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Chiropractor

Chiropractors, also known as doctors of chiropractic or chiropractic physicians , diagnose and treat patients with health problems of the musculoskeletal system and treat the effects of those problems on the nervous system and on general health.

Hours: Chiropractors work, on average, about 40 hours per week, although longer hours are not uncommon. Solo practitioners set their own hours but may work evenings or weekends to accommodate patients. Like other health care practitioners, chiropractors in a group practice will sometimes be on call or treat patients of other chiropractors in the group.

Opportunities: Employment is expected to grow faster than average because of increasing consumer demand for alternative health care. Job prospects should be good. Most chiropractors work in a solo practice, although some are in group practice or work for other chiropractors. A small number teach, conduct research at chiropractic institutions, or work in hospitals and clinics. Approximately 52 percent of chiropractors were self employed.

Pay: Median annual earnings of salaried chiropractors were $65,220 in 2006. The middle 50 percent earned between $45,710 and $96,500 a year.

Training: In 2007, 16 chiropractic programs and 2 chiropractic institutions in the United States were accredited by the Council on Chiropractic Education. Applicants must have at least 90 semester hours of undergraduate study leading toward a bachelor's degree, including courses in English, the social sciences or humanities, organic and inorganic chemistry, biology, physics, and psychology. Many applicants have a bachelor's degree, which may eventually become the minimum entry requirement. Several chiropractic colleges offer prechiropractic study, as well as a bachelor's degree program. Recognition of prechiropractic education offered by chiropractic colleges varies among the States.

Chiropractic programs require a minimum of 4,200 hours of combined classroom, laboratory, and clinical experience. Most State licensing boards require at least 2 years of undergraduate education, but an increasing number are requiring a 4-year bachelor's degree. All boards require the completion of a 4-year program at an accredited chiropractic college leading to the Doctor of Chiropractic degree.

Citation: Suggested citation: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2008-09 Edition , Chiropractors, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos071.htm (visited July 22, 2009 ).

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