With graduation just around the corner, I want to address what we all have on our minds upon graduation. The end game is obviously employment, specifically practicing chiropractic. Recent graduates from previous cohorts have found employment while waiting for their license. In the state of Florida it takes about one to two months to obtain a license after the application has been sent. For those who need to take a board exam or are waiting for the next opportunity to take the state “laws and rules” exam, they have found employment as professors, chiropractic assistants, and other health care related jobs, as one is a home health care aid. Some graduates have started their own practices. One graduate is working for Laser Spine Institute. Hospitals are now hiring chiropractors at a high rate due to the recent mandate put out by The Joint Commission. I have been looking for associateships in private practice.
When I was researching chiropractic as a profession prior to deciding to pursue my degree, I needed to know if it was worth the investment. I found a lot of negative opinions on the internet, but nobody really broke down the numbers, so it was kind of hearsay. I am now in the position where doctors are offering me contracts and I am going to share some ballpark numbers.
Student debt is a burden on almost every student in today’s education system. Thankfully, there are some plans that enable us to pay them back based on our income. When comparing a DC’s income to other health professionals, Chiropractors on average make less than our Medical Doctor counterparts. The median annual income for primary care physicians $196k and a Chiropractors’ median annual income is $144k according to Salary.com. According to Medscape.com medical residents make an average of $57k annually. The Association of American Medical Colleges reports the average debt from medical school alone is $183k. My debt from Chiropractic College is roughly $164k. With my undergraduate debt it rounds out to somewhere around $200k. Repayment plans give many options from 10 year plans with monthly payments of about $2k to 20 year plans with minimum payments of just $300 when first starting out. The 20 year plans are income based and they use 10% of your adjusted monthly income to determine your minimum payment.
So now on to the nitty gritty. I have a few offers already so allow me to share. The lowest offer I received is base salary $50k with a sliding scale of bonus or merit based pay. The bonuses are based on collections and range from 5% to 30%. Gross annual income could realistically be anywhere from $75k to $85k after making very attainable goals and there was potential for up to $120k annually. The second offer I received is $52k base with a fixed 30% of collections. This has a higher floor as it wouldn’t be a sliding scale just a flat 30% and a higher base salary but about the same ceiling at around $120k. That second offer is also in a practice with growth and a potential partnership opportunity. The third offer I have is $65k to $70k base with up to $1k per month bonuses for hitting practice based goals. There is also opportunity for a company car for the floating physician position. The final offer I have still has yet to be worked out completely but it is base salary $70k with incentivized merit based pay. The additional compensation has yet to be finalized.
So was it worth it? Absolutely! I have the potential to make six digits my first year out from school nearly twice as much as my medical doctor counterpart in the same stage of their career. Student loan repayment programs now offer income based repayment allowing new grad to avoid high payments while our incomes may not be as much as it will be down the road. Money aside, there isn’t anything I would rather be doing than helping people live healthier lives through conservative natural healthcare and Chiropractic.
If you have any questions please email me at [email protected].