Because more people are likely to experience neuro-musculoskeletal and joint problems as they age, employment opportunities for chiropractors will continue to increase moderately in the coming years. These specialists treat patients without having to perform surgery or prescribe medications. After accessing an individual’s medical condition and posture, a chiropractor may proceed to adjust the patient’s spinal column and related areas by hand to relieve pain. This system is considered the largest alternative medical profession – one that requires at least seven years of education.

In Los Angeles, chiropractors earn a median annual salary of nearly $150,000, with top practitioners securing yearly wages greater than $257,000, according to current data. By the time they are able to practice their craft legally, they have already completed at least three years of undergraduate courses in anatomy, biology, physiology and similar areas. This is necessary for prospective chiropractors to enter a four-year, post-graduate program that focuses on advanced courses in the liberal arts and sciences, such as chemistry and physics. After receiving their Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) degree, only then are aspiring chiropractors allowed to obtain a required state license. Like all states in the union, California requires continuing education to keep the permit active.

Southern California University of Health Sciences in Whittier offers an accredited DC program that could lead to eligibility certifications in such specialties as sports medicine, orthopedics, family practice, nutrition, rehabilitation and diagnostic imaging. The school provides more than a dozen potential employment settings, including wellness and pain centers, private practice offices, hospitals and universities.

By 2022, the government projects that 6,500 chiropractors nationwide will have already landed new jobs. This represents a 15 percent increase in the number of learned specialists treating neck and back problems in 2012. To care for their patients, chiropractors may be on their feet for long periods of time. Many that are self-employed burn the late-night oil by keeping their practices open in the evening hours and on weekends to accommodate their patients’ work schedules.

Since 1895, the chiropractic profession has endured and continues to lay healing hands on the evolving health care industry.

Sharon Raiford Bush is an award-winning journalist who covers topics of social interest in greater Los Angeles. Some news articles she has authored have been archived by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. Sharon also contributes to Examiner.com.

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