Too Many Chiropractors, Not Enough Demand — Chiropractic Student Loans

Thinking of becoming a chiropractor?

Then you should definitely read this (CLICK HERE FOR POST) about the unfortunate realities of supply and demand.

From 1995 to 2008 (estimated), there are 36,000 new chiropractors, yet only 7% of the population ever sees a chiropractor — and that number hasn’t changed in 20 years.

”The number of
chiropractors in the U.S. grew from 13,000 in 1970 to 40,000 in 1990.
That should have been a large enough jump to invite talk of restricted
chiropractic college enrollment. However, the jump of more than 50,000
by 1994 should have set off alarm bells.”

The chiropractic colleges keep pumping out more and more graduates with huge student loan debt, yet the demand for chiropractic is NOT increasing. At the same time, insurance companies are paying for less and less chiropractic care.

Before you sign the papers and go into massive debt for a chiropractic career, please read this blog, follow the links, and carefully do your own research. You can ask questions to former and current chiropractors on Chirotalk: The Skeptical Chiropractic Discussion List.

Remember that chiropractic colleges make money by getting your tuition. They can not be trusted to tell you the reality of the situation, especially considering that many make improper claims on their websites.

(Click Here To Read Post Operation Money Hum–How to make $ in Chiropractic?” )

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66 Responses to “Too Many Chiropractors, Not Enough Demand — Chiropractic Student Loans”

  1. Hi this blog is great I will be recommending it to friends.

  2. The for profit nature of the schools created an “enroll at all cost” environment. It is VERY difficult to make a living ethically in this profession. It is not impossible, but I know very few who make more than 55-65K. Most Real estate Agents or Insurance Agents easily make that, with little to no education cost. Insurance reimbursements continue to fall, and more and more Chiro’s are graduating.

    The debt burden has destroyed my life. After 8 years of college and 12 years barley getting by as a Chiropractor, I owe $177,000 (original loan amount was $77,000).

    This is a burden that I will bear until I die. I love helping patient’s more than anything, but I would definitely not recommend the Chiropractic path to ANYONE!

    • Unfortunately, it seems almost impossible to get others to understand just how uniquely crippling this situation is for chiropractors. Your prospects within the profession are nil if you choose to practice with any integrity, and your prospects outside the profession are even worse, as your education does not transfer to other fields. Most other professionals at least have the option to apply their education toward other gainful employment.

      It is also great to know your young incoming competition currently has and will likely have even better student loan terms in the near future. There seems to be great concern regarding assistance for young students (i.e., favorable terms and rates, as well as loan forgiveness), yet little to no concern for middle aged adults who will never be able to overcome their unforgiveable burden before retirement or death.

      The number of lives and families ruined by the so-called chiropractic “profession” is probably greatly underestimated, as most individuals are so ashamed they were so cleverly duped by a cult/scam masquerading as a reputable profession with a “legitimate” supporting educational system. Unfortunately for students and patients, chiropractic associations have also become very effective and intimidating lobbyists, such that they seem to have nothing but “friends” in political circles.

      Have you come across any MEANINGFUL assistance for this situation (on a level that might actually allow someone to recover a meaningful life)?

      • @Sandra To answer your question, I have not come across any meaningful assistance to help chiropractors who are already buried in debt. One reason I created this site is to raise awareness of the issue.

        Your best bet is to support organizations like STUDENT LOAN JUSTICE (link on this site) who are trying to promote restoring consumer protections for student loans.

        Ironically, the good news is that we are not alone with this problem. Americans now have more student loan debt than even credit card debt. We can only hope people will get mad enough to do something about this problem.

        It pains me to read the comments by all who are suffering with debt which they will never be able to pay off. Keep your chin up, and don’t give up on life. You never know, laws may change someday.

    • Todd Creighotn Says:

      I too have debt of over ,,, let’s say .. fact is it is up to 340 k, I scrape by unable le to pay. THE ORIGINAL LOAN WAS 80K,

      I THINK ALL SHOULD KNOW- This is a shitty (dumb) TIME TO SPEND SO MUCH TIME IN CHIROPRACTIC COLLEGE Earning DEBT.

      I am washing my hands of chiropractic, I listed my license as inactive.

      I finally found my soul again FUTURE IAS BRIGHT,

      OPTIONS ARE OUT THERE, work should not destroy you!

  3. […] to this blog post Too Many Chiropractors, Not Enough Demand — Chiropractic Student Loans, “from 1995 to 2008 (estimated), there are 36,000 new chiropractors, yet only 7% of the […]

    • WORST decision I have EVER made was to go to Chiro school. Admission officer at UBCC lied to me saying that I would have my choice of jobs after graduating and making near $90,000 per year. I graduated in 2008, had two BAD unethical PI jobs and only made $1100 in coverage work last year. I have >$155,000 in student loan debt for this PIECE OF CRAP career. I could not find work so I opened a new practice that is about to go bankrupt. NOBODY goes to see a Chiro! They think we “crack necks” and cause strokes! The percentage of people who see a chiro must be <7%! I am definitely interested in a lawsuit against these Chiro colleges and DISGUSTED with the profession.

