Alternative Careers for Chiropractors

Jan 19, 2020

Learn about some similar careers in the medical field that may prove to be good alternative jobs for a chiropractor. You can also get information on the median salaries, job growth and education requirements for each position.

Alternative Career Options for Chiropractors

There are several alternative careers in the medical field, as well as a few in other fields, that may utilize similar skills and knowledge of a chiropractor. Although these jobs have their own unique education requirements, a chiropractor looking to change careers may find some of the following career options enjoyable.

Job Title Median Salary (2018)* Job Growth (2018-2028)*
Massage Therapists $41,420 22%
Podiatrists $129,550 6%
Physical Therapists $87,930 22%
Physicians and Surgeons $200,890 or more 8%
Health Specialties Teachers, Postsecondary $97,370 23%
Exercise Physiologists $49,270 10%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Alternative Career Information for Chiropractors

Massage Therapists

Massage therapists are similar to chiropractors in that they use touch and manipulation to treat pain, injuries and other conditions in their patients. These therapists are specially trained to massage muscles and soft tissues in the body, which also helps to relieve stress and improves circulation. Massage therapists monitor their patients' progress and may give them stretches or relaxation tips to further help the condition. These therapists usually need a state license or certification and must complete a postsecondary program with at least 500 hours of study and training.


Chiropractors may enjoy a job as a podiatrist since podiatrists also work with bones and muscles, but podiatrists specialize in treating conditions of the foot, ankle and lower leg. These professionals may treat injuries or illnesses of these areas through medications, surgeries, orthotics and more. Podiatrists often diagnose these conditions through x-rays and physical exams and may refer patients to other specialists as needed. Podiatrists need to obtain a state license after earning their Doctor of Podiatric Medicine degree and completing a 3-year residency.

Physical Therapists

Physical therapists are also like chiropractors in that they work to help their patients manage pain. Physical therapists may also work with patients recovering from injuries or illnesses to help them regain or improve their movement and mobility through exercises, hands-on therapy, stretches and more. These professionals closely monitor a patient's progress and adjust the treatment plan as needed, as well as educate the patient and their families about the recovery process. Physical therapists need a state license and a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree.

Physicians and Surgeons

Physicians and surgeons also treat patients with various injuries and illnesses, but take an even wider scope than chiropractors and treat all areas and systems of the body. They may use medications, surgeries and other treatment methods to help their patients and also answer any questions their patients may have about the treatment. Physicians and surgeons usually specialize in a particular area of medicine or specialize in treating a particular population, such as pediatrics. These doctors must earn a 4-year degree from a medical school that is followed by a 3-7 year residency, depending on their area of expertise, and earn a medical license to practice.

Health Specialties Teachers, Postsecondary

Some chiropractors may enjoy sharing their knowledge of the field with others by becoming a health specialties teacher at the postsecondary level. At the postsecondary level, these teachers are responsible for advising undergraduate and graduate students about courses and research projects, as well as developing curriculum for the courses that they teach. Most institutions also require postsecondary educators to conduct independent research in their field. The majority of postsecondary educators have a Ph.D., but some may only need a master's degree.

Exercise Physiologists

Like chiropractors, exercise physiologists work to improve a patient's overall health, but their patients may be recovering from chronic diseases. Exercise physiologists use a variety of exercises to improve a patient's flexibility, cardiovascular function and more, all while ensuring the patient's safety while performing the exercise routines. These professionals need to have at least a bachelor's degree in the health and science field.

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