Chiropractor's wife!

Chiropractor's wife!
Have Curves In All The Right Places?

Friday, March 4, 2011

Want to be a Doctor of Chiropractic?

"I am a recent graduate of a chiropractic school in 2006. I had to switch professions because the field of chiropractic is so bad right now. I would not recommend anyone go into this field. US News now rates chiropractic as one of the most over-rated careers. In the past 20 years or so, many people entered the field of chiropractic because it was rated one of highest paying careers with the most job satisfaction. That is not true anymore. The 1980s were a very good financial time for all medical providers because insurance re-inbursement rates were so high. Chiropractors are just getting by on insurance scraps now (save for good auto-insurance, and this is beginning to change in many states).

http://www.usnews.com/articles/busin...ctor-2009.html

The average salary for a new chiropractor is between $30-36K. I definitely found this to be the case. When I went job hunting, no one would offer more than $3K a month as a base salary. Bonus incentives are included in these contracts, but they can be very difficult to achieve. The contracts I received were designed so that I could not get a bonus very easily. Most new associate chiropractors are sent to do marketing jobs for established chiropractors. This includes doing spinal screenings at malls, health fairs, conventions, grocery stores, etc. Chiropractors have to work very hard to market for new patients. There is a gross over-supply of chiropractors right now in most major cities. Very few people find job offers that pay more than $30-36K a year. Usually the only chiropractic associate jobs that pay more are the ones that specialize in auto-accidents and Worker's compensation claims. From personal experience, the field of personal injury can be a VERY dirty business. The man that offered me my first job just had his license suspended for illegal telemarketing to auto-accident victims (they buy their telephone numbers from police reports, which are a public record).

Since chiropractor tuition is expensive (it costs around $150K to become a chiropractor) and the average salaries of new graduates are only a little over 30K, it will become very difficult to ever pay these loans off. There are only a couple other options for a new chiropractor. One is to open a new practice, and the other is to lease space in an existing practice. Since it is exorbitantly expensive to open a new practice, many new chiropractors choose to start their own business inside of an existing practice. Chiropractic graduates know that associateships just don't pay well enough, so they try to set up their own practices with very little real world clinical or business experience. In my graduating class, half of the class or more tried to set up their own practice. Oddly enough, most of these people tried to set up their practice in the city they graduated from because they did not want to relocate. I am sure you can see the problem with a large chunk of the graduating class all trying to set up their own new business in the same city. This cycle happens year after year after year, so the oversupply of chiropractors never diminishes.

I can assure you that a few years after graduation, a large portion of my fellow graduates have already gone out of business or are very close to drying up. This is a very difficult situation to be in, as new businesses of all kinds have a high failure rate. But why take up so many student loans just to be in a risky business proposition? The field of chiropractic has the highest student loan default rate of any health profession, and it is going to get much, much worse very soon (since insurance re-imbursement rates have fallen so low). Many chiropractors have been devastated by their decision to go to chiropractic school. The number of people who are barely scraping by in chiropractic is much, much higher than the number of people who were able to make a six-figure income.

Notice that I have not once brought up the validity or efficacy of chiropractic. That is a completely different topic and subject of debate. However, I will say that the internal problems of chiropractic is what is leading to chiropractic being such a difficult field to practice in. I have purely written this post on the economic prospects of being a chiropractor for a prospective medical student. Don't do it.

The admission standards for chiropractic school are non-existant. There are no admission interviews, and a student can get accepted with a 2.5 GPA. While chiropractors take many of the same classes as M.D.s, the scope and difficulty of their classes does not even remotely compare (except for anatomy, which chiropractors have good training in). Chiropractic schools have to have such low standards because the schools are run completely on loan money. They need the influx of students to keep the schools in business. Enrollment at chiropractic schools has been down, so the admission standards have been lowered. Would you want to go to a school with this kind of brain drain? Finally, I do want to mention that I did have some very bright classmates. Some of my classmates did have 4.0 GPAs and entered chiropractic because they were passionate about it. However, these exceptional students are greatly outnumbered by the students who do not care about academics. There is a saying in chiropractic schools that 'Ds and Cs make a D.C.' There is actually some truth to this statement.

With the new doctorate in Physical Therapy, physical therapists are beginning to market for much of the same patient base as chiropractors. Doctors in Physical Therapy are also activing lobbying to gave rights to perform physical manipulation like chiropractors do. If you are interested in chiropractic, avoid it all costs and become an osteopath or a doctor in physical therapy.

If anyone has actually read this far I have posted another similar prospective from a different chiropractic graduate. He actually has had a more difficult time than even I did. Read his words and heed them carefully.

The Truth from a new-grad Chiropractor

Here is the absolute bottom line for those of you searching information on the internet and trying to decide whether or not you want to become a chiropractor. I graduated in 2008 with $150,000 in student debt from Parker College in Dallas, TX. Sounds like a lot, huh? That 150K is primary, no interest accounted for. Parker is now the most EXPENSIVE chiropractic college in the nation.

After all that time (you'll spend anywhere from 3 to 4 years in undergrad and then at least 3 years for chiropractic school) and all that amounting debt (gaining interest, too!) So, you must be thinking I've got an incredible job and everything is peachy-keen, right? I landed a job right before graduation with a chiropractor who's respected as one of the most efficient and effective Musculoskeletal clinicians in the state.

My pay? $26,000 per year. The only benefit is I don't have to go through the humiliation of spinal screenings or suckering people into becoming patients at the local Big Lots. Of course there are better jobs out there, even chiropractic jobs, but the average is about 32,000 per year for new graduates. If you aren't making what you spent on school every year, you made a POOR INVESTMENT, and the vast majority of chiropractors don't make 150K, even after decades of experience.

I could have just saved the time and money I spent on schooling and gone as a high-school graduate to work at Home Depot and I would STILL be making more. I feel humiliated, mislead, and bitter EVERY DAY. My chiropractic prospects are very limited despite just entering the medical work force. My wife and I have a new baby and I can't provide to pay for housing and food, so we have almost $10,000 in credit card debt, without hope of being able to pay it off anytime soon. The only way to make any amount of money in chiropractic is to open your own practice and what bank would loan money to a young person with $150K in debt??? If you really like manipulation, go to DO school or PT school... Please, please, please stay away from chiropractic school. It will ruin your life."

Ruin is a harsh word but whoever authored this post in a forum I came across doing some research is a snippit of the harsh reality that it is to be a successful graduate of a rather grueling and expensive career path! THIS IS REALITY! My husband, of who I gave my full support, ignored these types of things like thousands of eager new admits continue to do 3 times a year in colleges all across the country!! It is disgusting. It does potentially ruin ones life because these noble students almost max out their student borrowing capabilities, are shunned by mainstream health care providers as step children of the industry, and are last to be interviewed for alternative venues to share their thorough knowledge in education circles being subject to entry level jobs just to provide themselves with the basic necessities of life! I know many, many marriages don't survive the extensive schooling let alone the aftermath that is the harsh reality that follows! In the words of the great Tammy Wynette, "Stand by your man" because a good marriage beats the alternative!!

136 comments:

  1. Oh my. This whole post really resonated with me.

    "I could have just saved the time and money I spent on schooling and gone as a high-school graduate to work at Home Depot and I would STILL be making more."

    I have actually said almost this EXACT thing! I tell people that we would have been better off financially if my husband had just worked at McDonalds instead of going the chiro route.

    Before he went to chiro school he was an LPN in a nursing home. Now, 14 years later, he is a chiropractor working as an LPN in a clinic and we owe $180,000 in student and business loans and we live with my parents.

    Our dream became a nightmare.

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    1. The average chiropractor in AK 152,890, OH 114,260, NJ 101,090, NC 100,640. That if from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, if you want to make it work, you have to go get it and work hard.

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    2. I am a female and was 40 yrs old when I decided to advance my education and become a chiropractor. I did the fast track and graduated at the age of 43. December 2008. Had $250,000 educational financial debt (from undergrad and graduate student loans) I had a hard time getting an associateship due to being a female. Most chiropractors wanted a male associate even though its the technique not the strength that does the adjustment. In dec 2010 I finally got an IC position with a chiropractor then in Oct 2011 I left that office because that chiropractor was not fair in honoring our IC contract and I opened my chiro office from scratch, 4 blocks down from his office. Was it tough YES ! My office was bare, Only a chiro drop table and a laptop computer. As I made money I purchased equipment one piece at a time, no xray machine I sent my patients to an imaging center or the hospital to get xrays, my first two years were miserable and I ate peanut butter sandwiches. I was stressed and had chest pains because I was living like a poor person, But in 2013 my income went up as I gained more patients. in 2012 I earned $26,000 in 2013 I earned $64,000 and this year 2014 so far I've earned $70,000. Each year is better and better. (there are a lot of chiropractors in my town with only 30,000 population-18 chiropractors) so if you love chiropractic which I do, in time your income will increase. But don't give up just because the first 5 years suck !!! Any new business the first 5 years suck! I'm 49 now and I'm proud to be a chiropractor. I earn a good living now. YESm It can be done. ~Dr Robin Ellsworth D.C. www.ellsworthchiro.com

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  2. Just out of curiosity, how have you guys been handling the private piece of the chiropractic loan pie. I just don't see the point in paying Sallie Mae $150 a quarter to go towards absolutely nothing but staying in good standing with them. They aren't worth it! Our federal loans are awesome and consolidated and on an "income contingent repayment plan".

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    1. how did you go about consolidating your loans , did you go with a private consolidation firm or through federal programs! I AM SO CURIOUS, i am a

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  3. We only have the one rather large consolidated student loan. It is currently deferred for hardship.

    I suppose we had a Perkins loan that we paid off a looong time ago...it was like $2000. That's all I can remember. We've been out for about 9 years now.

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  4. Thank you for your post.
    Although I agree on the majority of comments you make (I am married and in my final 6 months of DC school) I would encourage readers and potential DC, or any medical profession to continue to do their research and enlighten themselves through as many personal interactions as they can. Although the potential for devastation is high, there are many throughout this nation and in the great nation up North (I am Canadian:)) that do very well for themselves.
    That being said, don't go into Chiropractic, or any field for that matter, with the expectation of financial gain/security. Follow your passion, this is what will get you through life's hardships and truly help you to live a happy and fruitful life, regardless of your paycheck.
    Thanks for listening.
    JS

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  5. JS, Thanks for your comment as well. I can't wait until your chiropractor! My husband just said the other day how silly we feel staying the corse this long knowing "chiropractors have a 80% default rate on student loans." My husband, like you I presume, did not go into chiropractic to get rich- he went into chiropractic because he is smart, passionate, and wants to help people (really help people) with the added bonus that he would surely be able to provide for our LITTLE family. So far he hasn't gotten to help as much as he had hoped and dreamed about and he has only PAID to be a chiropractor. God bless every one of you!! On the other hand, he might as well put a rock band together because that is where his heart truly lies- in jamming! Chiro Rock anyone???

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  6. Chiropractic care is used most often to treat neuromusculoskeletal complaints, including but not limited to back pain, neck pain, pain in the joints of the arms or legs, and headaches.


    orem chiropractic

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  7. This sounds very familiar to me, although I am an acupuncturist rather than a chiropractor...

    I too have over $150K in student loans from three years in a Master's program for acupuncture. I graduated in late 2007 (just before the financial collapse of 2008) and was out of business within a year and a half.

    I actually ended up going back to school and putting myself into MORE debt, just because I couldn't find a job, had burned through my ability to defer my loans, and had no way to make my payments--putting them into in-school deferment was my only option other than default.

    I was lucky enough to find a full-time job once I graduated, but will still struggle to pay my private loans on top of my reduced IBR payments on my federal loans.

    I would caution anyone thinking of going into any sort of alternative medical field to do their due diligence first! I read of couple of articles saying that acupuncturist make six-figures and while that wasn't the reason I decided to get into acupuncture, I figured the loans wouldn't be anything to worry about once I was out of school. I'm glad that more people are finally coming out to tell the real story to prospective students!

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  8. Thank you Kelly. Your contribution here as well is VITAL. I loved your comment!

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  9. Chiropractic is a great investment when you consider it in relation to the “lifestyle” it provides – stability, great relationships, lots of time off, ability to help people, etc. But you’ve got to make the most of it. You’ve got to work at developing a “low stress” practice. You’ve got to maximize your profits. You’ve got to enjoy every day. And that’s the great thing about chiropractic – you are in control of your destiny.

    No matter where you live, there are Chiropractors who are THRIVING! Even recent grads...what does that mean?

    Well, if there are other people doing well in your industry, and you’re not, there’s nothing wrong with the industry, there’s something wrong with you. Most people think the grass is greener on the other side. What’s going to happen if you go into another business is you are going to spend another six months, another year, another two years, learning the technical skills on another industry, so you can go out and repeat the same bad business habits that have caused you to be a failure in the first one... What you need to do, is learn fundamental business skills, once you do that, you can apply those to any industry. But until you learn how to make a business work, it doesn’t matter what industry you go into, you’re still going to fail at it.

    Just my thoughts,
    Paul

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    1. I have been a chiropractor 43 years and have adjusted 2,537,832 1/2 patients. I made $45,601,323 and 18 cents. It was all easy and fun and I only worked 2 hours per day 3 days per week. Everyone loves me... my patients, other doctors, children, dogs, cats... everyone.
      I get just sick when I hear nagging whiners complain that it's just too hard. Talk about a bunch of losers that aren't like me! Be like me. Be honest and work lots and lots. Also, visualize success. Every morning spend 5 hours visualize seeing 341 patients that pay $100 each every day 7 days a week. It works! You loser!!!

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  10. Thank you for your thoughts Dr Paul. I hope you win the election!

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  11. Paul's response is typical of a chiropractor who has to sell the profession. Attrition surveys show that earnings are the lowest of the professional fields, on par with a registered nurse for many and many (50%) end up leaving the field either out of low earnings or dissatisfaction. This was so bad that congress had to change the loan default calculation to only include the first two years of unconsolidated repayment to prevent the schools from closing due to high defaults. Then on top of that, you're not helping people but in reality you're selling a fraudulent, ineffective biomechanical system. So saying a DC degree is a great investment is ludicrous and not reflective of the facts.

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    1. "Attrition surveys show that earnings are the lowest of the professional fields, on par with a registered nurse for many"

      Do RN's make poor money in the US? In Canada a new grad takes home approx $3500 and within 9yrs (at this time) an RN takes home $5k/month. In comparison to costs of living and debt at the end of a degree (50k), I would say that's not low earning. Certainly I'll forget the thought or interest in chiropractics!

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    2. Unknown (?). I have no reason to "sell" my profession, but can tell you have had your own issues and want to blame it anything but you.

