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PotentialChiro
02-14-2012, 12:15 PM
I have been considering Chiropractic school for a couple years. I'm a massage therapist and personal trainer, and I love working for myself.
I've visited a number of schools, and I would be choosing between Western States, Palmer West and maybe Northwestern. The Choice of school however is not my main concern with this post.
I am aware of the problems within the profession. While I'm not overly concerned with what others think, the debt load of chiropractic school does scare me. I've talked with many Chiropractors in my state(Wisc) and some are doing well, while others are just doing ok. Most get by just fine however and very few paint an entirely negative picture of the profession.
I'm convinced that chiropractic would be the perfect profession for me. I feel the need to further my education, and I'm not interested in medical school (nor do I have the undergrad stats to apply). I am very much interested in assesing and treating musculoskeletal disorders. I do this in my practice as a massage therapist and personal trainer but I need to expand my skill set, I will never be satisfied with my current station in life.
A couple of the therapists in my town that seem to be doing well are practicing in a manner similar to what I envision for my start up practice. They work attached to health clubs in small rooms and have very low overhead. The work primarily without a receptionist and use diversified techniques, ART and corrective exercise primarily. They also have primarily cash based practices. One is in his 50s and has been at it for some time, he has nothing but good things to say and gets lot of referrals from MDs. The other is in his 30s and has been very successful in his first 5 years of practice, he is trying to convince me to go to palmer west where he went (good sports club).

I have gotten nothing but conflicting opinions about whether to go or not. The pervading opinion on this board seems to be that chiropractic school is a very risky proposition. However, if someone is willing to relocate and practice in a manner similar to what is listed above (low overhead, softtissue work, corrective exercise, nutrition/functional medicine consultations, cash based, ect...) is this an entirely doom and gloom proposition?

TheCanadian
02-14-2012, 01:08 PM
Do what you love.

NUHS-AUC
02-14-2012, 02:20 PM
BUT, think wisely and economics !
Most DC graduates can't pay back their loans, myself included.....
if you enjoy Physical medicine, consider DO school instead...


Do what you love.

devildoc8404
02-14-2012, 02:41 PM
As the son of a long-retired DC, I agree with NUHS-AUC. A DO degree offers a more secure future, by far. Heck, you can work in OMM exclusively, if that's what you prefer. It's harder to get in, but well worth the effort over the long haul... both professionally and financially.

Forsaken38
02-14-2012, 11:38 PM
@potentialchiro, I am currently a chiro student. I can tell you that the paradigm is changing, scope expansion is on the horizon, and if you practice in a good area you will do well. Demographics may be one of the largest factors for success as a chiropractor. A DO degree would be better if that's what you want, but I didn't want the stress. I too prefer managing MSK conditions and think there is a great potential for an evidence based doctor in an integrated setting.

While a few may be true, many of the arguments you will read are not relevant to chiropractic practice today. People often bring up antiquated facts about early chiropractic as "evidence" that chiropractic is bogus. There is a ton of research available now proving the effectiveness of SMT for certain conditions, and new research is being conducted all the time.

So no, it's not all gloom and doom. My advice to you is to carefully evaluate any opinions you receive or read. Many people who have biased opinions do not take into account all the available information for that subject and cannot give an opinion worthy of your consideration. Those who refuse to change opinions when presented with good data lose the authority to give meaningful advice.

If you have questions about current chiropractic education, feel free to ask and I will answer when I am not studying like crazy. Good luck what ever you decide.

PotentialChiro
02-15-2012, 11:07 AM
BUT, think wisely and economics !
Most DC graduates can't pay back their loans, myself included.....
if you enjoy Physical medicine, consider DO school instead...

You say that you couldn't pay back your loans, but aren't you a med student?

Did you try to start your own practice? Did you joint any marketing groups like BNI? Did you go give presentations? Did you volunteer for local high school sports teams? How did you differentiate yourself from your competition?

I have no delusions about what it would take to make good money as a chiropractor... maybe one of the biggest problems with the profession is that the schools aren't telling the students before they enter that with the current position of chiropractic, you are going to have to be an entrepreneur to make it. Some can join a group as an associate and eventually become a partner, but you are still going to have to contribute to the marketing efforts of the office if you want to grow your practice. The public needs to know that you are an evidence based provider with a skill set different from those old school guys. Word of mouth wont carry you in your first couple years of practice.

