It’s About Time for Chiropractic to Become the Profession to Choose
In my last post, we talked about getting back to the beginning and starting with why…why we became Chiropractors in the first place, why Chiropractic works, why we do what we do every day. Now, I want to take a look at the next generation of Chiropractors and whether or not we are doing enough as a profession to make Chiropractic an attractive choice for those students that are trying to decide what to do with the rest of their lives. Don’t you think that it’s about time we made Chiropractic a great career choice? Yes, it should be about the satisfaction of helping others but we also need to make Chiropractic an economically viable choice as well.
Let’s face it…getting an education today is expensive and most students who come out of college are carrying student loan debts, probably in the tens of thousands of dollars. In fact, according to an analysis of government data, the average amount of student loan debt for a graduating college senior is a little over $35,000 and 71% of these graduates have loans to pay back. Add to that the statistics from a 2014 study published in the Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association estimating that 88% of Chiropractic students graduate with between $100,000 and $175,000 in student loans, a massive burden to any Doctor first out of school.
In order for students graduating from college to decide to go to Chiropractic school, spending more time, and taking on more debt, they have to be able to see a future where Chiropractic not only allows them to pay off their student loans but also provides them and their families with a nice life.
The problem the Chiropractic profession has experienced for many years is that so many of us struggle just to make a living, much less the nice income that we should be able to expect in return for the number of years we spend becoming Chiropractors, the risk we take opening and running our own business, and the hours we devote every week toward improving the lives of others. In fact, in 2010, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a median wage for Chiropractors at just over $67,000, not much in comparison the $140,000 to $300,000 incomes reported by Osteopathic Physicians.
I think that it’s about time we made Chiropractic an economically viable profession choice for future students. This means that not only do we need to see more patients, we need to price our services to reflect their importance to the health of our patients. We also have to put systems in place to manage and improve the patient experience so that more people continue Chiropractic care not just through corrective care but also to maintain their health. We must also scrutinize our processes to ensure that every step we take each day is done in the most effective and efficient way. Our offices should function smoothly and at the end of the day when we go home, we should know with 100% certainty that everything has been done and done to the highest possible standards.
Making the choice to become a Chiropractor has never been and never will be solely about money. I firmly believe that myself and my fellow Chiropractors have a calling to help others and improve the health and lives of our patients. Still, we can no longer ignore the economic realities and disparities of income experienced by Chiropractors in comparison to other healthcare professionals. We have a duty to future Chiropractors to increase the income of our profession as a whole and make Chiropractic an economically viable choice. It’s about time.