How much money you make as a chiropractor depends first and foremost on whether you are hired as an employee or run your own practice. Chiropractic employees typically work for other chiropractors or for Western medical doctors. This scenario tends to be much more limiting in its long-term potential, as one will often seek out employment for immediate financial stability.
The range for chiropractic employees can be anywhere from $30-100,000 per year depending on the amount of patients seen and the agreement worked out with the employer. In the clinic I worked at, the staff chiropractor told me he made $40,000 per year and saw about 120 patients a week on his own. (He was not very thrilled with this arrangement).
What is perhaps more important than the annual salary is the amount made per patient. In the above scenario, the doctor was making very little per patient and per hour, which is why he was so frustrated with this arrangement. As a practice-building consultant, I advise new practitioners to only seek out employment if they have no means to start their own practice. In my experience, it is rare for chiropractors to find total fulfillment as employees.
Building a private practice, of course, comes with its own set of potential pitfalls and challenges. As a business owner, one’s salary depends on 3 essential factors:
1. Mindset – Developing a mindset of success and prosperity is vital to one’s level of income.
2. Marketing – The most lucrative practices are the ones who have developed their marketing skills.
3. Communication – Chiropractors who know how to educate their patients and build rapport will undoubtedly end up making substantially more money than those that don’t.
If all 3 of these factors are well-integrated and developed, the practice can definitely gross a high 6 figure or even 7 figure income. If any one of these is deficient, however, one’s level of income will be substantially reduced. In my experience, the average chiropractor in private practice pays themselves about a range of $45-75,000 per year.
Please keep in mind that ‘average’ in this sense is just that; it means that one of the 3 factors listed above is missing or imbalanced.
The chiropractic profession is certainly one that has tremendous potential for financial success and personal fulfillment. What is most important is to develop the business, marketing, and mindset skills that directly lead to increased financial worth.