Now... you can argue that this is a total shame and that anyone interested in health care should look elsewhere as health care providers shouldn't have to be a business men. Well anyone who knows anything about medicine knows that that is total and utter **. At least chiropractors aren't run by big Pharma (don't get me wrong, I agree with expanded practice rights).

I feel bad for all those students that went to Life and are on the internet writing stories about how they bounced from associate position to associate position. They probably didn't know better and now they are giving the profession a bad name through internet bashing. If I was them I would probably move to a Caribbean island and open shop on the beach and let my loans default... live life, be happy, and stop blaming others for your mistakes.

PotentialChiro
02-15-2012, 11:52 AM
So no, it's not all gloom and doom. My advice to you is to carefully evaluate any opinions you receive or read. Many people who have biased opinions do not take into account all the available information for that subject and cannot give an opinion worthy of your consideration. Those who refuse to change opinions when presented with good data lose the authority to give meaningful advice.


So true...
I guess it really boils down to this. Of those Chiropractors who have graduated in the last 10 years, are practicing in an ethical/evidence based manner, and are giving there practice every chance to succeed through proper marketing efforts (referral networks, newsletters, presentations, volunteer work, ect..). What percentage of these folks are doing well? On track to payoff their loans, living a reasonably comfortable life style, ect.... ?

Forsaken38
02-15-2012, 05:54 PM
So true...
What percentage of these folks are doing well? On track to payoff their loans, living a reasonably comfortable life style, ect.... ?

AgActual posted a reference to this question in a thread titled myths about chiropractic or something like that. And he quoted that among first professional degree holders(MD/DO/DC/DPM/DPT/OD) chiro's have one of the highest default rates at ~1%. The national average for all grad school loans is ~4% I think. So 99% of us manage to pay back our loans and do just fine. The other healing arts professionals have a less than 1% default rate, but chiro is still well below the national average for grad school loan default rates.

PotentialChiro
02-16-2012, 05:08 PM
Any recient grads out there care to weigh in? How is your practice growing? How about your classmates practices? General impressions of starting a cash/ low overhead practice (given reasonable effort)?

7125
03-13-2012, 02:54 PM
It really depends on what you want to do and what will make you happy in practice. In the beginning it's fun establishing and running your own practice. You may be entertained by what you can do for a couple of years, or more if you enjoy working within the narrow scope of chiropractic. There is nothing wrong with the profession itself, it is the practitioners that give it a good/bad name. Moreover, as chiropractic is still not part of mainstream health care, it is held to a very high degree of scrutiny by allopathic practitioners, payers, government, health care consumers etc...

If you read NUHS-AUC's posts, you will notice that he is not anti-chiropractic. He is merely offering sound and honest advice based on his experience as a chiropractic student, medical student and currently as a surgical resident. He, like many other chiropractors, myself included, is not satisfied with the narrow scope of practice in chiropractic and decided to further his education so as to enjoy unlimited professional privileges. In return for his efforts, he will also realize financial success and stability.

As a chiropractor with nearly a decade of practice experience that includes establishing and operating my own practice and serving as a sports consultant to athletes and teams in the NFL and NBA, I am happy with my career development to date and my overall success. However, I wish to expand my scope of practice and broaden the range of opportunities available to me, and as a result, have decided to back to school and pursue a career in medicine.

Keep this in mind when making your decision to pursue a career in chiropractic. If you do decide to go this route, don't come back on here in 4 years and complain about the difficulty you may be experiencing in practice following graduation. If you like the modalities employed by chiropractors, I would recommend that you go to either an MD or DO program and complete a family medicine residency followed by either a sports medicine fellowship or integrative medicine fellowship.

From a business perspective, I want you to consider things in this manner: If you pursue a career in medicine (MD or DO) you will continue to enjoy running a busy practice without having to engage in some of the marketing practices that most chiropractors engage in so as to raise awareness about their practices and generate new patient flow into their clinics such as health care talks, "spinal screenings", telemarketing, coupons etc...Some chiropractors make an excellent living by running high volume practices and ascribing to a "wellness" or "subluxation" or "principled" based practice where their patients are "practice members" for life. This is fine for people who are comfortable practicing and operating this way. And if you enjoy working this way then you should go for it. However, if you believe that there is a start date and finite end date for course of therapy/care/physical rehabiltation/what have you, then this "wellness" method of practice may not work for you.

Food for thought.







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