      If chiropractic is tough for some that does not surprise me. Not only do you have to have the skills to treat people that are much more rigerous then writing a script, you neew to know how to run a business which many professionals do not know how to do. You have to have good people skills and this combination isn't easy for many people. We have 4 DCs in our town and they are all doing good businesswise. I have a relativily small business, work 4 days a week (with another for all the paperwork) and make an average of $14,000/month gross. I run a relief-care practice and rarely see people more then a few times (many times just once) I may see them more if they have had a serious accident or a herniated disc, but no more then a PT would.
      Has it always easy? Nope! But at this time I love what I do. Chiropractic isn;t for everyone, especially people with thin skin due to the idiots that ignore the research, and the bias of people who have never even been to a DC. But if you like really helping people, then it is a great job.

      And if you think all MDs have such a wonderful job you need to do more research. Many of them rather be doing something else, but after paying for all that school it's really hard to just walk away.

      And lawyers?? Boy, talk about a profession that suffers from minimal jobs and high student loans.

      Dr. Paul was right. Unknown is just a loser who like others to join in his failures. Makes that person feel better. You know the knid of person I;m am talking about.

      Hang in there Sophia. Stay positive (people and go to run away from negative) Go to seminars (NOT marketing seminars, many of who just want to teach bad habits IMO) and meet other DCs and learn.

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    3. This profession has been railroaded for the past 115 years because the results we achieve cannot me bottled in a pharmaceutical agent. The lie, rumor and ignorance is that the system at large is all about money. If you are a whore for the pharmaceutical industry you can't make money. Insurance is owned by the pharm, and PTs they are simply hanging on the coat tails of the AMA mantra hoping to steal the chiropractors place. Why, emulate that which you apparently disdain? Chiropractors have staying power because we aren't bought and paid for by the pharmaceutical industry. All of you thumbsuckers need to wake up and grow up. Chiropractic has survived your best efforts..and will be here when you finally pay the price of ignorance.

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    4. whidbeydc,

      thanks for your thoughts. i, for one, found them to be encouraging and probably the most balanced in this thread. i graduated recently from chiro school at the top of my class. i ran a business before school so had no illusions about it being easy after i graduate, as any business takes a few years to gain enough momentum to run itself. my wife & i were aggressive during school and i graduated with about $65k in debt, less than 1/2 what most my friends graduated with. but that's all business stuff.

      the main reason i left my old profession for chiro school is because my strength is my intelligence & i wanted to use it (i had been a painting contractor). that's where i suppose i'm tempted to feel a private pain in my heart. as chiropractors we rarely face a real challenge inside the walls of our clinic - our greatest challenges are outside the clinic (marketing, overcoming the pain of setbacks, learning to respect & honor our competition etc). Part of me does wish I would have chosen medicine simply because its scope is wider & its diagnoses are far more complex, not to mention you get to play 'doctor' far more than 'entrepreneur.' I know this because i graduated the same year my good osteopathic friend graduated, and she practices a mile down the road from me. i know what she makes ($80K first year, she's told me) and what her days look like (she goes home at 3). they're nothing like the grind or pain I have to face, and the respect she gets from the rest of health care is great (and deserved!). me, well i'm a chiropractor, what do i know?

      in fact, i've found myself saying of our profession that we're 'the manual laborers of health care,' 'bandaid doctors,' and $50 aspirins. I've heard orthopedist openly laugh at our profession for its often buffoonish explanations of what's going on (i have no doubt we help people, but why do so many chiros resort to ridiculous and often misleading explanations?). it makes them money, but it's wrong and hurts those who take it seriously.

      BUT, you're right about what it takes. i'm a hard worker and have invested everything I have, and within 5 months of opening on my own (i left an independent contractor post that was killing me) i'm seeing around 55/wk avg with high weeks up to about 70. i get about 10-14 new patients a week. and because i'm savvy on billing i probably get around $50-$60 reimbursement.

      but darnnit this is rough stuff, working 6 days a week and pouring about 1000/month into marketing and never seeing my 15 month old. and on top of that, we're the rejects of healthcare, despite the fact that many of us are smart and actually care to help.

      i hope you're right! it better be good in the end! : ) = cause i feel too old to start over, and my wife would poison me and collect the life insurance (she told me).

      sorry for going all negative on you, i actually appreciated what you have to say. but there's no doubt there are easier roads. the 3 extra years in med school now seem like a cake-walk. really, just 3 more years (paid years at that). MD is the easier route, though if what you say is true, then perhaps not the most rewarding. and i hope you're right!

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    5. whidbeydc,

      thanks for your thoughts. i, for one, found them to be encouraging and probably the most balanced in this thread. i graduated recently from chiro school at the top of my class. i ran a business before school so had no illusions about it being easy after i graduate, as any business takes a few years to gain enough momentum to run itself. my wife & i were aggressive during school and i graduated with about $65k in debt, less than 1/2 what most my friends graduated with. but that's all business stuff.

      the main reason i left my old profession for chiro school is because my strength is my intelligence & i wanted to use it (i had been a painting contractor). that's where i suppose i'm tempted to feel a private pain in my heart. as chiropractors we rarely face a real challenge inside the walls of our clinic - our greatest challenges are outside the clinic (marketing, overcoming the pain of setbacks, learning to respect & honor our competition etc). Part of me does wish I would have chosen medicine simply because its scope is wider & its diagnoses are far more complex, not to mention you get to play 'doctor' far more than 'entrepreneur.' I know this because i graduated the same year my good osteopathic friend graduated, and she practices a mile down the road from me. i know what she makes ($80K first year, she's told me) and what her days look like (she goes home at 3). they're nothing like the grind or pain I have to face, and the respect she gets from the rest of health care is great (and deserved!). me, well i'm a chiropractor, what do i know?

      in fact, i've found myself saying of our profession that we're 'the manual laborers of health care,' 'bandaid doctors,' and $50 aspirins. I've heard orthopedist openly laugh at our profession for its often buffoonish explanations of what's going on (i have no doubt we help people, but why do so many chiros resort to ridiculous and often misleading explanations?). it makes them money, but it's wrong and hurts those who take it seriously.

      BUT, you're right about what it takes. i'm a hard worker and have invested everything I have, and within 5 months of opening on my own (i left an independent contractor post that was killing me) i'm seeing around 55/wk avg with high weeks up to about 70. i get about 10-14 new patients a week. and because i'm savvy on billing i probably get around $50-$60 reimbursement.

      but darnnit this is rough stuff, working 6 days a week and pouring about 1000/month into marketing and never seeing my 15 month old. and on top of that, we're the rejects of healthcare, despite the fact that many of us are smart and actually care to help.

      i hope you're right! it better be good in the end! : ) = cause i feel too old to start over, and my wife would poison me and collect the life insurance (she told me).

      sorry for going all negative on you, i actually appreciated what you have to say. but there's no doubt there are easier roads. the 3 extra years in med school now seem like a cake-walk. really, just 3 more years (paid years at that). MD is the easier route, though if what you say is true, then perhaps not the most rewarding. and i hope you're right!

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    6. whidbeydc,

      thanks for your thoughts.

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  12. Even when I was still in chiropractic school I could see the folly of opening a practice anywhere within an hours' drive of the school, since a portion of each graduating class for the last 80 years had been doing just that. Many students in their final year bragged about the sweetheart deal of an associateship they had lined up, but every one that came back for a visit after six months or more said it turned out to be a bad deal.

    I managed to set aside some savings while I was in school, and hoped it would be enough to rent some office space, open a practice, and work another job until it brought in some income. When that didn't work, I looked into associateships, and learned that in this part of the country, they paid $9/hr, if you could find one. Since I already had a job that paid more than that, and my schedule would not permit me to do both, I couldn't afford to take that kind of a pay cut. I'm on the IBR plan, and have never made enough money to make a payment. I have two small private loans that I can't make payments on, but I don't have anything they can take.

    While I spent 4 years and more money than I care to think about getting my chiropractic degree, which turned out to be worth $9/hr, I could take a six week course for $300 ($700 with uniforms, books, and fees) and become a CNA. They can't even fill all those positions, and the pay ranges from $12-20/hr.

    dkdc

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    1. I just graduated chiropractic school and I feel sick at the amount of of student loans I have. I tried opening a practice and two months later I'm closing my doors. I just can't afford it. I'm making more bartending at a local hotel a few nights a week than I have from treating the patients I've seen. I am in the process of applying to a 1 year BSN program to get my nursing degree and will eventually get my FNP simply because the IBR is so much easier, and you have the ability to work in an underserved area and get more student loans paid back. I loved the thought of helping people, I just should have stayed with nursing school 4 years ago when I quit and started chiropractic school.

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    2. Sorry it took getting burned by the voodoo of chiropractic to get you into legitimate medicine...but at least you are now practicing science-based medicine!

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  13. HooBoy, I'll be telling my story here soon.

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  14. What about Naturopathic Medicine? There are other forms of alternative health care out there. Lets be real, and lets be honest! We need money to live on and why get into a field that will not allow you to pay off your debt! This is why chiropractic gets such a bad name, and it is sad because there are many Doctors of Chiropractic who are great people and know what they are doing, I think that there are just too many Chiropractors and that is what may be killing the profession. Blame the Chiro schools for this mess!

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    1. Too many DCs? Non sense. Check the numbers. Like any business it will take time to build. If you expect to makes tons of money after opening your doors, then you will be disappointed. EVERY business is like that.

      But being no other profession can do what we do as good as we do it. I am talking about back pain, alonf with spinal pain in general. If your one of these straight DCs that have issues with that cause you want to free the world of the killer subluxation, well, duh. Who beside people like them think that way, the public never has and never will.

      Since back pain affectd just about every person in this country at some time, and 20% all the time,, we do not have a shortage of DCs.

      What we have is a system built and paid for by drug companies and medical lobbiest that will not make it easy for us. You would think that since 90% of pain pills made are taken by Americans, and we are rated 72nd in overall health (WHO), people would see that the medical system has failed. IN fact most medical researchers think maipulation works better then medical care for back pain.

      My point, is that we do not have too many DCs. As a DC you can focus on Muscle work (Graston, ART, NMR), decompression/Cox F/D, Get a diplomate in acupuncture (many states recognize), Nutrition, and many others.

      I know a nurse in my town that does ART only and makes $60 for a 15 min session and she is busy.

      I wish any naysayers here could come watch my practice for a day or two. No gimmicks, no stress, and no hard selling, just treating people (and that crappy paperwork)

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    2. I understand your point, and God knows I agree with you. I live in Horsham, Pa and if you drive down a major street (York Rd) there is a Chiropractor on almost every single block in a 1 to 2 mile stretch.
      Now, with that said...I am going to be totally honest!! MOST PEOPLE BECOME CHIROPRACTORS JUST SO THEY CAN SAY THAT THEY ARE A DOCTOR! Maybe it is becuase they want social status or they just like lying to themselves. It takes a very special person to make it as a DC and many of us should look at ourselves before signing up for the loans and spending my tax money on an education that they know they cant succeed at!

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    3. There wasn't a promissory note ever signed in DC school or any other where the student thinks they can't succeed. Most DCs calling themselves "Doctor" are quickly scoffed and marginalized or brushed aside by society so whoever is seeking the label "Doctor" by going the DC route will be very disappointed at their reception. I agree tax dollars need to stop being flushed down the toilet on useless degrees. Blame the people dishing out not the student. Students are idealistic and ignorant until they are in their field no matter what it is.

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    4. Your right Sophia, I just can't understand why people who take the same courses(Biology, Chemistry, ect, etc) that a person has to take to become a MD or DO just dont go that route? Yes, its longer and harder but at least they will be able to support themselves once they are done.
      I even heard that in Chiropractic College many students have to go out and recruit their own patients? Wow!! If this is the case, a student has to pay large amounts of money to go to the school and then bring in patients so the school can charge them as well! What a scam!

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    5. I doubt most people went to school just to be called doctors. Is that why most people get doctorate degrees? I really doubt it.
      I worked in medicine for over a decade and looking back very glad not to have become an MD. If you think they have it much better then anyone else you are wrong. It's tough for everyone these days and the reason they cannot hang a shingle like the old days is that cannot afford it, so they work in clinics and hospitals to sharer the cost. I prefer to run my own life.
      I never recruited my own patients, but people who did finished clinic sooner and good for them. And the cost was only $10 a visit, so I can't see how any scam is going on since that barely covers cost IMO. Running a business is selling yourself and your practice. It isn't the thing we love to do, but if you think it's not a business first and clinic second you will suffer.
      I have helped so many people who go to MDs that have only one trick and that is prescribe medication and rarely works. That approach has failed and our healthcare system is broken. BUT I am in a position to make a positive change, and I do.
      As far as student loans, they are terrible I know, but every profession like lawyers and doctors, and many others have high cost. This is a universal problem, not a chiropractic one. Unless you live in France or such, you have to pay for school.
      The student laon problem is due to the removal of rights like bankruptcy. It allows banks to lend huge amounts with no accountability, and schools know this and charge high tuition. Now that is the scam.
      Oh, and Jerome, obviously you haven;t been to chiro school if you think it is easy compared to medical school. I'll pit my knowledge about NMS conditions against ANY MD with confidence. They don;t know jack about the subject in general.

      Delete
    6. In all due respect Doctor, many young people do persue upper level degrees in hopes of gaining social status. You dont have to become a doctor to help people. Do you? Now this forum is all about the Chiropractic profession in regards to how it has failed to maintain DC's on a financial level. Again, I believe that DC's suffer becuase there are just too many of them. Can you answer me this question? Why would a DC set up a practice down the block from another DC? How can that tactic help either DC? You dont see DPM's, OD's or NMD's doing that?
      DC's are starving and because of that they have become back bitters. If I was a DC, I would never set up a practice right down the street from my fellow DC who was already there?
      In your post, you admit that students in Chiro schools have to recruit their own patients? So if I live in a city where a chiro school is located then I have a great advantage over my classmates. Now, is that fair? The student loan problem does not seem to affect any other medical professionals but Chiropractors. DC' are great and if there are less of them the profession would again become large. This is my proof....MANY CHIRO SCHOOLS ARE NOT REQUIRING THAT INCOMING STUDENTS HAVE A BACHELORS DEGREE AND A 3.00 GPA. This will get rid of alot of people and thus lessen the amount of DC's.
      To have $150,000 in student debt and be unable to repay it is very scary! I know those DC's who have this debt and cant pay it are afraid to answer the phone!! The chiro schools put a mind job on those people, and I would respect the chiro schools more if they just knocked me over the head and took my $150,000 instead of mind F****ing me.

