Some new data has emerged since our original post attempted to answer the question “How much do chiropractors make?” So here’s the latest update on chiropractor salary stats and answers to burnings question asked by associate doctors looking for chiropractic jobs and by chiropractic business owners alike who are wondering how they compare to their peers.
While the question “How much do chiropractors really make?” sounds like a simple one to pose, the answer is a bit more complicated and varied depending on the source of the information. Let’s take a look:
User Generated Answers
If we want to examine chiropractic salary stats, perhaps the best place to start is with what the chiropractor had to say for themselves. Each year, Chiropractic Economics conducts an annual Salary Survey to see where the profession is at income wise. UPDATE: The 2018 salary survey indicated that chiropractic compensation increased slightly to $107,310 with total compensation (including benefits and perks) increasing as well to $140,050. For comparison, in 2017 the survey indicated that the average chiropractic salary was $101,734 and the average total compensation was $136,971. It should be noted that the bulk of the Chiropractic Economics is determined by the “typical” DC answering their survey (who, on average, is a male DC, age 48, who has been in practice 20 year and is owner of a business or part of a group or partnership). This salary survey only records data from 13% of DC’s who are Associates (non-owners). On the surface, therefore, this data may be skewed more to reflect that of an experienced doc, than the profession as a whole. Furthermore, in 2017, there were approximately 500 responses to the survey, which is a small fraction of the 50,000 or so DC’s in the USA. Despite these limitations, I study the salary survey each year because it does reveal trends in the profession in terms of income, expenses, services provided and many other useful data points. Because of this, we cannot ignore the valuable info provided by Chiropractic Economics each year in its Salary Survey.
UPDATE: Another helpful aspect of the Chiropractic Economics salary survey is the look at how the profession is changing with respect to additional income sources, as well as expenses. Interestingly, this year’s survey shows 46% of chiropractors are employing a massage therapist — so more of the profession is catching on to the vision casted in our best-selling Build a $300,000 Massage Practice in Your Chiropractic Clinic!
Another user-generated source for chiropractic salary data can be found on GlassDoor.com. If you’re unfamiliar with GlassDoor, they are a a website dedicated to providing some transparency and insight into what it’s like working for various businesses (big and small), including chiropractic offices. In the process of employees rating their experiences working for a particular employer, some salary stats can be generated. With GlassDoor, we have perhaps the polar opposite of the type of data we saw from Chiropractic Economics as most (if not all reviews) are employee related. In other words, the salary data here is likely from Associate Chiropractors as it’s highly unlikely that a practice owner would rate him or herself on their own salary. So how much does GlassDoor say that chiropractors make? Their data ranges from a low of $43,000 to a high of $101,000 (which is interestingly enough, listed as “average” in CE.)
Limitations: as of May 2017, GlassDoor recorded only 25 reviews, so the survey size is certainly tiny and only tenth of Chiropractic Economics and approximately .05% of the total profession. If we go a little further and search the approximately 500 or so jobs that were listed on GlassDoor at the time of this writing (who stated a salary range in their offer), we did not find any employment positions that exceeded this salary range on the high end.
Indeed is a job-searching site that also shared its data on chiropractic salaries. According to Indeed, the average chiropractor salary was $60,478 and they recorded a range from a low of $14,000 to a high of $145,000 from 1867 employees, users, past and present job advertisements that were placed on Indeed. On the positive side, the size of Indeed’s salary survey commands a look, as it is easily 3x larger than other user generated chiropractor salary data that’s available. However, there’s no distinction made between full and part-time work.
Finally, Payscale is another source of compensation information which is generated from user data. In the case of how much chiropractors make, 1741 users reported that a chiropractor salary ranged from $36,237 – $117,915 without benefits and from $37,378-$121,527 with additional benefits. The Median Chiropractic Salary is listed as $59,807 at the time of this writing (June 2018).
UPDATE: Published Articles
Peer Reviewed Journals
Publishes medical literature or research on chiropractor salary levels is scarce. A search on Pub Med found few articles in peer-reviewed journals on the subject.