  4. I am right their with you I am a Fort Collins Chiropractor who recently graduated from LCCW and with about 160k in debt and am just about to feel the burden of paying it back here in about 5 months. I have differed it to the max. What am I to do!

    • A William D. Ford consolidation can both give you a single office to call, rather than the ten my wife and I graduated with, as well as income sensitive repayment and eventual forgivness.

  5. This is some good info, so I just bookmarked your article on Digg and Delicious.

    I think you are spot on. So many chiropractic graduates email our offices in a near state of panic, wondering what the heck are they going to do to get the patients in so they can start paying off the debt burden.

    In fact your article caused me to rant about chiropractic debt on my blog this morning: http://www.chirobully.com/are-there-way-to-many-chiropractors/

    Regards,
    Ben

  6. Mitchell Davis Says:

    Although the posters make some good points, I wonder how successful the creator of this site would be if he just put as much energy into the chiropractic profession as he did in creating this web site.

  7. Ditto Mitchell. 2 years ago the exact same post was made. See here for link: http://chiropracticstudent.wordpress.com/2007/12/11/too-many-chiropractors-not-enough-demand/.

    Try earning a real income and opening a business instead of just complaining about your life online.

  8. RJM,

    Nothing has changed in two years… chiropractors have never seen more than SEVEN PERCENTAGE of the U.S. population… that hasn’t changed in 20 years.

    Except lately that SEVEN PERCENT may be DECREASING. I recently read in a chiropractic trade journal that only about FIVE PERCENT of the U.S. population will ever see a chiropractor. You have inspired me to dig up the article and include it in a future post.

    Considering the huge price of chiropractic college ($89,000 for tuition alone), the huge amount of student loan defaults, and the declining business year by year, could you honestly recommend chiropractic college as a good financial move? I sure couldn’t. Half of new chiropractors have quit practicing within 5 years after graduation.

    As for “all the time I put into this blog”, I take it you have never used WordPress? This blog takes me less than five minutes to update. There are so many negative stories in the media about the student loan mess that there’s literally more content than I could EVER post even if I wanted to.

  9. Mitchell Davis Says:

    I understand how difficult it is for many in this profession to earn an honest living. It is sad that, despite the financial difficulties encountered by a large number of chiropractors, the schools keep on producing more and more chiropractors. The goal of most chiropractic college presidents is too increase enrollment. Many for profit and not for profit colleges across the country are more interested in receiving government money than helping the students. Many assume that all the years of chiropractic college and the high cost of chiropractic tuition ensure a good career in chiropractic. However, that is not the case and it has often been estimated that 50% of chiropractors fail within 5 years after graduation. One possible solution is to deny institions loan money if their student default rate becomes too high. The problem, however, has existed for so long because there doesn’t appear to be any easy solution. What is your solution?

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  16. Frank Brach Says:

    I’m in the same situation after struggling almost 12 years now to make a decent living. I graduated near the top of my class in 2000 from NYCC. Had some bad experiences with associateships, struggled 5 years with owning an office. I’m finally coming to the conclusion that I need to get out of the profession but where do I go?. It has definitely drained my quality of life and now after all the time, money and effort, I have over 150K of debt I’ll never be able to pay back.

    Good luck to everyone in this situation, I feel your pain!

    Wish we could put together a class action suit against the schools and get some type of relief from the debt.

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  18. i wish I never went to LCCW and now I owe over 160k and without a job. Let’s all of us start a suit against chiropractic schools, they are all scams.

  19. WORST decision I have EVER made was to go to Chiro school. Admission officer at UBCC lied to me saying that I would have my choice of jobs after graduating and making near $90,000 per year. I graduated in 2008, had two BAD unethical PI jobs and only made $1100 in coverage work last year. I have >$155,000 in student loan debt for this PIECE OF CRAP career. I could not find work so I opened a new practice that is about to go bankrupt. NOBODY goes to see a Chiro! They think we “crack necks” and cause strokes! The percentage of people who see a chiro must be <7%! I am definitely interested in a lawsuit against these Chiro colleges and DISGUSTED with the profession.

  20. Worst decision of my life. Northwestern said you would graduate and make a minimum of 70k per yr. When I graduated I made $12.50 an hour. Sales people at the time such as kenmore, serta, and fridgedare were making 50- 60 k starting out. I was so embaressed. i now have loans around 200k and I’m 40. I have two small children, I think I will invest in there future, keep a safe with cash in it for retirement as my wages will be deminished when I reach medicare. Any other suggestions. I got out of chiropractic, unfortunately I had 2 friends commit suicide due to the financial stress of ever paying off chiropractic loans. Just FYI. Good luck to all future chiros. Hope you have your college paid for by family because it is not a good business to be in. I’d rather sell caskets, at least there 100 percent of the population will need one instead of all the chiro’s fighting over 5 percent of the population.