      Delete
  15. I'm a physical therapist who feels the same way though I didn't know DC was that much worse that PT. After all that schooling to become a doctor of PT and max out at an 85k salary it is all very depressing. I think PT is on the same path to follow DC even though PT is evidence based and more efficacious. Dr John I

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    1. More evidence based and efficacious? You need to read more research and get out once in awhile, but not surprised by your ignorance, it's one of the issues I deal with some MDs still . My practice is certainly evidenced based and I get a LOT of PT "failures" that respond in quick order. Except for active therapy (what lay people call exercise, getting $50 for watching someone exercise must be nice) not much research supports PT. But they are fighting hard in my state to get permission to manipulate, wonder why since it isn't effective?
      I wasn't even trying and pulled in near 180,000k. I see less then 100 a week and charge $40-50 a visit. My intial exams are also $40 for cash. PI cases pay better but only a few of those each month and that's fine, I hate all the paperwork.
      Of course, that's gross, but if you keep down you overhead you will make a decent living.
      For me, as long as I have a roof over my head, enough to eat and can enjoy some adventure once in awhile, what else is there.
      PT is a fine profession if you like working for someone (and many people rather do that then run thier own life/business...I understand), don't take x-rays, diagnose, need a referral from me, or another doc (yes, he is a PhD in PT...over-rated IMO)and except that they do not get to listen to garbage like "not evidence based" or "more effective then exercise" it's a better job for me at least.

      Delete
    2. Bingo! Why do PTs want to manipulate if it doesn't work!!? Sorry you're on here all alone doc, my husband is a DC we have built an incredible practice and get people out of pain every day. We work our **ses off and have since we opened in 2007- oh wait, yep, right before the "financial collapse" in 2008 and we have grown every year, remodeled and expanded the practice at the beginning of 2011 because we couldn't fit in our original lease space anymore. We also have a 5 year old and 2 year old so life goes on outside the practice.

      Don't get me wrong, my husband was barely getting started as an associate when we met. He had huge fears of failure and wondered what it was going to take to turn the corner and get some momentum in his practice. Luckily, he had a positive mentor as a role model so he didn't buy in to all the negative "chiro as a profession doesn't work" stuff. I truly feel for those of you on this thread who have been beaten up by the real world of running your own business. But I hate to break it to you, 95% of all small businesses fail and that just happens to include chiropractors because in general the average person doesn't know how to succeed in business!

      We not only want to continue to heal people and get them out of pain, but because we have watched all but 2 of my husband's chiropractic school friends fail or majorly struggle in their own practices we also want to help other chiros and new chiro grads who don't know how or what it's going to take to succeed in practice. We are franchising our brand. I found this thread looking for stats on % of chiro grads who default on loans or fail in their own practice for some of our marketing materials.

      I'm sure if I post my website etc. I'll get slammed that I'm "selling" my stuff here. Guess what? Being in ANY business means you're selling, if you have a problem with that, it's probably a big reason your practice failed.

      Anyone who happens on here who truly wants to succeed and still has passion for being a DC, just email at my personal email kirstenberkhout@yahoo.com. With our model, it's not will it work? it's how much do you want to make and how hard do you want to work? If you want to work 3 six hour days and golf the rest of the time, that won't cut it as an owner of our brand, but we could place you into a location as an associate and you'll make $5k-$15K easy within 1-3 years just piggy backing off what we do. But if you want to plug in to a proven system that takes care of the business issues and let's you be the doc you went to school to be, that's what we are offering.

      BTW, we aren't lying and gouging people to make it. Our initial is also $40 and we accept all PPO insurance, some HMO, we get paid very well on PI and do a good amount of it. Our business model includes ACU, we would consider an ACU owner but they have to be seriously motivated to promote and partner with a chiro.

      I'm worried for the almost grads or new grads reading all the negative stuff on here- don't let it tarnish your dreams!!

      Delete
  16. Most chiropractors graduate with 150k worth of debt due to the fact that they choose not to work during chiropractic school. School itself only cost about half of that, the other half is used for cost of living. If they decided to work hard during school, their debt would be cut in half. If you were to go to USC for 4 years to earn a bachelors degree, you would be paying about $175,000.

    And yes, it is hard when coming out of school to find a high paying job. But if you look at the medical profession, they have to do clinical rotations for years before they are out in the field on their own and succeeding. Most students think that they can graduate, open up their own practice and be successful without having any knowledge of how to open up a practice, how to manage overhead and staff, how to advertise and market and etc. Then after they fail, they hate the profession, they complain about the student loans and they talk down on chiropractic when in actuality, it was the way they approached everything that caused them to fail. A lot of the successful chiropractors have put in their time, meaning, they graduate, work at a clinic for 3 to 4 years to gain experience and knowledge, not only on the clinical side but also the business side. After completing this training (which you are getting paid for by the way), they go out open up their own practice and succeed. I'm not saying everyone has to do this, but it increases the likely hood that you will be a successful chiropractor and be able to spread the message of true health.

    Yours in health.
    Dr. Q

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    1. Doc's in the medical profession also get paid for doing clinical rounds, while students in chiro college have to pay 30k a year to do their internship and make the college more money by bringing in the patient base. Not exactly comparable. And good luck finding a clinic to work at for 3-4 years that will give you the needed knowledge and experience, you'll just end up being their marketing whore and getting canned after 3 months to a year.

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    2. Dr. Q your spot on though many do not want to hear it. I could not work in chiro school as I was supporting 2 kids and whe the wife worked I sat home and baby sat. Plus, it would have been really hard for me, since the college I went to was tough. I was always studying for test it seemed, and was a 3.5 at a big University before that.

      JBall is right too. I see ads all the time for an associate who they just want to use for marketing that I would never do.
      When you see words in thier ads like
      "Highly motivated" "teamplayer" "subluxation based" run the other way. They probably have to market hard since they chase 9/10 people away with thier scare tactics and hard sell, and yearly contracts.
      Unfortunalty IMO, that was causes many people to fail or hate thier job. Tooo much greed and stress and ol'time chiropractic BS.
      We have people that seem to want to get rich while tearing down our profession, and throwing the DC down the street by telling them that his technique is dangerous while they just click away to pain. Whatever.

      Delete
    3. "Dr. Q your spot on though many do not want to hear it."
      your comment, funny thought! but Dr. Q has every right to say what's on his mind, since this is a free discussion board.

      Delete
    4. Um starzz, he was agreeing with Dr. Q…

      Delete
  17. Thanks for your input Dr Q. I invite you to read the entirety of my blog and tell me where we went wrong. Then again, I fear a bill would be sent my way! ;o)
    I worked through my husbands schooling and we refrained as best we could from unnecessary loans but ended up with what you described above as average. I know my husband was under the impression we could make a viable living...you know, within reason of minimum wage. Alas...that never happened. All of our classmen who took associate positions quit as soon as they could. Are all of them spoiled unrealistic Brats? No. All of them, like us, hoped to at the very least afford to pay for the basic necessities of life. Just incase that varies in inturpretation it means food, shelter, and gasoline. It sounds like you have everything figured out and I have no doubt that you do, but the fact is, MOST graduates don't expect exravegant lifestyles. We just expect to be able to pay our bills. I am almost willing to bet that if you are done with school you actually charge people for the blue print for chiropractic sucess. Am I wrong???

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  18. Sophia,

    You are absolutely right! I am chiropractor from Toronto. I graduated in 2008 and have had horrific associateships in Ontario. I supposedly went to the best school in the world, CMCC. However, besides the great academic curriculum, they do not prepare you for the reality of chiropractic. Besides the fact that most people have concerns about the efficacy of chiropractic, others chiros eat their young! There are too many chiropractors for the small population of people who actually utilize the services. On top of that, you have scumbag chiros like Dr. Q who give you this BS speech about putting your time in, learn the business, etc.... I have had associateships where i did not get paid and had to go to court! I felt like i was working in a cult. Because of business tactics like this, we are marginalized by other healthcare professions and most of the general public. These other chiros coerced people into their 'philosophy' and I don't just mean the philosophy of chiropractic. All these guys, like Dr. Q have their own business philosophy, which they believe is the ONLY correct one to make money. The problem really is the inherent factors that no one mentions before entering school for fear of shame.... Marginalization by society and other healthcare professionals, lack of status, low incomes, etc. Really, do you think chiropractors in general would resort to disgusting tactics if there was an actual need for our services?
    In Ontario, I was fortunate to pay off my loans due to the motor vehicle industry. However, since late 2010 the industry has negatively affected chiropractors in Ontario. There are no longer hourly positions in rehab clinics. That was always an option. Now it's very scary. It's private practice or bust! I think people need to be honest and stopping hiding behind the veneer of BS that is the profession.
    Don't get me wrong, i think the profession is effective. However, it is now at best a very expensive hobby.

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    1. Your right that we have people in the profession that are idiots, so does everyone else. Do you think thier are too many lawyers? Probably not, but we do and they can not find work and have huge loans too.

      DrQ is right though, the first thing we you and other here need to do is stop blaming others and start finding ways to succeed.

      I hear the same thing from so many other professions too, not just mine. I know it's hard to point the finger at ourselves when we fail, but do you really think it's the profession? I was like you too, but after reading as much as possible, getting rid of all that crap the marketing gurus taught me, and getting good at spinal care I became happier and have a nice life.
      Thier is NO DOCTOR, MD or otherwise that knows more about low back pain them me. I made it a point to read, read, and read. Go to good seminars (hint Cox technique) and not marketing ones. Learned ART/NMR, therapy, nutrition related to what I do (I don't sell, just educate). After a few years I am not afraid of anything that walks into my office. The more complicated and difficult the better. Over 40% have been PT and MD failures for months. Get them better quick and see the referrals come in.
      Or you can just sit around and ......do whatever.

      Delete
  19. Wow, you all have effectively pursued me to avoid this profession. I was an associate dean at my college and due to the fact that it is a private school I was shifted into a student affairs position to avoid lay-off when my college made cut-backs. I've been struggling to find a Doc program where I can use my PSY background, experience with patients, teaching experience and somehow be in the medical field. I thought this would be the right career choice after meeting with my Dean who is an M.D. and his brother is a D.C. He raved about the earning potential; use my sports background and opportunity to stay in education. I guess he raves are outdated at best. ....Back to the drawing board. After earning my Masters in PSY I can't afford to take on any meaningless debt.

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  20. I knew people who worked a job and went to school in Cleveland-L.A. and UBCC that came out without having to pay any loans. But when I went to LCCW, the school counselors discouraged us from working, the schedule was designed to keep us in classes 9 1/2 hours a day, which eventually became 12 hours a day once we were in the clinic. I came out owing 135k back in 2006. Today my loan is 186k, no matter what I did, how much I paid, something kept happening and the loan just continued to grow. The best thing that can happen for this profession is for Chiropractors to move into the future, to finally expand our scope of practice and be given limited prescription rights through extra education and training, which BTW, Life, LCCW, and the ICA supporters lobbied to kill in New Mexico. I tried the non-profit route for 4 years but am now getting out of that too due to inefficiency, nepotism, and lack of career growth. Believe it or not, I'm going back to starting up my own Chiropractic venture again to try to get some sort of cash flow going, it's hard not to feel like a loser when no matter how much success I've had (making the headline of the company newsletter), I am still a $9.50/hr champion at best, everyone loves me at work, I'm great with people, but just can't seem to ever get ahead no matter how innovative, productive, and compliant I am or how much hell I raise assertively to push for "change." Good written skills don't seem to persuade in my favor either.

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  21. Wow! I am so sorry to hear all these complaints. I graduated CMCC a few years ago and started my own practice. I have enjoyed a 6 figure income every year working 22 office hours per week and 4 days per week (mon-thurs afternoons only) in Ontario. My town is low income, blue collar. Seems to me that this new generation of Chiropractors thinks because they have spent many years and tens of thousands of dollars, the world owes us a 6 figure income? The world doesn't care what credentials you have. Nobody owes you anything. The truth is if you have that attitude you will definately fail. To succeed you must differentiate yourself from medicine and other chiropractors for that matter. If the public sees a uniqueness in you they will crawl over broken glass to get to your office. If you are just like everyone else, you are a commodity and it doesn't matter who they go to. I have at least a dozen patients that commute over an hour to my office and pass literally dozens of other chiropractic offices just to get a 2 minute adjustment. If you really want to learn how to build a practice, leave a reply and contact information, I will make arrangements to talk to you. Be willing to set your ego aside. I am not a practice management guru...just a normal successful chiropractor who hates to see chiropractors fail. I love this profession.

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    1. Hey Doc,

      Been out about two years now and finally built up the courage to start my own practice. Been open two weeks now and have been trying everything I can think of to get patients in the door with very little success. I love chiropractic and am in it for the right reasons. I would really like to take you up on your offer and speak with you sometime. Please send me an email at dwoj26@hotmail.com. Thanks in advance!

      Delete
    2. I've met a lot of CMCC grads since 2006 that can't take home more than 40k a year and they were all bright and good looking people that are out hustling. I also know in this profession there are a lot of big fish stories. I spent some time in Ontario, Chiropractic has a negative image there because of the stroke case that went national in the country, the public would rather go to a physical therapist, and insurance hardly compensates in that province - Chiropractors are nearly forced into a cash based practice and to redefine their image in a place where the cost of living is the 2nd highest out of all the provinces in Canada, Vancouver being the 1st.

      Delete
    3. B.C. where Vancouver is located is the most expensive province in Canada to live. Having spent some time in Toronto, I know money doesn't go very far in Ontario, too much taxes and inflation in that country.

      Delete
    4. 2 minute adjustment? Your lucky I am not in your town. I might not have your charisma (you must have a lot to convince people 2 minutes is enough time except to pop and pray) I have a few stop and pops in my town and they are my best advertisment.

      Delete
    5. joebonano2013@gmail.com- My name is Joseph Bonano and I am on the job hunt as well as thinking about Chiropractic school. a Few reasons, 1) I genuinely care about changing someone's life 2) Making connections with everyday people 3) I enjoy learning about the body and collaborating with a team of skilled D.C's lastly, I may not be the student with the highest GPA but I certainly bust my hump and think creatively. Additionally, I believe if you want to be a "BEAST" in any profession, one can make it happen, whether you work as a coach, PT, OT, MD, DC, salesmam, etc...I just graduated with my BS in Applied Exercise Physiology and I already have the mind set that I won't get rich my first year, what do I know about "making money", I just care a lot about helping people feel better and live a better well-balanced life...and if you have the energey and enthusiasm to do so, you'll be successfull...thanks hope to hear from you soon about how to run a smooth business!!!