A study published in JMPT in February 2018 conducted a survey of 37 chiropractors in the private sector healthcare system found a median chiropractor salary of $112,000 – with the range going from $40k to $255k. But with such a small sample size, it is hard to draw meaningful conclusions from this.
US News and World Report
Although certainly not a peer-reviewed journal, in 2016, US News & World Report ranked chiropractic as #24 in “Best Health Care Jobs” and reported the average chiropractor salary to be $67,520. Salary data looks to be the same as the Bureau of Labor & Statistics at that time.
“Official” Chiropractor Salary Stats
If you want to bypass user generated data for chiropractic salary stats (and its flaws) to determine how much chiropractors really make, then the gold standard is the Bureau of Labor Statistics. While the BLS is potentially able to obtain the most scientifically accurate and largest sample size from its employment of field economists, utilization of job codes, tax records, census bureau data and other published sources, there are two potential limitations: The first is that BLS data is limited to the full-time chiropractors and the only candidates likely to escape their data collection methods are self-employed DC’s who do not have their own business and do not work for someone else. In other words, there may be some Locum Tenens and unemployed docs who are not included in their data, but pretty much every other chiropractor is a potential candidate for BLS salary counts. The second limitation is that the data is not updated as regularly as some other sources (because of the intense collection methods)
As a result, the BLS also holds the distinction as the primary entity that banks other lenders utilize for salary data when considering loans for chiropractic practice sale purchases and small business loans or lines of credit.
According to the latest BLS statistics (generated May 2017), the Median chiropractor salary is $68,640. The lowest 10th percentile of chiropractors earn $34,550, while $98,040 represents a chiropractor salary in the 75th percentile; and with the top 90th percentile of chiropractors earn $144,730.
Another factor that may affect your chiropractor salary is where you practice. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the top five best paying states (in terms of annual mean wage) are as follows:
- Rhode Island ($147,900)
- Tennessee ($122,620)
- Connecticut ($113,130)
- Alaska ($106,600)
- Colorado ($99,350)
Of course, if you want to mine that data even further, you can even pick the top locations within certain states to come up with a competitively high wage as well. Whereas the rest of their state may differ, here are the some of the top metro areas in terms of chiropractic salary income:
- Washington DC Metro / Southern MD ($189,260)
- Colorado Springs, CO Metro ($183,860)
- Memphis, TN ($174, 550)
- Toledo, OH ($145,540)
- Flint, MI ($141,040)
- Reno, NV ($138,390)
- Providence, RI ($134,210)
- Sheboygan, WI ($126,950)
- Camden, NJ ($122,970)
- Miami, FL ($121,290)
- Los Angeles, CA ($94,520)
In non-metro areas, there are also some interesting chiropractor salary standouts:
- Eastern, OH area ($137,830)
- Southeast Coastal NC area ($126,060)
- Piedmont, NC area ($109,210)
- West Northwestern OH ($90,970)
- Northwest Iowa ($84,900)
Hopefully these chiropractic salary stats help you answer the question “How Much Do Chiropractors Really Make?” and give you some food for thought.
If you presently own your practice and aren’t satisfied with the compensation your business is bringing you, perhaps its time to look into taking your business to the next level. Consider checking out our FREE webinar: Buy, Build or Break Up: How to Make Your Next Best Move to Purchase a Chiropractic Practice, Start One From Scratch or Find a New Associate Job.
On the other hand, if you are already sure it’s time to branch out and move towards owning a practice or to a better paying associate position, then I would suggest you sign up for our FREE Practice Match service so that we can help you find a practice that will help you reach your chiropractic goals!
Finally, if you are on the other side of the fence and looking to HIRE a chiropractic associate as part of your exit strategy — then you should consider viewing our FREE Webinar: Sell, Switch or Slow Down: How to Maximize the Value of Your Chiropractic Practice Sale or Transition and Minimize Costly Mistakes