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 chiropractor salary stats, perhaps the best place to start is with what the chiropractic profession has to say. Each year, Chiropractic Economics conducts an annual Salary Survey to see where the profession is at income-wise. The 2019 salary survey indicated that the BOTH the average gross billings ($546,500) and the gross collections ($395,500) for a chiropractor were down from 2018 (gross billings = $620,000; gross collections = $449,000). The average chiropractor salary also decreased slightly to $111,000 (from $132,000 in 2018) and the total compensation (including benefits & other perks) decrease as well from $198,750 to $148,570 for those in group practice.
Interestingly enough, the average chiropractor salary (not including benefits or other perks) for docs in solo practice INCREASED. This is certainly good news since the majority of the profession practices in this manner. For solo practitioners, the average chiropractor salary in 2018 went from $96,850 up to $99,500.
Despite the fact that the data is coming directly from DC’s themselves, the salary survey only records data from 12% of DC’s who are Associates (non-owners). And the average Associate salary is reported as $49,151 — which is obviously a significant difference from the typical owner chiropractor salary. So, on the surface, therefore, this data may be skewed more to reflect that of an experienced doc, than the profession as a whole.
Furthermore, this most recent salary survey, there were approximately 800 responses, which is still 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 42% of chiropractors are employing a massage therapist — so more of the profession is catching on to the vision cast 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 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 $42,000 to a high of $88,000 with an average of $58,425 (which is higher than the average associate salary reported in CE).
Limitations: as of July 2019, GlassDoor recorded only 161 reviews, so the survey size is certainly much smaller and more limited in scope than Chiropractic Economics. 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 $64,513 (an increase from when we last viewed the site two years ago for this post) and they recorded a range from a low of $15,000 to a high of $149,000 from 2278 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. In addition, it’s likely skewed towards Associate Salaries, but the top end is questionable whether those six-figure positions would be for chiropractic associates.
Finally, Payscale is another source of compensation information which is generated from user data. In the case of how much chiropractors make, 1555 users reported that a chiropractor salary ranged from $39k – $116k. The Median Chiropractic Salary published in July 2019 is listed as $60,747 (an increase from $59,807 in June 2018).
UPDATE: Published Articles
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 (June 2018), the Median chiropractor salary is $71,410 – an increase from the previous number recorded in 2017 at $68,640. The lowest 10th percentile of chiropractors earn $34,990, while top 10% ( 90th percentile) of chiropractors earn $149,170.
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: Exit Essentials: 10 Factors That Affect the Value of Your Chiropractic Practice Sale or Transition