      Delete
  22. Congratulations GB and thanks for your comment. I find it fasinating that you feel new grads expect big numbers out of school. Honestly, when my husband signed promissory note after promissory note I am sure he was confident that the new graduate could at least pull in 30-60K given the income to debt ration one accrues. It is nonsensical to expect less than an appropriate income potential. You are right, nobody owes anyone a living and that becomes a reality the moment one walks the stage and passes their boards and obtains their licensing which ALL COSTS MONEY. One has to have a mixed bag of confidence and expectation to do well to actually do well. The troubling thing is YOUR situation is extremely rare. Like winning the lottery rare!! If you think otherwise you need to do some research. Chiropractors are busting their ass right out of school, sacrificing comforts, and sometimes marriages to accomplish a take home of $10 an hour after years of effort. In fact, in my opinion, any chiropractor taking home $10 an hour 40 hours a week is succsessful and amazing at this point.
    I love a successful chiropractic story as much as the next and allow the opines here. Just trust me when I say their stories are miracles and are usually lacking the fact someone financed them or they had connections the rest of us lacked.

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    1. Actually, I was married all through Chiropractic school, nobody financed us-we just signed the big bad bank loan to get things going, and I had a 9 month old child to support at graduation. I had no poor me attitude, I saw it as an opportunity to bust my ass and make it work. The only difference between my situation and yours is when I fail...I blame myself, not the world. It is not a miracle...I know of hundreds of other successful chiropractors.

      Anyway I think you missed the message...life is tough. If you truly want help, leave a method of getting in touch with your husband and I will show him the formula to make it work. No cost to you.

      I will leave you with my favourite Bill Gates speech:
      Rule 1: Life is not fair - get used to it!

      Rule 2: The world won't care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.

      Rule 3: You will NOT make $60,000 a year right out of high school. You won't be a vice president with a car phone until you earn both.

      Rule 4: If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.

      Rule 5: Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your grandparents had a different word for burger flipping: they called it opportunity.

      Rule 6: If you mess up, it's not your parents' fault; so don't whine about your mistakes, learn from them.

      Rule 7: Before you were born, your parents weren't as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you were. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent's generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.

      Rule 8: Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life HAS NOT. In some schools, they have abolished failing grades and they'll give you as MANY TIMES as you want to get the right answer. This doesn't bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.

      Rule 9: Life is not divided into semesters. You don't get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you "FIND YOURSELF". Do that on your own time.

      Rule 10: Television and video games are NOT real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.

      Rule 11: Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one.

      Delete
    2. GB, May I ask:

      1. Did your wife have a job, whether part- or full-time, while you were studying in chiropractic school? If she was not working, was she a student?

      2. Has your wife been working since you've graduated and been licensed as a chiropractor?

      Also:

      Thank you for posting Bill Gates' rules. While I have seen and read them before, I, and I'm sure others as well, appreciate reading them again.

      Unfortunately, many chiropractors are led into looking at or focusing on the negative. This could be in part because the real world still many times views chiropractic as strictly a niche market within healthcare, oftentimes heightening perception of marginalization.

      You have inspired my curiosity: Have you ever read the book or seen the film "The Secret"?

      Delete
  23. GB even though you insult me with your tainted view that *I* blame ANYONE for our situation or the world as you put it- I approve your comment. It's refreshing to know you made it with a spouse, bank loan and a smile!
    I still maintain that those entering the profession don't use your story as an inspiration to sign all those promissory notes. Not wise.

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    1. Sophia,
      Your blog is the best I've ever read on Chiropractic. I like the way Chiropractors post negative and positive comments. Even when some Elitist Chiropractors downright insult you, you still stay kind, considerate, and strong in your positions. Just having a person like you and a blog like this is enough help to get some suffering grads and long-term Chiropractors through another day, month, year, decade. I pray that God continues to send the Spirit of Truth to you so you can continue to encourage, spiritually grow, and be encouraged. Bless you

      Delete
    2. Mr./(Dr.?) Eagle:

      Amen. Thank you for your encouraging post and for offering deserved praise to Sophia. I know you both have helped my perspective already and surely countless others' in addition.

      Many blessings to you too.

      Delete
  24. Actually Bill Gates never spoke or wrote those words, read about the original source here:

    http://urbanlegends.about.com/library/bl_bill_gates_speech.htm

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  25. Wow - I am also a chiropractic wife and am so glad I found your blog! I just blogged about my feelings a few minutes ago on another site and thought I would share with you.
    (Oh and to GB - we did bust our A$$ - 3 times....as did many of his classmates...and it just didn't workout.)

    My husband graduated from Western States Chiropractic in the mid 2000′s. We have NEVER made enough money to pay any of our financial aid and we now owe over $200K with no hopes of making payments. Right now my husband works in a call center…a FRICKEN CALL CENTER! (Guess who wants to hire a chiropractor? No one) He got used and abused by Associate Doctors and then went out on his own to fail 3 times in 3 different cities! We lost everything, including our hope.

    My husband recently connected with old classmates via facebook, and only about 5% of them are out on there own and making it. The rest changed careers, just gave up and took menial jobs, or still work for crappy Associate doctors.

    We have no clue what we are going to do. We maxed out financial aid – so there is no hope of going back to school. I guess we could sell he rest of our belongings and drive to Vegas and bet it all. Probably would have better odds of making some money then at Chiropractic.

    And those of you that think…that wont happen to me! It can. We did all kinds of marketing, hired all the gurus, spent thousands on marketing and nothing in return. We humiliated ourselves with all kinds of external marketing, free massages, workshops, classes, presentations…bleah. Tired of this.

    I hope that someone starts a class action law suit against these Chiropractic schools that make all these false claims about the piles of money that will fall from the heavens. Bullshit.

    I guess there is hope in knowing we are not alone. But, what we do next is the hard part…I wish I would have know all this before hand.

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    1. I am also a Chiropractor's wife (recently graduated within the last couple years.) We are currently living with my in-laws (that in and of itself can drive one to drink) and I work full time as a restaurant manager and we can STILL barely pay our bills. Not to mention my husband is depressed and burnt out from the loss of his dream to provide for his family. In all the research we've done, there is NO light at the end of the tunnel for us or our debt without him going back to school. AV - I am glad that you said something about a class action lawsuit. I feel that these schools are criminal. Trust me, I am the last one to resort to "abusing" the law system, but I remember the school telling these hopeful graduates when they entered (even at inquiring Admissions) that they would all be making 6 figures easily. I have spoken to employees that work for the school as well and even they agree that these applicants are being coerced in with false hopes and unrealistic outcomes, like sheep to a slaughter. They have literally FLOODED the area we live in with Chiropractors by accepting way too many applicants - some that don't even have the proper prerequisites (my husband went to school with many people that were Art majors in Undergrad or hadn't taken basic anatomy courses!) I agree with you and hope that someone does start a class action suit; not even to necessarily "relieve our debt". We take full responsibility for that. But these school have to stop setting these students up for failure and financially raping them at the same time.

      It is nice to know we are not the only ones experiencing this. As a wife it is comforting to read how others have dealt with the same issues. My husband and I have had so many arguments about Chiropractic and the future of our family and household. We have made it through them, but there have been times I felt this career was going to be the downfall of our marriage for all the stress it has put on us. Thank you all for sharing, whether good or bad, it has helped me to read your stories as well.

      Delete
    2. I remember one of my priorities through it all the first 2-3 years post grad was to do EVERYTHING I could to make sure my husband didn't get into a depressed funk and pull our little family into an abyss of despair. I succeeded. Lot's of communication and a lot of love making! It is so much more important than any career! He has been teaching high school science now and he seems happy and fulfilled. If we could afford to maintain his DC we would. Perhaps in the future we can resurrect it! I love the benefits of chiropractic for us. I just wish we didn't own an imaginary house and boat in student loan debt to accomplish this!

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    3. Dear AV, cvrgrlsf and Sophia,
      I'm the wife of a Chiropractor and he has been in the field for 20 years. We did fine for many years though I think he could have spent more time networking and advertising, the business side has never been his strong-suit. The last 5 years have devastated his practice. There are chiropractors in town who are doing OK but one chases personal injury and one works out of his house. Those who keep their expenses down seem to succeed.

      I'm speaking to the young chiropractors who are not yet in debt with a professional building and high expenses, don't do it. Not until you all get involved to bring this profession into the realm of "profession" will Chiropractors be respected. There are too many DC's using Chiropractic to heal with magic stones or gongs for the profession to solidify and come out as strong as other health care professions. The Canadian model of Chiropractic is much more successful, we need to take a look at how they're doing it. What your profession needs is leadership.

      Sadly, my husband had opinions about it, but he never taught, he never wrote articles, he never got involved. He just watched his profession slide into oblivion. There is an opportunity now for holistic doctors to make a difference but you have to be organized as young people. And fight for your right to heal.

      My husband has a nice building (we paid rent for 15 years and just bought this building in 2009, poor timing.) and an office manager who has made more money than he does consistently for the past 5 years. He has always thought "next year would be better" and he needed her for collections. Insurance companies are killing him, the lack of respect for his profession is doing quite a job on his ego, and though he knows he helps people, making less than $30k a year has brought him to his knees. Now he has lost his two massage therapists (they're going to practice in cheaper space). He cannot carry this building with his practice bringing in only 12 patients a day.

      What am I saying to young people? Unless you want to fight for this profession, find another one. If you are or in debt, or you're married to someone $150,00 in debt, I think your only choice is yet another degree in health care, or bankruptcy. It's not going to get better any time soon with insurance companies paying less and less to anybody (including orthopedics) and people spending all their health care dollars on policies that pay for nothing. I do think the schools should be stopped in their tracks for lying to their students. Enough is enough.

      For the wives or husbands of DC's, this is a very painful thing to watch - you are tempted to blame your spouse for not trying hard enough, for not networking, for not promoting. I have been in that boat for many years. Blame gets you nowhere and it brings your spouse lower. Married for better or worse. If you can, help your spouse get out, get started in a new profession. Or get ready to fight for this profession as a whole. It's going to take really dynamic, motivated, young people to organize and bring this profession to the level it deserves. As a rightful partner in health care.

      Delete
    4. AV and cvrgrlsf, I would love to be a part of that class action lawsuit. The schools just won't stop cranking out chiropractic students. My husband has also experienced seeing prospective students being lied to about income figures.

      How can chiropractors get into a different profession when they have no other skills/experience/knowledge and money to go back to school?

      Thanks.

      Delete
  26. I know this scenario for sure. I went to Palmer Florida and worked as associate for a few years relying on promises etc. for making good money. Never made more than 36K/year... You cant support a family, pay bills and make student loan payments on that. The Owner was surprised when I told him we were on food stamps. I took a job with a PI clinic and made more money but now the law in Florida has changed so there is no more money from PI any more.

    Seeing that now DCs are 2nd class providers, no way to make money any more.

    I am from a pretty "straight chiropractic" background so it took a long time to arrive at this. DCs need expanded rights to survive, otherwise we will be relegated to nothing more than PT assistants.

    MDs have a lot more options for work. Hospitals, private clinics, gov't work etc. No one in healthcare si making money anymore.

    DCs have an education that is on par with MDs. I have met quite a few MDs out in the world and they are no more than symptom sorters. We need to loose the inferiority complex and get ready to be there in health care.

    The only people I went to school with who are doing well in Chiropractic are people who walked into a family members practice or who had money from other sources

    If i had stayed in the call-center I would have been making a lot more without the student loan debts

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 2nd class providers? No way to make money? Nonsense. I run a practice without long treatment plans and relief care based, and was making 100,000 by my 3rd year. I spend 15 minutes a patient too on average. I know DCs charging $60 a visit and some $70 doing ART. I charge 40 to 60 depending what I do. And I averaged $15,000 a month seeing less then 100 a week. So I know I can do better, and always am.
      If you think you are the only profession that is suffering in healthcare your not meeting and talking with many others. MDs have it worse then me I think as they have a lot more to deal with. Many won't even take new Medicare pts anymore cause they don't pay enough for them to survive.
      And you want more scope like drugs or surgery? Then add another $100,000 a year to your bills for Malpractice.
      Your first mistake was being straight, as was mine. Except for a few DCs that are great car salesman, it's too much stress to run a practice trying to change the world. Try getting someone pain free in two visits (on average, thier are those pesky HNP cases too)and see them line up wanting to see the doc that dosen'tt scare them into lifetime care, but treats them the way they should be treated, llike they would want to be treated. Adjust on the first visit? Why not, that's what I would want. No time to teach them everything about chiropractic during the ROF....that's a good thing. 90% of people do NOT care no matter what the DC Gurus tell you. Later if they are interested, let them in on it. MDs don't sell people on the germ therory during a mandatory night class do they? Think they would be with few returning patients. MDs are not symptom sorters as much as they are drug pushers. At least that what a patient told me today (she's a Navy doc).

      Delete
  27. Hello all,

    Okay, so I have read this blog as well as all the comments. There is only one word that will describe how I am feeling.... "scared".

    I am nearing graduation at Simon Fraser University (FYI, I live in Canada)and constantly stressing about what I should do. I have shown interest in Chiropractics, but after much research, which also led me to this blog post, I have become very intimidate by views of others as well as the "statistics". The truth is, I have applied to University of Western States and I have been accepted to start this Spring 2013. I have decided to defer my starting date to Fall 2013 in order to apply to the Chiro school in Canada as well as think about my future some more. Frankly, I have just been paranoid and stressed about whether this is a good profession or not, and I just need some pointers and reassurance of what I should do. I know it all comes down to what I want, but I just want something that will ensure me a good future that would provide for my life, my future family, etc.

    I have actually thought about other professions, such as physiotherapy. However, it is way more competitive to get into. In fact, physiotherapy has been my first choice, but I put it off because I thought there was no chance of me getting into it. I just started considering it again because of all the research I am getting about Chiropractics. It's just weird because Physio is 2 years, cheaper, BUT WAY MORE COMPETITIVE, and Chiro is 4 years, MORE expensive, BUT WAY MORE EASIER TO GET INTO. I'm just so confused!!!

