|An Interest in the Study of Chiropractic Work
By Michael Dorausch, DC
Several interesting e-mails appeared on my desk last week, and I didn't get a chance to address two of them, which I felt were fairly important. I do my best to get to e-mails that have been sent (not perfect) and almost always get a chance to check out blog comments. Earlier today, I covered why some may be getting deleted or marked as spam, good topic for a Sunday thought post.
Two e-mails I received were both in response to chiropractic salary articles, that one post has turned out to be one of the most popular things I've ever authored. Who would've thunk it? I've removed personal information from the e-mails received but I'm including the questions below.
I found your article, Assessing the Salary of a Chiropractor, to be very helpful. I am currently a young nanny living in the east coast and have recently found an interest in the study of chiropractic work. So I decided to plan a trip to the best chiropractic school that I know of. Last month I flew into Atlanta to visit Life University. I met with some great people and found myself sort of like a magnet to their philosophy. I wanted to research a little more about the business and life style of a chiropractic doctor before I dive right in. I ran across your article and found it to be extensively informative. Thank you for sharing your own experience and research. =)
This young nanny doesn't say how she became interested in a possible career in chiropractic. Taking the time to plan a trip to visit schools shows good intention, and I recommend anybody planning to attend the chiropractic college, visit as many schools as possible before committing to a particular educational program. It's early to tell, but a prospective chiropractic student is already feeling magnetic about the philosophy of chiropractic at Life University, I'd say that's a really good sign. I think this individual is on the right track want to learn more about business aspects (as well as lifestyle aspects) related to the industry of chiropractic before jumping into anything.
I have visited the Life campus in Marietta Georgia many times. While the school experienced some challenges in the earlier part of this decade, it's been my experience that its reputation amongst practicing chiropractors, as well as consumers, has been top-notch. There's not many chiropractic schools I've heard chiropractic patients speak specifically about, Life is one of those schools that gets mentioned regularly by new folks coming to my practice (Palmer in Iowa is the other).
I think anyone planning to attend a school like Life would do well to get in touch with someone like Sharon Gorman, who practices in Pennsylvania. She is one of many chiropractors active in alumni activities for that school, another good sign, since communicating and getting assistance from chiropractors that have graduated before you can make or break your practice (and ultimately lifestyle) experience.
Here is the second e-mail on the same subject...
I am debating as to whether or not I should go to physical therapy school or go to chiropractic school. I live in Chicago IL and I live close to National University of Health Sciences. There are so many chiropractors in my area. There is a chiropractor in every shopping center. Do you know if the law for having a script to go to a physical therapist will still exist in a few years? Physical therapists seem to have the allopathic doctors on their side. A lot of people think that chiropractors are a joke and there are not very many physical therapy self-owned places where I live. I want to have my own practice. Can a chiropractor just offer physical therapy in their practice? If the medical society moves away from having a script to see a physical therapist, perhaps I will have an advantage as a chiropractor. I am just really lost as to what direction to take. I am very intrigued as to what a chiropractor studies and knows about natural medicine. I guess that would jump into my next question, what are your views on a naturopathic doctor. Recently, National University has added this program to their school. However, in IL they can not be licensed doctors yet. The school states that in a few years Naturopathic doctors will be able to carry their title. Any advice that you can give me will help. I was even thinking as to finish my masters in accounting and then go into chiropractic or naturopathic medicine, just in case I would not make any money in practice. I would go into chiropractics or naturopathic medicine just on the premise that I believe. I just hope I would be able to make others believe, especially when there would be another doctor only so many feet away. Do you think I should pursue physical therapy?
There is a lot of questions in this e-mail and I figured it better to answer it here since others may be having similar questions and concerns. To put it bluntly, I think that your statement "I am just really lost as to what direction to take" pretty much sums up your situation. Personally, I wouldn't enroll in any school until some of these questions were answered to my satisfaction.
I'll address physical therapy first. I don't have much information on the subject other than to say that I believe practicing as a physical therapist is nothing like practicing as a chiropractor. In my experience, they are two very different business models, with very different lifestyles and opportunities for income. If physical therapy is a career you'd like to pursue, do some research on what schools are in your area, and/or what physical therapy programs provide the best opportunities for a successful career in that field. You mentioned there not being very many self owned physical therapy centers in your area, that's my experience here as well in Los Angeles. From what I know about two centers that are located near me, the owners (I believe they are licensed physical therapists) really love what they do. Each office has a half-dozen plus more physical therapists on staff, as well as additional staff for front office work, billing department, marketing, and general office assistance.
I find it almost humorous that you mention there is a chiropractor in every shopping center in your area yet it's your opinion that those businesses aren't taken seriously. I can tell you this, I remember classmates in school that were so concerned about what people were going to think about them, that by the time they graduated their grave was half dug. To my knowledge, none of those classmates lasted more than a year in the chiropractic profession. No idea what they do today, but they probably don't practice chiropractic, and they've likely default on their student loans. That's not good for anyone. I'd do some serious soul-searching before considering a career in chiropractic (I'd advise that to everyone). That being said, I know a lot of successful practitioners, and I have built friendships and relationships with some really incredible people.
I've never visited the National Chiropractic College campus and in my experience it's a very different school from the one I spoke of above. Nearly every chiropractor would tell you that. Here's the thing though, if you're just seeking a degree in chiropractic, you can pretty much do that in any school in the U. S. that offers chiropractic education. But the reality is, you will invest quite a bit of time and money into your chiropractic education, you may as well get everything out of it that you possibly can. Choosing the right school (right for you) is incredibly important. From what I've read in your e-mail, I feel you'd be on the right track with National as your choice.
I don't know anything about naturopathic medicine or the program they may be offering. My gut says not to attend a chiropractic school for any education other than chiropractic, but I've been out of school more than 10 years, and National may be developing a good program in that field. If you're concerned about what the medical society may think about you, I'd be real careful about choosing any of the three fields you mentioned above. I would suggest you visit the local chiropractic campus for more information, speak to actual students (not the ones people in administration want you to meet), and visit at least two other schools in the other fields as well. All the best in whatever field you choose.