Chiropractors help the patients suffering from mechanical disorders of musculoskeletal system which includes bones of the skeleton, nerves, muscles, cartilage, ligaments, tendons, joints, and other connective tissues of spine. They use natural healing methods such as massage therapy, manual manipulations of the spine, neck and back etc. to provide relief to the patients without drugs or surgery.
They also diagnose the patients with X-rays tests, instruct on lifestyle changes, diet and exercise for better health. In some cases, they refer patients to other health care professionals for further treatment.
Chiropractors work in a solo or group chiropractic practice. They are often employed with physical therapists, massage therapists, and other medical professionals involved in the area of rehabilitation. In most cases, they are self-employed.
To become a Chiropractor, the aspiring candidates need to earn a D.C. (Doctor of Chiropractic) degree which takes four years to complete and requires at least 3 years of undergraduate college education for admission. The course work of the degree program includes anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, microbiology etc. In addition, lab and clinical training are required components of the chiropractic education.
Certification and Licensure
Since the practice of a Chiropractor in USA requires a License, the aspiring candidates need to pass a four-part test by the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners.
Besides the clinical knowledge, a Chiropractor possesses various skills such as dexterity, empathy towards patient, clear understanding of confidentiality, high medical ethics, pleasant communications and interpersonal skills, basic computer knowledge, high level of stamina to stand for long periods of time etc.
Job Outlook and Salary
The job outlook for a Chiropractor remains excellent across the USA. According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the growth rate for job opportunities in this profession may rise 15% from 2012 to 2022, higher than the average for all occupations. The average annual salary of a Chiropractor was $66,160 in May 2012.