    I could ramble on WAY WAY MORE, but I think I'll just leave it here for now and see what type of feed back I get from all of you bloggers first. Please.... help me =(....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. For what it is worth in addition to being a Chiropractors Wife I have been a Medical Assistant in the Allopathic USA for 14 years. I **JUST** paid my last student loan payment for the cracker jack career college Medical Assistant diploma that I paid 2/3rds less for that long ago! The wages are still the same as they were 14 years ago too so people getting my same "diploma" paying 3 times as much are screwed. One can actually be an MA under the direction of an MD or PA or FNP WITHOUT THE SCHOOLING. You just have to find someone willing to show you/take you under their wing/make them yours.
      The problem is the cost of education and avoiding our dream job despite it or ignoring the fees and doing it anyway only to find no sustainable income in said career at the end of the day. It isn't just chiropractic!
      THAT being said I truly believe you should do what makes you happy. Just go about it differently. Make friends now. If you go into chiropractic you need relationships that are valuable. We have pals who made friends with a doc in TN who held their hand, financed them, got them on their feet, and allowed them to pay them back. Not a company. Not a coach. A friend. MAKE FRIENDS. If it is physio the same rule applies. Do your best and take a physical therapy job, or work in an office or massage therapist area as a peon. You will usually build the relationships you need and see if it is something you really enjoy doing all day. Some of theses professions are not worth it even if you do get in and done. My RN pals all have moved on to be Nurse Practitioners, PAs, or Nurse Anesthetist because of the unsatisfactory conditions of healthcare today. My husband is a teacher.
      You can be a chiropractor just go slow...don't take out loans...work through school and make valuable friendships.
      Don't freak out Buddy! You will figure it out and it will be great! Do what you love, life is short!

      Delete
    2. I've been doing this for a long while, and I can tell you that chiropractic is a far more rewarding direction to go. You can make at least 100k to 500k or more with just some knowledge, but mostly passion on how to do things in the field to be successful. I need an associate to show them how to make it in chiropractic, and leave in two years to do so. I do straight insurance and personal injury, with no cash practice schemes, and no associating with practice building groups. Just smart, hard work, and knowing how to build procedures that work. Reach me anyone here with an opportunity to learn how to do well in chiropractic. Shoot, work here for a few years and LEARN. Stay if you want, or move on and use the skills to be successful. I love to help people!

      Delete
  28. Wow. I was seriously thinking about heading back to Chiropractic school until I found this and subsequently began looking around for more tremors in the profession.

    My fiance is entering a DO program next year and I am returning to school after finishing a BA in the humanities. So far all A's in the Chem/Biol/Calc for the first semester at a school with 15k students.

    I was between PT and Chiro, but now I think I will work harder and do PT. The admission requirements for Chiro confused me since they didn't seem to exist. The requirements for PT, on the other hand, were delineated and clear. I may also decide to pursue podiatry but that will mean taking the MCAT. We will see.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I refer to PTs sometimes, though it is usually just to support a case. I see people all the time that had no help from PT for months and get them out of pain in short order. The PTs ae fighting for the right to manipulate since they know how effective it is. They are even telling themselves that they invented it now, as I heardmentioned at one of thier seminars...funny) As far as admission, depends on the school, some being more stringent. But believe me chiro school is no easy task, unless you just want to get by and fail a few classes. PTs do not do x-rays, do not diagnose, and need a referral. But you have to do what makes you happy, just don't listen to one case of failure and think it is the norm. I can sight a podiatrist working at McDonalds that defaulted on his student loans in Texas (Studentloan justice.org)

      Delete
    2. Hi there,

      Why do you CONSISTENTLY write "thier"? Is it a new word in the english language? You must mean THERE or THEIR.
      Maybe it is? I am a Norwegian, so what do I know??

      Best regards a former chiro-student who only did a year (thought the education as well as the job ITSELF was/is big-time BS (TOO MANY IF's, MAYBE, POSSIBLY, MOST LIKELY, PRESUMABLY)), and fulfilled my childhood dream to become a commercial pilot. After a couple of years flying, it became no more than a regular job as well (medical evacuation northern Norway), but I know that if I had fulfilled my Chiro-school, I would on a daily basis wonder how life as a pilot would be. As a pilot I once in a blue moon wonder about the chiro-life. I guess I should be gratefull I heeded my "inate intelligence/inner senses" and integrity (I would not have been able to look my patients in THEIR (that is how you write it) eyes.. After reading this, I do not mind working nights, weekends and in extreme demanding weather-conditions.. Thanks Sophia for putting my mind to rest. The grass IS in fact greener up here in Norway. At least for 3-4 months of the year! ;-)

      Delete
    3. In 2009 my Chiropractic Clinic collected over a million dollars - just over a million. The problem with most people in this profession is that they expect to come out of school and hang a shingle and that is it - MONEY. Doesn't work that way.

      Things have slowed somewhat since 2009 but I can tell you that being a DC has been the most profitable decision of my life.

      Delete
    4. Admirable. However, we all know that collections vs what you actually take home are two different story's. The problem is people expect to make a living period when they get out of school....Eat, shelter, pay loans back. That would be nice. Working hard is only 1/2 the battle...you have to have resources and opportunity.....

      Delete
    5. You hit the nail on the head precisely! A very delayed THANK YOU for stating the obvious (that working hard in chiropractic is not enough without BOTH opportunity AND resources(!!) ) & what I personally have been known to state to others several times already. And still, at the end of the day, chiropractors are often tapped out, unrecognized, & marginalized, just as you & others have said. All that b.s. the chiro schools teach/preach that chiropractic has been becoming more & more accepted as a mainstream modality of healthcare: on WHICH planet? In which lifetime? Not this one. You are right, it's beyond ridiculous, it's atrocious, deplorable.

      Delete
  29. Dear chiro wife,

    Thank you so much for your insights and honesty. How is your husband's practice going now? Are you going to update your blog soon?

    ReplyDelete
  30. I graduated in 2006 and my husband in 2007 from NYCC...I started our practice right after graduation, opening the doors January 2007...we have had a spectacular experience!! It has been a lot of hard work, and yes the first 2 years were difficult and I really wasn't able to pay myself...luckily my husband was able to work as an associate to bring enough money in to live, but by the middle of the 3rd year my husband was able to join the practice and we have been thriving and growing ever since!! In 2011 we paid ourselves 120,000...and in 2012 that number increased to135,000 plus...:we are in the process of looking for an associate right now. I based our practice on evidence based tecniques...focusing on the Graston Technique...and becuase of our treatment philosophy we have very solid referral sources from many of the local MD's...stop the boohooing and get to work!! Nothing worth doing is easy, and you can't expect to have everything right out of the gate! Thats whats wrong with our country today...no one wants to work hard to get anything!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. K buk.... amazing chiro Grads are working hard. Very hard. Sacrificing even the basic necessities of life and getting nowhere before and after graduation. Only in this profession does it take working as hard as you have to be at the point 7 years later to hire an associate! Congratulations. It doesn't make it a wise return on investment. Are you even aware of the numbers? Not one graduate expects patients to fall in their lap. At Logan they tell you flat out you have to work hard. Graduates do just that and get nowhere fast. Consider yourself lucky, blessed, and more likely leaving out a part of your story which serves noone if it inspires anyone to pay 200K for chiro school in the USA. THAT is the problem. Not a lack of students working hard before or after graduation.

      Delete
  31. My experience was certainly different. Not sure what I made the first year, but after ten years I make around $180,000 a year. Before anyone says that I must be over treating or charging high fees, I do neither. I have come a long way in my practice philosophy since graduating and love my practice.

    I rarely do treatment plans, but instead "play it by ear" for most clients. In other words, I am into relief or the clients pain and do not spend time trying to make them understand everything I do about chiropractic or spend hours educating them on things 90% do not really care about. I also do not market at fairs or give free chicken dinners:)

    I do my best to give them what they want, pain relief, and will tell them how long it can take for their case. I leave it the rest to them and they love it.

    People come back because they have the high pressure, scare tactics so many DCs use. If you treat them right, they come back, and more importantly refer friends and family.

    My marketing is nil. It consists of a newsletter and making people feel good about coming in, no matter how often.

    I graduated in 2000 and my undergrad and chiro loans totaled $70,000. I did borrow to support my family of three though and that ran it up some more.

    I practice in medicine for years and have never felt like I have helped people as much as I do now. You want to be an MD? Fine. You will be limited to prescribing pills, and see a lot of addicts who just want pain pills. That is their primary weapon. Orthopedics? Fine, if you want to do back surgeries and have many people coming back wanting to know why they are worse or no better. I'm sure they also have a high student loan, a very high malpractice rate, and many other cost. Unless you work in certain fields, it is pretty tough for them too, I know.

    ReplyDelete
  32. PART2: I can do adjustments (that most all PTs are wanting to do now, as well as DOs saying they are just like DCs...NOT!), Active release, acupuncture, exercise therapy, and nutrition if I wanted. That is quite a strong armament in the care of people. More than most general practioners.

    Do we have issues within our profession? You bet. On our side we have an inferiority complex, but what we do is worth so much more then what is offered for NMS conditions. It kills me to see a DC offering $20 for a first visit, only with the agenda of getting them to sign a yearly contract (do they really need a year to feel better?) Then you have to keep them excited for a year or feel like they wasted their money (too much stress IMO)
    All this makes us look cheap, no other profession I know give services away like some DCs. And then we wonder about our image?

    And we are still bridging the gap in being accepted by the mainstream with bias MDs and others. But that is changing, and will change as long as we show them that we can do the job better than anyone and we don't need a year to do it, or tell them that we are saving the world removing subluxations. You'd think after over 100 years we would see this doesn’t work. WE can be proud about our history, but we don’t have to live in the past, that we are selling out by not being so straight and principled as some claim to be. The same ones who spend 60 seconds with a client and think they are being good doctors. Whose basis their success on the numbers of people they run through their office in a week, not by the results they see.

    I could go on and on I think. And I really don't think we have too many DCs. Most guidelines recommend what we do as the first line of treatment for back pain (and if being known as a back pain expert is a sell out, you are in denial)and with back pain being the 2nd biggest reason people see a MD, if we will stop all this wellness lingo, fat loss, and other unrelated treatment done for more money, we would have a huge shortage of DCs. 20% of people have chronic back problems and they will gravitate to what works best for them and who takes the best care of them without the car salesman pitch about the killer subluxation, and that is why I make a good living being a DC.

    As far as student loans? Join the club. I least I can make enough money to pay it, there are a ton of lawyers, and people with degrees in social sciences that are working for minimum wage and barely getting by, or defaulting. I know many medical students that either did not complete the school, or could not make payments either.

    ReplyDelete
  33. k Buk it right though. Student loans like I said before are terrible, but they are that way for MANY students after graduation. Just go the the lawyer blogs and see what profession is suffering more than any. I know people graduating with a BA and are 100,000 to 200,000 in debt (what?).
    At least we have the potential to make enough to get by (usually).
    Can it to hard, trust me, I know it can. Due to the interest I will have a hard time with my loans, but not as hard as many, many others.
    Check studentloanjustice.org. Join the fight in restoring basic rights to student loans. I pay $20,000 in interest every year, but can only claim $2500? I cannot lower my interest rate, and with no trust in lending and no usery right we have a serious issue.
    That being said, we have a great potential and always have to be a leader in NMS conditions ( I can hear the principaled docs crying out). It's what we do better than anyone and we should act like it instead of giving away our services, signing people of for care they don't want, and gaining respect by our peers by getting people better in the least amount of visits as we can. Trust me they WILL come back and refer. And you will make money.
    Do you think someone wants to refer to a DC that signs them up for a year for $5000, or one that took thier pain away in 2 visits and let them go. When was the last time when someone said "when should I come back" and the DC said " whenever you want to." When I started doing that, bingo was his name-O.
    If all else fails read "happier than a billionaire." It was written by a DC that got tired of working the office routine, and maybe dealing with the idiots that say "but your not a real doctor" :) It's funny and it was her way out of a life she wanted changed, like many people do.
    Hell, if all else fails for me, I'm just going to pick up and move overseas and live a life that may be less then I hoped, but the idea of no paperwork trying to get paid by these ever increasing hostial insurance companies sounds like paradise:) And I bet I'll find many other professionals as company, even a few MDs, and more then a few lawyers, LOL.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Hi everyone!
    I have the solution. I think that the government should step in and tell all the schools that in order to get approved for student loans they must show a 70% of grads with jobs, success etc. Why is it a different than a credit card? I would also tell the schools that for past loans they will be on the line for half. That is the only way. Hit the schools in their pockets.
    Sincerely the husband of a chiro

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bravo! I couldn't agree more, except that maybe it should be more like 85-90% of grads with successful jobs IN THE CHIROPRACTIC FIELD, and that the schools should be on the hook for 75% or more for past loans. But maybe the financial loan companies that collaborate with and fund the schools should be the ones to enforce such approval-regulations, not necessarily the government itself. Chiropractic schools are private schools (not state-run schools), so why should the loans be solely or mostly government-run??

      Delete
  35. Wow, that was a lot of info and personal experience stories. I have a few questions that weren't quite answered on all the previous posts. I too am currently considering a DC from University of Western States. I like this school because they offer a masters in exercise and sports science concurrent with the doctorate of chiropractic degree. I graduated college with a bachelors of science in exercise science in 2006. Instead of using my degree, I bought a commercial fishing permit and now operate a setnet salmon fishing operation in Bristol Bay Alaska. My questions are, 1) would the masters degree offered concurrently help my prospects of employement and/or money making potential? and 2) How would things be different for a graduating chiropractor who holds no debt? I ask this because, while the stories of huge debt and bleak work opportunities are scary, I will be able to keep my salmon operation going in the summers and I make enough from the salmon season to pay for school out of pocket. I am interested in chiropractic because I enjoy the idea of having my own, low stress, office sometime in the distant future. I also am interested in helping injured people recover with the help of physical therapy. I have worked at a PT clinic before with L&I back patients. The ones who actually wanted to get better could have benefited greatly from an adjustment before their workouts... I always tried to strengthen their muscles in a way that would naturally re-align them, but an adjustment would have made that a lot easier. Anyway, sorry for being so long-winded, I have a lot of questions and concerns about chiropractic school at this moment. My e-mail is RJDEAGLE@Yahoo.com if any practicing or non-practicing chiropractors have useful info for me. I will also be checking back on this blog. Thank you for the help!
    p.s. I like this blog, seems like a good place for non-biased info.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If debt truly isn't an issue I say go for it! It sounds like you could actually get done and make a decent living at the very least providing chiropractic care/therapy to your ever existing fishing network. Worst case that tanks you can teach.

