicine. In addition, recent research has shown that chiropractic treatment is effective and more chiropractors work along side other types of physicians in clinics. As a result, more health insurance plans now pay for chiropractic treatment. As the population ages, there will also be an increased need for treatment.

Other resources

Accreditation Commission for Homeopathic Education in North America (external link)
American Chiropractic Association (external link)
1701 Clarendon Boulevard, Suite 200
Arlington, VA 22209
Council on Chiropractic Education (external link)
8049 North 85th Way
Scottsdale, AZ 85258
Explore Health Careers: Chiropractor (external link)
International Chiropractors Association (external link)
6400 Arlington Boulevard, Suite 800
Falls Church, VA 22042
National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (external link)
901 54th Avenue
Greeley, Colorado 80634
Washington State Chiropractic Association (external link)
21400 International Boulevard, Suite 207
SeaTac, WA 98198
World Chiropractic Alliance (external link)


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