    • I would like to know more about this. This is newsworthy. I know one who did the same. When mainstream media slows down on cop-bashing and race-baiting they will need another topic. Several examples put together can help bump this story to page one and one of the top three stories televised.

  21. My husband graduated from Western States Chiropractic in the mid 200’s. We have NEVER made enough money to pay any of our financial aid and we now owe over $200K with no hopes of making payments. Right now my husband works in a call center…..a FRICKEN CALL CENTER! (Guess who wants to hire a chiropractor? No one) He got used and abused by Associate Doctors and then went out on his own to fail 3 times in 3 different cities! We lost everything, including our hope.

    My husband recently connected with old classmates via facebook, and only about 5% of them are out on there own and making it. The rest changed careers, just gave up and took menial jobs, or still work for crappy Associate doctors.

    We have no clue what we are going to do. We maxed out financial aid – so there is no hope of going back to school. I guess we could sell he rest of our belongings and drive to Vegas and bet it all. Probably would have better odds of making some money then at Chiropractic.

    And those of you that think…that wont happen to me! It can. We did all kinds of marketing, hired all the gurus, spent thousands on marketing and nothing in return. We humiliated ourselves with all kinds of external marketing, free massages, workshops, classes, presentations…bleah. Tired of this.

    I hope that someone starts a class action law suit against these Chiropractic schools that make all these false claims about the piles of money that will fall from the heavens. Bullshit.

    I guess there is hope in knowing we are not alone. But, what we do next is the hard part…I wish I would have know all this before hand.

  22. peppermint77 Says:

    Hi everyone. Thanks for the blog and for all the information. I am currently attending a chiropractic college now finishing up my pre-reqs and planned on starting in May. Everyone’s situations are really scary, but it is definitely good to hear REAL people out there, not recent grads speaking at luncheons talking about how successful they are. It definitely was very odd how “welcoming” they were and inviting. They paid for a free hotel room for me to come to the open house, and the admissions requirements, well if you take some classes, you are guaranteed entry. I didn’t know if I wanted to get my doctorate in physical therapy or become a chiropractor. The admissions requirements for becoming a DPT are VERY selective, and those schools definitely don’t have a problem with enrollment, they only accept like 25 students a year, so they are not out there recruiting. Also, according to the internet… all info out there states that DCs make more than physical therapists.. so I thought I’d give it a try. It seems weird that no one in my chiro school seems to have any idea about all the problems out there. Most are very bright, but seems like they haven’t done a lot of research, as have I, until recently. How come no one knows about all the problems of the chiropractic school/profession? Why don’t more recent grads tell the truth about their awful experience? Thanks guys!

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  35. Hi,

    This is all very depressing. I feel for my chiro brothers and sisters who are suffering. I graduated 20 yrs ago with $53,000 in student loan debt. I spent 3 years beforehand in the military saving money and earning GI bill money to help out for when I went to chiro college.

  36. I worked as an associate for a guy who paid me $26,000 (chiro minimum wage for 1993 through 1996) per year for 3 years, even though my collections were well over $100,000 per year when I got laid off only to be replaced by his recently graduated relative.

  37. I then started my own practice in an effort to avoid getting screwed as an associate again. I lived well below my means and got the loans paid off within 7 years. I got all of my business debt paid off within another 2 years. I’m a Dave Ramsey follower, so I no longer believe in using debt as a tool. If I need a new computer, cold laser therapy device, major clinic improvement, etc., I save up and pay cash for it.

    While my wife and I are nowhere close to being millionaires yet , I’m able to pay the bills, put food on the table and whittle away at our home and clinic mortgages.

    We have good months and bad months, but lately many more good than bad. Part of the key IMHO is to keep focused on why I do what I do as well as listening to lots of self-improvement, motivational audiobooks and CDs instead of watching reality crap like ‘Survivor’. It’s all about helping people. If I provide a fair and equitable service, then I will be compensated accordingly.

    I do agree with the colleges being proven driven. I went to chiro school with a dumb rich kid who failed biochemistry 8 times!!! As long as he was a good boy and paid his tuition every trimester they let him keep re-taking it. Finally the 9th time he passed. At least one must admire his persistence. LOL They weren’t about to turn this cash cow’s money away. Even though I aced biochemistry, his diploma looks exactly the same as mine.

  38. meant PROFIT DRIVEN

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  40. Edmund Geswein Says:

    There are not enough salaried jobs for chiropractors and student loan debt makes it impossible to get a business loan or go back to school for another degree (and there are no bridge programs to other worthwhile careers). The insurance reimbursement game is all politics. Long time practices seem to have the towns wrapped up.This creates extreme income disparity in the profession. As a result, over half (even possibly 80%) fail after 5 years. Working harder, learning more, and having a positive attitude will not cut it when you are being oppressed in this manner. One needs a reasonable opportunity to practice their profession and get fair reimbursement for it. Obviously, this is not the case for most chiropractors.

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