      Delete
  36. Hi, I've enjoyed reading your blog. I can relate to a lot of what you talk about. I graduated in 2006. and chiropractic has caused me much angst since then. Interviews, rejections, opening my own office, positive interviews willing to hire me and even discussing salary but never getting back to me, working for practically nothing, etc. you know what I'm talking about.
    anyhow, I've reached my limit, I don't expect to ever make a living with this degree, and all I mean is paying a few bills every month.
    Instead, I feel that life after my degree has been battle after battle, I'm worn out and burnt out. Chiropractic is not an accepted profession, (most people prefer to go to a PT, the process is clearer to them) I never thought that I would have to champion for the profession, I expected that the chiropractic associations would address the PR and insurance (lack of) issue.
    I would like advice and have some questions. I am seriously considering a full time 35 hr/wk job probably low pay $10 hr as a receptionist at a non for profit clinic where there are other clinicians utilizing the student loan forgiveness program after 10 years (and the loan is not considered taxable income unlike the 25 yr option). I have $131k in stafford loans. or is there a max allowed in stafford loans. has anyone considered becoming an occupational therapist? I would only do it if I don't have to take out any personal loans.
    Please help? I can go on & on. but this will suffice for now, and it's not much different than your story.

    Thanks,
    The chiropractor wife, we have 4 kids

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The first step is to take a deep breathe and clarify your desires. Your desires sound like ours....simple. You want to be able to have a roof over your head and be able to pay for you basic necessities of life with maybe a family vacation once a year in addition to being able to buy food, clothes, and pay for all the public school your 4 kids are engaged in. The fact is, you have options. For us, it was me (the wife of a chiropractor) having to work 20-36 hrs a week in healthcare where I had already been established as a Medical Assistant for years. I had to make peace with the fact I would be needing to work for the rest of my life and it isn't bad. My husband is still having hurdles just trying to freakin teach HIGH SCHOOL math and science. It is ridiculous and I am surprised more chiropractic grads aren't blowing their brains out over their situations. I would argue with anyone that says a chiro grad situation is not unique. It is. You are tapped out, unrecognized, and still needing more school to do anything or be legit in society. Other degrees you fail to make a living your transcripts are still viable and you can teach, take grad jobs etc etc My husbands "Bachelors of Life Science" isn't even recognized by anyone. They are like, "WTF?" So he has applied to the University of Utah and I doubt we will be able to pay for it but we will try. Income contingent student loan repayment options have saved our ass. So did chapter 7 bankruptcy. My advice sucks...but atleast you know you aren't alone. I validate your situation and am still waiting for CNN to call me back to do a special on Chiropractic. But your comment today has reignited my mission and I will be emailing several news outlets in an effort to shed light on the matter.

      Delete
    2. Hi I am the Husband of a T-8 chiro student and there is one major point I would like to make about the professional world and the cost of a degree. As someone who graduated with a BFA in graphic design I can tell you the working world can be a real grind no matter your degree. I am going to lay out three scenarios below outlining the path of a graphic designer (me), a chiropractor (my wife), and a med student (wife's best friend).

      The path of a graphic designer:

      State school (MN): $15,000/yr , includes tuition and board
      = $60,000 total
      Add $30,000 more if you go to grad school

      Private, Art school, or large college : $30,000/yr, includes tuition and board
      = $120,000 total
      Add $60,000 more if you go to grad school

      Thats $60,000 - $180,000 to be a graphic designer. Only the top 25% of designers make $42,000+ a year in the Minneapolis/St.Paul area where the population is well over 3.2 million people. In a small town I was offered $24,000 at a small design firm and this was considered high for the area. Safe to say nobody is going to throw money at you just because you have a degree. The ceiling for a designer is to become an art director at a major company where the average salary is $82,000. This usually takes a minimum of 15 years and countless weeks of 60+ hour work weeks.

      ---

      The path of a chiro:
      State school (MN): $15,000/yr , includes tuition and board
      = $60,000 total

      Private or large college : $30,000/yr, includes tuition and board
      = $120,000 total

      Chiro school: Roughly $12,000 per trimester for 10 trimester. Costs can go up and down depending on living expenses.
      =$120,000 total

      So before even getting a job or opening a clinic the average student is anywhere from $180,000 to $240,000 in debt. A very daunting task for anyone no doubt. We have found that average starting salary for an associate is about $36,000 + incentives. However, there is no ceiling for a chiropractor. Though it takes hard work and time, a chiro can make more money that an M.D. could even dream of.

      ---

      The med school path:

      State school (MN): $15,000/yr , includes tuition and board
      = $60,000 total

      Private or large college : $30,000/yr, includes tuition and board
      = $120,000 total

      Med school: $35,000/yr, includes tuition and board
      =$140,000 total

      Yep, that's right. $180,000 - $360,000 in debt before earning a dollar. Then add on three years of residency which can include 60+ hour work weeks for and average salary of $35,000 IF they pay you. Average salary of a family practitioner is $90,000 to $150,000 depending on experience, location, etc. Either way its 10 years of school before seeing real pay.

      Delete
    3. ---
      I argue that all school is ridiculously over priced and nearly every degree path leaves the student in a huge financial hole. I do agree with you that it is very unfortunate a chiropractor cannot do anything with their degree should they decide to change careers. But what is going back to school, to be a teacher no less, going to do for you? No matter what degree you go back for, if you do, will put you further in debt with absolutely no guarantee of financial success. Go back to be a designer, teacher, PT, media relations, business major and there is still not one thing that will automatically make you successful.

      Becoming a teacher can be one of the most financially frustrating careers there is. Average starting salary is $28,000 - $32,000 (maybe) and the only thing that can make you more money is time. Work as hard as you like here and the only thing the school district will care about is how long you have worked before they give you a raise. Personally I don't see how you would choose to go back to school, spend MORE money, just to start below what you where making when you were a chiropractor. At least as a chiro the ceiling is infinitely higher than that of a teacher.

      One last thing about teaching. Most teachers nowadays start off at part time for a few years. This means maybe $20,000/yr. Even if they are full time, nearly every teacher I had growing up worked every summer at jobs that payed them like a seasonal college student. Is your husband really giving up the chiropractic profession to make $28,000/yr and work at Home Depot in the summers?

      Husband of a chiropractic student

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    4. You need direction in quite a few areas most likely. If you are interested I am setting up another chiropractic office in Mobile, AL and need someone here to help me run the practice. I know what to do to show a newbie chiropractor how to make it in practice basically cause it took me years to figure a lot of this out. I get a thrill teaching young marketing students how to actually market chiropractic, cause if you can market this, you can market any other career. The bottom line is it's about caring, passion, and compassion, and telling your clients that. I could go on for hours, but that, and have numerous things that work is the way to make it in chiropractic. PT, please, they over treat just like bad chiropractors do, and are salaried in the first place. It is a dead end profession if you want the ability to make a good amount of money that has no cap. If you are interested Google Discover Chiropractic Center in Mobile, AL and I will talk to you about working here cause I need someone like, yesterday, and show you how easy it can be to make it in chiropractic.

      Fear is what holds the majority of people back. I had to learn how to get past some of my fears and how to quit justifying and rationalizing of just why things were so bad in my life and career. The majority of my fellow chiropractic friends fail basically because of that.

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    5. Awe how nice it would be to get back to the South but we're here to stay! Maybe someone will embrace this opportunity!! Good fortune.

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  37. Okay... I have decided to take a step... and I am still not sure if it's a good one.

    Recently, I just declined my admission to University of Western States. Instead, I will be going to a college to pursue becoming a Cardiovascular Technologist. That occupation is nice and stable, but it does also have it's cons (finding a job because only two hospitals employs them in my province.) But don't want to touch too much on CVT because it will get off topic.

    After declining from UWS, they informed me that I will be put on a 2 year waiting list and I can pay $50 to reactivate it. Again, I am wondering why I am having issues with this. I keep wondering why it's not much of a challenge for me to get accepted in UWS and not into physiotherapy. Physio is only 2 years and so much more cheaper... but so much HARDER to get into; whereas, Chiro is 4 years and much more expensive... but way EASIER to get into. They are even putting me on a wait list in case I change my mind. They really want me there as a student... but why am I complaining? Shouldn't I take this as "life" throwing me a bone? Why am I being so difficult? One of the reasons could be due to my research on the occupation. If I found that Chiropractics is actually a GREAT future with high possibilities of providing me a VERY STABLE life, perhaps I wouldn't be questioning this so much. Perhaps I would grab that admission letter and sprint towards this path with no worries at all. Unfortunately... this is not the case.

    I WAS very interested in Chiropractics... but I was unaware that it had such negativity related to it. I took every single resource into consideration, but for some reason the negative ones scare the heck out of me. I know there are some positive ones... but damn it... I don't like the idea of working two jobs just to live by pay cheque to pay cheque after I have spent well over $100,000 into this education. Life is full of difficulties... so perhaps going into Chiropractics would be difficult by very exciting one.. especially if I end up on top. But all the negative aspects got to me... and I decided to change my path.

    I know this post seems like it is becoming more of a rant... but I feel there are lots of ppl on this posting that would be able to talk to me. I have come to this article before to discuss my views... and here I am again to share what I have done.... and I am so unsure of whether it is the right choice. Yes... I know it's my life... I know that my actions will shape how it will unfold... But I hate this uncertainty of whether I made the right choice or not.......

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    1. Your gut is the reason you didn't feel good about the "negative" chiro experiences. Follow you gut! My husband ignored it and feasted on the success stories and remained pumped throughout school. I think in out patient clinic he started to see the reality but we got high on Parker Seminars and stayed positive making every sacrifice imaginable only to learn those success stories are not the norm. Your RN and CVT and RT as many other programs are way cheaper and harder to get in but less debt and decent wage once you land a job. Chiropractic is very hard to sell. You are constantly teaching and educating. It is not easy. It is not cheap. And at the end of the day you get no respect. You fight for respect as if to grasp crumbs from the allopathic models table. Most recently working in out patient Radiology I can tell you anyone who walked in with a chiropractic XR/CT/MRI order were always difficult patients who didn't want to pay! I would serve them at the front desk thinking how ironic it was and no wonder Radiologists hate dealing with Chiros. Ha ha.... One foot in front of the other and one day at a time Buddy!! Avoid chiropractic because I don't want you to learn the hard way. Unless you can find a established chiro NOW who will hire you with pay when you are done! There's a deal!!!

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  38. Being a BEAST in any profession is great. If you want to keep your doors open and pay off your loans and provide for your family then you need marketing skills and you had better care about "making money." Ideals are great but they do not pay the bills or build a dream life - unless your dream life is being broke and helping many people. It should be that money is paid in proportion to the amount of skill or the accuracy of the diagnosis of the doc. We don't live in the "should be" world. Money is paid to the doc who bills correctly and who has a great deal of patients that he treats. You must care about making money or you will not have a place to do all of those other things that you talked about.
    Get this - NO ONE cares that you are a chiropractor or how great you may be - they care about 3 things 1. Do you know what is wrong with me? 2. Can you fix it? 3. Can I afford your fix? That is it.

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    1. I agree with you. The sooner people find that passion/business equation and know the answer is hard work and no nonsense results out of school the better off they will be.

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  39. Hi Sophia,

    Thank you so much for creating this blog. I have re-read this article in particular so many times. It has really solidified what I have been feeling for quite some time now, which is that a career in Chiropractic care isn't worth the risk. I graduated with my BA in Human Biology a year ago and have been struggling to make a commitment to a career path ever since. Chiro was my passion, but the more Chiropractors I shadowed and spoke with, the more I found out how misguided I have been. I spoke with several who had to work multiple jobs to make ends meet. I spoke with one who said she worked 60 hours a week only to make 40K a year, so now she works 20 hours a week to make roughly 32K a year, which is what I'm making now right out of my undergrad!

    I feel so lost. I know I need to make a decision soon to start a grad program, but how do you pick a career that is isn't your ultimate interest and only your second best option?

    Do you, or anyone reading this, know of careers along the same path as Chiro? My original interest in school was Physical Therapy, but the standards to get into that program are a little too focused on GPA (I finished with a 3.2 GPA), and after shadowing I realized it wasn't my ultimate passion. I've thought about Occupational Therapy, but I'm afraid that will be too similar to Physical Therapy. I'm terrified of needles and blood, a fear that unfortunately I will not be able to get past to make it through an MD or PA program.

    I don't want to move into a program like PTA, OTA, or ultrasound that I could have done right out of high school. I want to feel as though I'm furthering my education, not wasting the 4 year education I just got and paid for.

    What else is left? I've looked at sites like explorehealthcareers.org but I keep coming back to the same things - Chiro, PT, and OT.

    Thank you again for creating this blog. It has been such a help to me! And thank you or anyone else who can help guide me in a new direction!

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    1. You are welcome! I am pleased that you are fortunate enough to have NOT wasted the gross amount of money and time going through with a DC program to completion. That fact alone puts you leaps and bounds ahead of others. Similar to my husband, you are brilliant but hate fluids and blood which rules out a lot straight away! I personally think you should teach. Go through your states ARL program and get licensed. Once licensed keep going to school towards your masters, then your phd in the area of your passion. In time your compensation increases along with opportunities in higher more cushy positions. Take your time, have fun, and bask in the summers off!
      Keep talking to people. The more you talk to the better your chances of meeting someone who can connect you with something just perfect for you. Its all about who you know! You can do it!! And you will and whatever it is you will be great!!!

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  41. I left chiropractic in 2000 after 21 years in practice. I still maintain my license just so there are no questions about why I don't have my license and because I enjoy going to the license renewal seminars. Thanks to having a bachelor's degree, I've been able to make a living outside of chiropractic but not at the income level of someone with 8 years of college. The major managed care provider for chiropractic services in my state kept me on the waiting list for over 10 years. Because I wasn't contracted with that 3rd party administrator, I eventually could no longer see WC patients, Medicare patients and most group plan patients. I am disappointed in how things turned out but at least I don't have a bad situation like some of these new graduates with such heavy loan debt that they can't even afford to re-train. The chiropractic colleges need to get real about reasonable tuition rates for a profession with a narrow scope of practice and those, like me, who leave the profession because they can no longer make a living. However, nothing will change because the colleges need to sell chiropractic as a 6 figure career so that they can collect high tuition and pay their officers well. Of course, chiropractors, like me who work in cubes in office buildings doing something other than chiropractic are viewed as being entirely to blame for leaving the profession. I tried as hard as a could to keep my practice but I just couldn't afford. An odd and unexpected circumstance to be in as a member of a learned profession.

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  42. My experience as a chiropractic patient is what led me to the decision to become a DC. I was on the path to becoming an MD when I had a change of heart. I believe Chiropractic is an amazing discipline and I have seen miraculous results personally, and professionally. As a chiropractic patient, I love chiropractic.

    HOWEVER, as a Doctor of Chiropractic, I can honestly say it has left me in financial ruin. I have worked for a number of DCs over the past decade, all of whom wanted me to do the hard-sell marketing routine, or do the wacky-voodoo-energy-transfer-touchy-feely-all-is-well-with-the-cosmos thing. I have owned my own practice, which I futilely attempted to start up and run on a shoestring budget. I am a good chiropractor. I have helped many patients return to health. I have a stack of patient testimonials to prove it, and unfortunately that's pretty much all I have to show for my chiropractic career.

