Career as a chiropractor

Are you looking for a career in healthcare with great job prospects, good pay, an independent working environment, a flexible lifestyle and lots of satisfied patients?

Are you interested in health sciences, natural health and wellbeing?

Are you interested in helping others?

Then consider a career as a chiropractor.

Chiropractic is interesting, varied, challenging, satisfying and rewarding. Chiropractors are experts in diagnosing and treating spine problems

What do chiropractors do?

Most of the time chiropractors work one to one with patients in treatment sessions lasting from a few minutes to up to an hour depending on what needs to be done.
Responsibilities include:
• taking a detailed medical history
• carrying out a physical examination using standard medical as well as chiropractic procedures
• taking or referring for x-rays, ultrasound scans or MRI
• forming a diagnosis based on the history and examination
• explaining this to the patient
• planning a course of care in partnership with the patient
• carrying out any manual or other treatments
• keeping accurate clinical records
• liaising with other health practitioners

 

95% of graduates find employment within 6 months

Flexible career choices

As most chiropractors are self-employed you can choose your working hours. Career breaks are also a possibility. This means a great quality of life.

One profession – many careers

Many chiropractors in general practice develop a special interest in treating pregnant women or sports people for example. Chiropractors are employed in a huge number of sports with teams including Premiership football and rugby, cycling, Alpine skiing and Formula 1. Chiropractors are also part of the medical team at the Olympic Games.

There are opportunities in research and academia too.

Salary

The salary of a new graduate is 50% higher than the average. Starting salaries are about £30,000 although this can vary. After a few years’ experience this will rise as you get busier. A business minded chiropractor with a large practice employing others can expect to earn up to £80-100,000 after several years. As most patients pay for their own care you have to have high standards of service to ensure that your practice thrives. This means that you will be responsible for promoting and running the business side of the practice as well. The training provided both before and after qualifying will help with this.

Graduate salary 50% higher than average

Working as a chiropractor

Most chiropractors work in small private practices in a wide variety of settings. High street or other town centre locations
are popular but you can also rent rooms in a GP surgery or other clinic premises. You can even practice from home if you
have space. Chiropractors either work alone with a receptionist or often with other chiropractors. Some work in larger multi-disciplinary practices with physiotherapists, massage therapists, acupuncturists or other health practitioners.

Although chiropractic is available on the NHS it is only available in a few areas depending on local funding decisions. GP’s can refer patients for private care too. Most patients need a course of care over several visits so you get to know them. Many patients will come back again if they have further need of your care and often bring their families to see you. You will become part of the community with many people choosing your care over conventional medical care.

 

Student, Maria, says
“Chiropractic was the greatest choice of my life. I am
inspired every day to study, practice, shadow chiropractors
and attend seminars. I know that serving people and making
them feel better is what I want to do for the rest of my life”

 

 

Training

The undergraduate chiropractic programmes are an integrated Masters course, commonly known as a Master of Chiropractic degree MChiro (Hons). Integrated Masters courses can be funded through a student loan in the same way as other undergraduate degrees, so they are a great way to fund a Masters qualification.

The integrated Masters degree is a full-time course over 4 or 5 years depending on your A level grades or other qualifications. Entry for the 4 year course requires A-level grades of ABB and for the 5 year course BCC.
The courses cover basic sciences such as
• anatomy
• physiology
• biochemistry
• biomechanics
• pathology
as well as clinical sciences such as orthopaedics, neurology, radiology and diagnosis. The course also covers a variety of
manipulative therapies and other evidence based interventions. The course is evidence based and similar to the training of medical doctors and other regulated health professionals. It involves you in practical examination skills from the first year and builds on these skills gradually teaching manual therapies until, in final year, you will be treating real patients under supervision.

92% of graduates are satisfied with their job

Recent graduate, Collette, says
“I love my work and getting up every morning I feel I have a
purpose. To me there is nothing more rewarding than seeing
someone improve and knowing I did that.”

 

 

Chiropractors are regulated like doctors and dentists

Like other health professions chiropractic is regulated by an Act of Parliament. Chiropractors must register with the General Chiropractic Council and adhere to a strict code of conduct to maintain the quality and safety of patient care. Principles like honesty, integrity and professionalism are requirements in all health professions. To be accepted onto the GCC register, you must have successfully completed a GCC accredited degree. You can do a foundation year or go straight in to the four year Integrated Masters in Chiropractic (MChiro).

The Education Providers

Currently there are four education institutions offering chiropractic undergraduate degree programmes in the UK. These programmes are approved by the GCC:

  • AECC University College (AECC)
  • Welsh Institute of Chiropractic (WIOC), University of South Wales
  • McTimoney College of Chiropractic (MCC)
  • London South Bank University (LSBU) (GCC approval pending)

All institutions, but especially AECC have a significant number of students who are from overseas. Estimates suggest that approximately half the students return to their native country upon graduation. This is partly contributing to the lack of growth within the UK profession

 

AECC University College

AECC University College offers a Masters in Chiropractic (MChiro) and is located in Bournemouth. It was founded in 1965 and was the first chiropractic programme in Europe.

AECC offers a 4/ 5-year (Mchiro) chiropractic and award its own degrees.

AECC’s annual intake is approximately 110-120 students.

The AECC also offers a range of continuing professional development courses including short courses and MSc programmes. The courses are offered to many different healthcare professionals including chiropractors, nurses, medical practitioners, osteopaths, physiotherapists, radiographers and exercise scientists.

Principal: Haymo Thiel (email: HThiel@aecc.ac.uk)

 

Welsh Institute of Chiropractic

Also referred to as WIOC, it is a higher education institution within the University of South Wales offering a Masters in Chiropractic (MChiro) degree. WIOC is located in Pontypridd and was founded in 1997.

WIOC  switched  to  MChiro 4/5 yr  for its 2016 intake. The annual intake is approximately 85-90 students.

WIOC has an extensive role in providing specialist imaging services such as MRI, ultrasound and DXA scanning for the local community as well as chiropractic services. WIOC also offers a range of continuing professional development courses for chiropractors.

Principal: Rhys Breckon (Email: rhys.breckon@southwales.ac.uk)

 

McTimoney College of Chiropractic

The McTimoney College of Chiropractic  is located in Abingdon in Oxford. Initially the school catered for the mature student with ‘life experience’ and some understanding of the problems that their patients might bring to them. The demand for training in the McTimoney method of chiropractic continues to increase and from October 2012, the Integrated Masters in Chiropractic (MChiro) programme is validated by BPP University as an Integrated Masters in Chiropractic degree.

The College also offers postgraduate animal and paediatric programmes which are also validated by BPP University.

The College has recently opened another campus in Manchester.

Number graduating:    approximately 40 per annum.

Annual intake:            approximately 50

Principal: Christina Cunliffe (Email: ChristinaCunliffe@bpp.com)

London South Bank University

London South Bank University in the heart of the capital is recognised for providing a personalised, high calibre education which equips graduates for employment and prepares them to make a positive contribution to society. LSBU provides dynamic evidence-based education which is underpinned by highly applied research and enterprise activity. This course provides a four year route to achieve a Masters in Chiropractic (MChiro) and provides the range and depth of skills necessary to practice competently as a chiropractor on graduation.

LSBU is part of one of the largest Schools of Health and Social Care in the country which has well-established links with world-leading clinical partners, and a strong reputation in applied research and innovation. This will also provide excellent opportunities to study alongside and become familiar with the wider health and social care community.

Thanks to the British Chiropractic Association for permission to reproduce elements of this page. Picture credits AECC University College, McTimoney Chiropractic College.