If you’re considering a career in healthcare, you should know this is an exciting time to join the chiropractic profession.
Chiropractors today are becoming increasingly important in helping to improve people’s health and well-being. More specifically, they’re helping to meet a growing need for noninvasive healthcare treatments (more on that below).
I’ve been a chiropractor myself for 20 years and am also the dean of the College of Chiropractic at Northwestern Health Sciences University. I know firsthand how rewarding this career path can be. Below, I’ll share three major reasons to consider being a chiropractor.
1. Enjoy providing hands-on care and getting to know patients on a deeper level
There are few healthcare professions that are as hands-on as chiropractic care. You provide actual care during patient visits by adjusting and manually manipulating the spine and other joints, treating soft tissue with hands-on therapies, and using specialized instruments to assist in treatment.
Chiropractors also have the knowledge and training to provide health assessments and can make recommendations to their patients on diet, exercise, and other factors that can improve their health and well-being.
In the process of providing care, chiropractors also need to have empathy and patience, and an ability to put people at ease.
These factors exemplify the intimate, patient-focused nature of chiropractic care. Every day you’ll be reminded of just how worthwhile your career is.
2. Benefit from a profession with more options and more freedom
Chiropractors can enjoy a high degree of autonomy, especially compared to other healthcare practitioners. For example, being self-employed and owning your own practice is a popular choice. This option affords you the freedom to be your own boss and set your own hours of service.
But if having your own practice isn’t for you, that’s not a problem. More than ever before, chiropractors today can work in a wide range of settings. Here are some examples:
- Group practice offices, where multiple chiropractors provide care
- Integrative clinics, where chiropractors and other healthcare providers like massage therapists and acupuncturists provide care
- Primary care clinics
- Multidisciplinary clinics
- VA Medical Centers
- Corporate settings
- Fitness centers
- Sports team facilities
Note that you can also start preparing to treat specific types of patients while in chiropractic school. For instance, there are programs that provide a sports emphasis if you’re interested in focusing on athletes.
3. Join a profession with a bright future
People are becoming increasingly savvy about the healthcare choices they make. Both patients and healthcare practitioners, for example, are looking for alternatives to drugs and surgery when possible. This is becoming especially important in light of the opioid abuse epidemic.
This is just one reason why the non-invasive treatment strategies that chiropractors implement will have a growing role in the future of healthcare.
But there are actually a variety of reasons why chiropractors have a bright future. In fact, it’s not surprising to see the profession on two different “Best Jobs” jobs lists from U.S. News & World Report.
Here are some additional positive indicators:
More chiropractors are needed. The U.S. Bureau Labor of Statistics estimates a promising job growth rate of 11% for the coming decade.
Timely treatment for an aging population. Closely related to the point above, Baby Boomers are not only the largest segment of the population; they’re living longer than prior generations. As they age, their need for musculoskeletal-related care will likely increase.
Wide insurance coverage. The American Chiropractic Association reports, “Chiropractic treatment is a covered benefit in virtually all traditional insurance policies.”
Growing acceptance within the overall healthcare system. It’s becoming more and more common for healthcare professionals like medical doctors, physical therapists, and clinical massage therapists to refer their patients to chiropractic doctors.
Prominent health systems are endorsing chiropractic care. For example, recent legislation has expanded Veteran Administration (VA) services to include chiropractic care for veterans. This development has deeper implications that can ultimately influence other health systems.
Take the next step and start exploring chiropractic programs
Healthcare today is evolving and chiropractors are poised to play a key role in its future. You’ve just gotten a glimpse of the career advantages to being a chiropractor. Can you see yourself helping people through chiropractic care?
If any of the points I’ve made above resonate with you, I encourage you to take the next step: Take control of your future and start researching chiropractic programs today.
Katie Burns Ryan, D.C., is a passionate advocate for chiropractic care. She is the Dean of the College of Chiropractic at Northwestern Health Sciences University.