    What was I not good at? Making a patient return 3 times a week when they were feeling fine. I was bad at convincing people of the idea that they are doomed to crippling dysfunction if they missed a visit. Why? Because I don't believe it. I believe maintenance visits are important, but the frequency depends on the patient's needs, not my pocketbook.

    Unless you are a born salesperson, you will not do well in this profession no matter how good your clinical skills are. Sadly, there are DCs out there who are quacks but they know how to make a sale, and thus they make money in this game.

    I am angry, very angry, because in the student loan office before I ever took a class, I told the woman who stuck the papers in front of me to sign that I was nervous about accumulating all of this debt. Her response? "Oh, you'll be a Chiropractor. You'll have no trouble paying it back."

    I was lied to by Palmer College, and other chiropractic colleges are doing the same thing. It is more than infuriating. I am now working a food service job, and looking into BSN and FNP programs.

    So if you're thinking about becoming a chiropractor, and I say this from the bottom of my heart, don't do it.

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  43. I have seen chiropractic care do miraculous things both personally and professionally. Because of my own experience as a chiropractic patient, I was on the path to becoming an MD, but had a change of heart and decided to go the DC route. I believe chiropractic is a wonderful discipline and as a chiropractic patient, I love the profession.

    HOWEVER, as a Doctor of Chiropractic, I can honestly say this profession has left me in financial ruin. Over the past decade I have worked for various DCs who either wanted me to do the hard-sell marketing routine or the wacky-voodoo-touchy-feely-energy-transfer-at-one-with-the-cosmos thing. I owned my own practice for a while, which I futilely attempted to start up and run on a shoestring budget.

    I am a good chiropractor. Of this, I am confident. I helped many patients return to good health. I have a stack of patient testimonials to prove it. Unfortunately, that is about all I have to show for my chiropractic career. What did I not do well? I didn’t convince people to return 3 times a week when they were feeling fine. I was bad at persuading people that missing a visit would mean crippling dysfunction. Why? Because I don’t believe it. Maintenance care is important, but it is to be based on the patient’s needs, not my pocketbook.

    I am angry because before I even took a class I said to the woman in the financial aid office, who stuck the loan papers in front of me to sign, that I was apprehensive about accumulating all of this debt. Her response? “Oh, you’ll be a chiropractor. You’ll have no trouble paying it back.” Over a decade later I am now working a food service job and looking into BSN and FNP programs. This is beyond infuriating.

    I was lied to by Palmer College, and other chiropractic colleges are doing the same thing. It is not enough to be a competent clinician. Unless you are a born salesperson, you will not do well in this profession. Sadly, there are a lot of quacks out there who have poor clinical skills but know how to make a sale, thus they do well financially.

    If you are thinking of becoming a chiropractor, and I mean this from the bottom of my heart, don’t do it.

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    1. Thank you for your comment!

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    2. I have to agree that a lot of Chiro schedule patient on a pocketbook not a patient needs. I haven't been to one but my husband did. He has a constantly back aches and was told by his co-worker to go to this Chiro.
      He went to see the Chiro only a few time. Each time the Chiro only crack his back and schedule him again for next week. My husband didn't go after a few visit. His co-worker on the hands, goes every week and even took his new born for a weekly check up. For real? New born needs to be stretch and see chiro every week to be well.
      I do think that if you're not naturally born a sale man, you will not succeed in a business that you need to drive customer in all the time.

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    3. Gyl lily... many patients, especially those new to chiro care, require many visits at first. It's just the nature of the industry. Nobody complains when dentists, attorney's, orthodontist, or medical doctors charge an arm and a leg, right? A chiropractor doing their job often cringes at their own recommendations, but honestly, if you need it, you need it. Often, and in your husbands case, you refuse the treatment plan so I don't see the beef. Each patient has a choice. The body is remarkable and tissue conforms to the degenerated spine. You can't undo that with 1 adjustment. A combination of awareness, adjustments, lifestyle choices, and posture can reverse that inevitable hunch back old person or chronic back pain middle age person. Either way nobody wants chiropractic unless they are in pain. There is no money in it in relation to the amount of money it costs to go to school, maintain a license/professional standard, and clinic.

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  44. It is discouraging for me to read about my fellow DCs having so much difficulty. The key for me was to buy an existing practice. I did this with the selling doctor financing the practice. If he is not willing, then the practice may not truly be a good one. My office isn't fancy, but it's nice. My total overhead is limited to 3000 bucks and I have another doctor in the office that pays half of that. I work 24 hours a week with zero advertising. I don't understand what is so difficult for some. I am anxious to know HOW others practice that prevents then from doing at least as well as me. (I keep about 70K for myself each year) No care plans beyond 2 weeks or so.
    I wish you were in my town so that I could help.

    The new chiro that I brought into my office about 6 years ago is doing as well as me and only works a few more hours then I do.

    If you are near Modesto California, let's talk. info@dooleyfamilychiropractic.

    I understand your frustrations and want the best for you all.

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    1. I agree Michael, as a chiropractor working in Toronto, Canada for the past 7 years I am also very saddened to hear these stories. My advice is to establish yourself in a multidisciplinary clinic with family physicians. I've done that since graduating and have a wonderful practice - I am busy, see interesting cases every day (not just low back pain day in and out), and am respected by my patients and colleagues as a "real doctor". I find my practice extremely rewarding, and never regret my decision to enter chiropractic rather than another medical field. I wish all the best to struggling chiro's on this blog, and encourage you to think outside the box. Medical doctors should be considered our greatest resource and friends, not our adversaries!

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  45. To whom it may concern:1st Chiropractic eats its young. As an Associate for 3 years it was the best worst time of my life as a Chiro.I was used and abused and kicked out the door when I asked for a raise and due to lack of knowledge my taxes were not paid. As an IC (Independent Contractor)you are literally still making the owner rich and you still responsible for your taxes. You have to be special to be a chiropractor to endure this sort of pain. Experience is my reason for climbing this ladder. Now I am 1 month away from opening my 1 room office. Chiropractic is my ministry. GOD wants me where I am. I am here to help people get in touch with their health all in the name of building the kingdom of GOD. I will be wealthy. I will repay all I owe. I believe in me. I believe in my skills as a Chiro. I will beat all odds. Whatever you avoid now you will have to face later whatever profession you choose. Your weaknesses are your weaknesses. If its learning how to run a business ( many of us think we need 6 rooms to start)maybe its better bedside manner, maybe its your ego. Chin check yourself, believe in you,& help people first, then the money will come.

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  46. This has all been very helpful, thank you for this post and comments. I've been accepted to Chiropractor school and it's been my dream for years. I just put myself through school for the past 11 years, and graduated with my BA. I'm going through a bit of a life choice crisis right now as well. I've been with the same company for 5 years, I'm making $50K a year and I was offered a promotion and raise to stay and not go to school in January. I've been back and forth for two weeks now, trying to figure out what to do. I'm good at what I do now, I'm in a position of power and I've been climbing the corporate ladder at my job for years.

    I talked to my mentor a few weeks ago and asked what I was really looking at earning when I graduated and I was so heartbroken. I was kicked out as a kid, put myself through school and everything I have, I have earned while working 2 jobs and taking part time classes for over a decade. I don't want to throw everything away on a dream that will make my struggles even harder. I see that some people do very well, but I'm in my 30's already, I don't want to live off ramen noodles and out of my car for the next decade. I have my own place, car is paid off, money in the bank. I'm so afraid of giving up the possible career I have now to follow a dream that is only going to crush me in the end.

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    1. First, congratulations on all your accomplishments so far. Many, many kudos to you. I hope you are giving yourself several pats on the back for what you've already done.

      Second, be proud of yourself for investigating the real world as much as possible ahead of time.

      Third, IMO, I hope that you have decided to stay at your job and accept your promotion. These events do not come along extremely often at all. Oftentimes only once or twice in a person's lifetime. Too many people do not experience promotions at all. Consider yourself very lucky already.

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  47. Stay where you are...Sucess has come to me in this profession but I have been lucky.

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  48. So I would have to disagree with this post, I didn't read all of the posts that were written but my experience is very different. I graduated from Palmer in June of 2013. Many of my friends were looking at Associating but I went Independent Contracting right away. My first month I "made" a 1000 bucks. My second month I made 2600. But while I was doing my due diligence at work I also was marketing with a website and doing presentations at local groups and companies. My 2nd full month (August) I brought in about 4000. This month I am on track to make 10,000. I have a contract with a local group to provide care for all of their people and have found a niche in my market. Oh and just fyi my town has only 3500 people in it, with about 8000 in neighboring rural communities. There are 3 other Chiropractors in town. So on the surface it looks saturated. But as long as you work hard, find a niche and get your name out there you can find success even early in your career.

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    1. This is anecdotal. The actual facts are that you are morel likely to fail as a chiro than succeed. We have the highest default rate of student loans by any other professional degree(MD, DO, OD, DDS, etc) by a huge margin. Its estimated that over 80% of chiro's are in some kind of income repayment, hiding the true rates of what normally would be default. This has nothing to do with a "niche" this is pure luck. Your promoting a pseudoscience and misleading patients with unsubstantiated claimes; ie subluxations and chiropractic as a whole.

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  49. Althought there may be a small bit of truth to your comments. CHiropractic is something that you do for the love of it. If you do it specifically for the money and nothing eles you wont make any. I been in practice for 17 years and each year is better than the rest. I work 3 days a week, coach my kids and go on vacation several times a year. I love to give love and serve and if your husband doesn't he should go and do something else. There is hope I promise for those who love to give love and serve in chiropractic.

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  50. I am currently attending college for my prereqs with the hopes of getting into Chiro school. I am 46 years of age and going through my "second career". My eyes are wide open and I have spoken to countless Chiropractors and get their opinions on matters such as this. My own personal Chiropractor is a very smart man and has two Bachelors degrees in addition to his Doctorate. I have been to some Chiros that I wonder if they have a clue what they are talking about! IMO, Chiros need to do "rounds" in hospitals such as the Allopathic/Osteopaths do because some Chiros are just "lost" in their treatment of serious emergencies if they are presented with it. I will be in my early 50's when I graduate and the amount of debt does concern me greatly, but, I'm not going into this to be "rich", just to help people and I think the rest will take care of itself. I am open to any comments. Thank you for your time.

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    1. OMG!!!... DO not be a chiropractor. PLEASE. Im a licensed DC , but I do not practice. Becoming a DC was the biggest mistake of my life. For the love of god please reconsider. Just be an RN.

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  51. I am entering my second career so to speak and have my eyes wide open as to choosing a field in Chiropractic. I am currently finishing my prereqs at a college and hope to enter Chiro school next year. I have spoken to plenty of DC's and some are not worth more than a patient mill system, others such as my own personal Chiro are very smart and have much education. I'm entering this profession not to get "rich", but to make a difference and help people. Any comments will be welcome. Thank you.

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  52. Things don't take care of themselves. You will not get to school by that avenue and you won't stay in business that way either.

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  53. It is all about being able to market, being honest about what you can and can't treat, appropriate treatment plan length, putting patients through the phases of care necessary for long term results, having an evidence based practice. If you look at MD's and other health care professionals as competition you will fail. You must market to them, refer to them, work with them and you will get referrals from them. You must learn to speak there language. The Neurosurgeon that asked me to open up a second office in his office sends me 40 percent of my patients. His goal is to help patients avoid surgery because he knows most are not good candidates for surgery and should try conservative treatment before surgery. On average I see 1.5 new patients per day, that is around 30 new patients a month. I am opening another practice in an assisted living facility as they have 5000 people living at the facility that need care. To be successful in practice don't plan on opening up a practice and just turning on the open sign, you must get out and meet people, think outside the box. If i were to do it all over again i would just open up in assisted living places. I could see 100 per week at 30 bucks = 3000/week (medicare), older people usually don't cancel appointment. Also the overhead the assisted living I just set up is only 5 dollars per hour that I use it. No other bills with it and I have a full gym and indoor pool to use, and two free front desk people who will schedule appointments for me. The assisted living place also has massage tables already and 5 treatment rooms ready to go. Just bring in a good F/D table with drops a few modalities US, Estim, MRM.

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    2. I am pleased you have been able to market and find value in marketing to be the solve all to chiropractic clinic success. To my knowledge schools are good about making the future DC's aware that they will not succeed by opening up a clinic and displaying a neon open sign. My husband and I took the last year of school to solidify our marketing plans and implement them. I was a medical assistant for over 10 years at the time and very comfortable with dialog as well as alopathic model settings to build relationships with. It was all going to be so beautiful. One by one we were rejected with what can only be described as big sibling bullying of the step child of health care. Nobody respected my husband when they found out 'what' kind of Doctor he was. It didn't get us down. Our expensive coach and total solutions brain washing wouldn't have that. We hit it harder attempting to earn our "blackbelt in rejection". To every chiropractic practice success story there are a loot of failures. It would be nice if the profession had commercials by now or some sort of mass education to assist us in helping the average Joe know what you do. I would argue you aren't marketing in this profession, you are on a mission. Might as well be LDS (Mormon) missionaries 18 yrs old in Rome!!

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  54. 2 things stick out the most to me:

    1- Sophia, I respect the way you manage this blog, but even you said at one point only 5% of chiropractors make it in private practice. I don't see why this is such a "failure" to so many on this blog, this is no different than the stats for any other type of small business, at least in the US. I can't speak for Canada, seems there are some other disadvantages there maybe. This is the point I think needs to sink in for everyone- 5% is normal if you compare apples to apples with small business ownership, which last I checked is what private practice doctors are. Has been for decades. And it takes money- $100s of thousands- to start up a typical small business. ** If you went to chiro school wanting to work for someone else and make 6-figures that is where it might seem like MDs have more options at first glance. But I just cut a check for $14K to our associate today for his Nov pay and he's worked just 11-15 hours per week in our clinic since Nov 2010. I joke with my husband that he should trade jobs with him. Guy averages take home of $8-$12K per month just to show up and treat, we have to do all the business owner crap! His hourly wage is sky high, more than my best friends from UCLA who are an ER doc and a deputy district atty, that's for sure!! Not only does he make more than they do, he works about 1/3 of the hours. And they are also still paying off their undergrad and med/law school loans. And yes, we as the owners make even more, I'm just pointing out the difference between working for yourself and being an employee and both are possible and can make good money as a chiro.

    2- I do not understand the repeated "get no respect" problem others believe played a role in ruining their chances for success. I do not know of even 1 successful DC who gets the majority of his/her patients from referrals from MDs, so I'm wondering why it matters what they/the rest of the ol' boys club thinks? People are, more and more, losing faith in the western/traditional medical system because they are seeing that it's not working and has become a drug pushing machine in cahoots with the government and food lobby to keep people sick! Plenty of people who are not DCs and not married to one or related to one are starting to be aware of this. There is no shortage of statistics showing the growth of and demand for alternative medicine. People self-refer, and a lot of them do it no matter what their MD said or don't even ask their MD anyway. My husband is respected beyond belief by his patients and has multiple attorneys (for PI) and even a couple of Ortho docs and MDs who do refer to us (like once a year- not going to pay any bills haha!), but of the 60+ new patients per month he gets, 90% are either referred by other patients, find us on the internet because they are already looking for a chiropractor (we spend the bulk of our marketing budget for online/google/etc.), or come in from a magazine/coupon book we've advertised in for 7 years at the small budget price of $850 for a full page cover ad every 6 weeks.

    The major theme I see here is don't try to go on your own straight out of school. My husband is killing it and I believe he would have failed too if he didn't get the priceless chance to study under a successful doc first. Either buy a chiropractic franchise (we are franchising our brand and there are 2 or 3 other options out there currently) or be an associate under a successful mentor until you are pulling in practice numbers that prove you're good enough to go out on your own.

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  55. I really appreciate your honesty here in this blog, my son was trying to decide to become premed after he graduates highschool this year and was hoping to go into the chiropractic field, after reading this blog we are rethinking his game plan. Thank you for the insights.

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  56. Chiropractic is an extremely tough profession. The costs to become a D.C. is extremely high and the financial rewards are almost non existent. I was a great student and graduated with no problems. It was 3 difficult years. During school I was getting information by practicing chiropractors that they were having an extremely tough time and eventually quitting. The profession has no support. We have no real association and are divided between chiropractors that believe we cure cancer and Chiropractors that are evidence based and treat conservatively. We are a divided profession that needs help. We are competing with Physical Therapist that can do Manipulation, Chinese Traditional Medicine doctors, Massage Therapists, Naturopaths, etc. After 8 years I called it quits and decided to move on. I was overjoyed to have to opportunity to move on. I was tired of Marketing my services to a community that had no understanding for what I did. There is no demand for Chiropractic and people are generally mistrusting of what we do. I don't understand why school are open and allow students to go through this experience. Yes, there are successful chiropractors that help people and some who take advantage. You have to be a super sales man to survive. The best thing about this profession is that you get to laugh to others in your position of how ignorant we were to do it!

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    1. Well done Sunny. Thank you sincerely for sharing your story. Yeah... we were foolish to have that fire in the belly that burned bright! It takes a benefactor to succeed in this profession: mother, father, friend, lover, anyone with an endless supply of money to funnel to a chriopractor to succeed. Money one will never be able to pay back....

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    2. Sunny... so what are you doing now for work? How are you justifying having to pay all that money back?

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  57. I have been with my boyfriend for 3 years. We both have college degrees from the same university. Last year he got accepted to TCC (Texas Chiropractor College). Talk about about stressful...

    I graduated and got a good paying job 45k a year and I am currently living with him and supporting both of us financially. It is beyond difficult. We are already about $100k in debt because of our ungrad loans and then I am told we are going to accumulate another possible $100-180k for chiro school. He is not working and claims that a lot of students do not work because of the course load.

    He has a mentor that went to Parker. She is a successful DC but admits she is successful because she has no children/ no life and puts everything into chiro. I am worried that she feeds him false hope/ information and could careless about my well being or my sanity. She tells us both things like "you guys will be the millionaires before your 30". I am not saying that without hard work this isn't possible but we are 26. So she is saying that less than 2 years after he graduates we are going to be making millions?? Later I found out that she actually lived out of her car/office for 2 years because she couldn't pay her bills.

    I love going to the chiropractor and I believe in most of what they preach. Except his mentor is one of those Chiros that is extremely pushy and works as many screenings as possible. I worked several with them on the weekends and I felt so shady like a used car salesman telling people they had problems that were possibly not even there.

    I appreciate that every job/career has its ups and downs. But if you want my honest opinion...this job is not worth the time and money. We have had to put so much on hold for his school and because of the financial strain it has put us under. Think twice. ESPECIALLY if you are the one who is in my position.

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    1. High Five Judy!! You obviously posess a keen mind and a generous independent spirit! A fellow Goddess whose affection has rested sights on a future chiropractor! A blessing and a curse! Keep me updated on the circumstances! I can already sense some resentment building (rightfully so) and you have HAVE to realize that. If he loses you he'll have to find a different sugar momma. Thanks for keeping your eyes wide open and sharing your truth!!!

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  58. The best advice I could give to anyone going into or finishing chiropractic school would be find a great location! Be willing to relocate! I come from a family of many chiros (uncles, cousins, great-grandfather, fiance, and many friends) Of all of these chiros the majority of their success came from where they chose to practice. My great grandfather, uncle, and cousin all practice/practiced a few hours away from a chiro school and have all done very well for themselves financially. My Uncle C. that stayed in the same area as the chiropractic school has been struggling for the last 25 years in practice (and I think he is the most skilled adjuster of all of them.) While not rich, he has afforded to raise a family and my aunt does not work but his financial success is nothing compared to those that left. If you go a block in any direction from his clinic you find another chiro office... and in recent years what he has made the most $ with is selling diet products and giving nutritional advice as he also is a nutritionist. (This is all in the US)

    My fiance J. and I live in Canada and location is just as important here. When J. graduated he moved back to a semi remote northern town (pop. approx. 2500) and worked as an associate for another chiro at a satellite clinic. He paid 50% of billings to the head DC and was able to keep the rest. FUNNILY ENOUGH, all of his DC friends made fun of him for going to this small town to practice while they stayed in large city centers. After about six months he got tired of giving away half of his money so he ended his contract and bought a clinic in a a city a few hours away (pop. 50,000).

    A very important thing to remember if buying a clinic is to buy one where the docs practice in a similar manner to how you practice. This will help reduce the initial attrition after the take-over. We have friends that bought successful practices and ran them into the ground because they were too different from the docs they purchased from (one case: a caucasian english speaking couple of dc's bought a clinic from an Asian chiro (he did lots of acupuncture in his practice and many of his patients spoke mandarin) once they took over almost all of the patients left as well. So here they were with student loans and business loans to pay for and no money coming in. It was a miracle they didn't go under ( They worked 10hrs a day and every weekend they were out promoting their business basically working their asses off. 5 years later they are doing fairly well, however, they are in a large city center with many chiros and competition.

    I have many other stories of chiros in big city centers struggling to make it or working in shitty associate situations.

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  59. As a joke my fiance told one of his classmates that was making fun of him for going to work up north about the job opening that opened up when my fiance left his associate position. This classmate that was failing as a dc in the city centre moved up north and took this position and was finally able to pay off his bills and start to make some real $.

    In my fiances practice, we have done very well.we are mostly a cash based practice with maybe 5% of our billings from motor vehicle accidents My fiance works about 25-30 hours per week. his schedule is full everyday. we have taken on 4 associate chiros and 4 massage therapists. all of our associates are given 60% of their billings and work aprrox. 30hours per week and bring home over $100,000 per year with putting in minimal effort, ( It would be amazing to see what they would actually make if they put in some effort!)

    Now, I understand that the situation that we are in can be rare, but people must be willing to go where the opportunities are!!!!! It was extremely difficult to get our associates to come work for us as no one wanted to come that far north, but many of their classmates in other southern bigger cities working 2-3 jobs just to pay the bills. One of our associates just left thinking they could hack it in a bigger city and then came crawling back to us a few months later when he realized that the same opportunities just don't exist everywhere. The only reason we took him back is because the waiting list to get into the clinic was too long once he was gone.

    SO... if you want to be successful, please be willing to relocate and go to where you are needed/where good opportunities exist.

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  60. If we look at this from a business perspective, we have to consider a few things. In chiropractic school, they do not teach business. They teach chiropractic. I found many chiropractors who are very successful that were wiling to let me come into their office, spend time with them, learn what made them successful, how they did it, what struggles they faced, and how they overcame them. No matter what profession, hobby, or passion in life, there is one piece of advice that has proved worth its weight in gold!!!! You ready??? If you want to be successful at something, study those who are already successful at doing it? Find the D.C. making 6 figures running a practice and ask to spend a day or week with them. Spend 1 day a week for a month with them. Go to lunch with them. Play 5 million questions with them. We all know there are successful DC's out there. Most of us have met them. Forget the marketing professionals, or the mentoring programs that charge you a fortune. How do you think they make a living? Off you, not practicing!!!!

    This is important. Spend time going to many different DC offices. Ask them what they believe about chiropractic. See how they run an office. Take Notes!!!! Learn the differences between the successful ones and the ones who are failing. It will not take long to find out why. You learn how to run an office, how to open an office, how to get patients. There are many ways to do it and many ways to practice. I know straight chiropractors who do nothing but locate, analyze, and correct vertebral subluxation and make great money. I know some who tried the same path and failed. I know chiropractors who do adjustments, soft tissue work, physiotherapy (not physical therapy) and make great money. I know some chiropractors who tried that route and failed. Is it the route or the plan? I say it is the plan.

    Look at it like this. If you want to go to a gym and get fit, which personal trainer do you take. The skinny guy, the fat guy, or the well built guy? (Or girl). You take the person who knows what it takes because they did it. You take the built trainer. If you want to know what to do or if it is possible to become a successful chiropractor, who do you talk to? You talk to the chiropractor who most represents what you want from the profession and meets your definition of success. Whether that be a short work week, lots of patients, a big income, whatever. If you are in school, make the time to go to seminars. Whether technique, or philosophy, they are the best places to make contacts and meet successful chiropractors.

    Do something like this and see how it works. I decided to make my own mind up and choose exactly what I wanted to do in the profession. I picked my techniques, the type of practice I wanted to run, who my market was, and how to let them know what I could do for them. Then I visited over 100 chiropractic offices. In many cities and states and markets. Then I concentrated on any that were in the market I wanted to go to. I found the best ones in that market and studied why they were so damn good. This also helped me shape my business plan.

    Then I did a market study. Avg income, state of the economy, what type of workforces were dominant. Could it support what I wanted? If it can't and I open and fail, it is my fault, not chiropractic. Do your due diligence. You become successful by emulating success. You fail by emulating failure. It is not easy, but it becomes much harder without proper planning.

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  61. Kristen,
    Are you looking for an associate?

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  62. Lol... Judy Five, we can use the gym at the chiropractic school for "free" and my husband jokes that it's the world's most expensive gym membership ever.

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  63. Hello everyone...

    I would just love someone to help my husband. He graduated in 2007 and has not made much money or had much success. When he graduated from school he was offered an associate position based on commission. He was desperate so he took the job. He went to spinal screenings, he did massages (which is another thing that gives chiropractors a bad reputation - people think that's all chiropractors do! STOP IT!!!), etc. For over 6 months he had 6 patients. Four out of the 6 were MA patients so after his boss got his cut, my husband made $2 from each of them. Then, he was offered a contract position in a different state. We moved our family and rented out our house. The doctor promised my husband he'd come help/teach my husband how to market, run the business, etc. Nope, he came once a week the first 2 months, then once every other week, then once a month, and eventually no visits. When he did come he'd stay for a few hours making phone calls and plans with his friends. We'd go out to lunch, come back and the doctor would pay the bills, make deposits, etc., then leave (eventually I was given the tasks). His only suggestion was to take lawyers out golfing and don’t talk about business until you’ve taken them out more than 3 or 4 times. Well, we can't do that because we don't have the money to take lawyers golfing, it's an expensive sport! After a year, our contract ended and the doctor decided he wanted to sell the practice. (He did sell the practice and the new owner had to close the doors after a year.) We moved back and couldn’t afford to pay the mortgage on our house (because I had lost my job as well) so we had to let it go into short sale. My husband decided it was time he had his own practice. He office shared for about 4 years and got nothing. He attended events; passed out business cards; talked to neighboring businesses; joined meetup groups; volunteered his time at races, martial art tournaments, and the 3 Day Breast Cancer walk; paid for a website; paid for an ad on a local news channel’s website (it was so useless, a total waste and scam of $3000); joined the local chiropractic association; joined the local chiropractic sports council, etc. None of these things brought in any patients. He ended the business last year. A doctor, who’s a part of a practice management group, offered him a possible partnership at a practice the doctor wanted to purchase (the purchase was contingent on the success of the practice). So, my husband went to work for them for free for three months because he was excited about the possibility; he wanted it to work. After all, he was finally working with people who knew what they were doing. Again, we did all that we could but nothing worked. My husband also spent countless hours cleaning up the practice (billing, filing, vacuuming, maintenance, etc.). We had high hopes it was going to work out, that finally being in the chiropractic field was going to work out… NOPE! Oh, and this doctor had promised he’d come help get the practice up and running… nope, he did not. His suggestion – go out, talk to neighboring businesses and pass out business cards. After that, the doctor offered him a job at one of his practices. Four months later, the doctor sold the practice without any warning. Again, he’s out of a job.

    So, tell me (those of you who are successful) what is my husband doing wrong? I am more than 100% supportive. I attend most chiropractic events with him and I am there volunteering with him, that’s how much I support him. In fact, I am at the chiropractic events so often that when I’m not there people ask him why I’m not there. To top it off, I’ve been supporting us financially all these years, even before he started chiropractic school. How many of you can say your spouse is that passionate about chiropractic that he/she attends practically every chiropractic event with you and continue to remain at your side even though you’ve made very little money sporadically?

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    1. Oh sweet kindred spirit. You have done nothig wrong. You are perfect. I know for me I had to get to a place of acceptance. It went like this "Chiropractic reality is going to always be like this. Is this okay with me? Or not?" It was not okay with me and although my husband resorted to teaching which gave us security, it was not the caliber of security required when you invest hundreds of thousands of dollars and minutes into chiropractic. Teaching kept us off welfare. My jobs over the years never disappointed. It's tradgic. I wish someone would do a documentary on it. I'll email Morgan Spurlock!!

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    2. Sophia,
      How did your husband get a teaching job at a high school? Does he still do anything in chiropractic?

      -Z

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    3. Your Husband probably needs to take business courses, and stop working under people who undervalue him.

      There is nothing wrong with a Chiro doing soft tissue work, in fact its a great way for him to stand apart from the 4 minute turn and burn chiro who relies on nothing but a hot pack and a turn and burn business. Your Husband needs to find a niche, and needs to set himself apart...He needs to find out what part of the profession he is most passionate about and then focus his energy on that.

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