The Scoop on Chiropractics
Chiropractors are going to be popping up all over the place as more people want to try alternative medicine instead just going to a regular Doctor.
What in the World Does a Chiropractor Do?
If you're working as a Chiropractor your whole entire job is to treat patients who have diseases or conditions in their bones (the skeletal system, you get the idea.) Sometimes, as a Chiropractor, you might specialize in working with the spine where you're doing "alignments" (you know, when someone says they're going to the Chiropractor to get "adjusted".) You won't work like a regular M.D. though; instead you'll be working to get your patients to realize that their diet, exercise regimen, and other factors contribute to their health, not just some pills you can prescribe. The approach is much more broad than the "Take two aspirin and call me in the morning" we're used to. You'll have to use your powers of observation (you have those, right?) to check a person's posture or even read x-rays and read the results of lab tests.
If you wanted to be really specialized you could work with kids, athletes with injuries, or even brain disorders. Basically, you're not just helping people crack their necks.
The best part is that a Chiropractor will work in a nice office and keep, generally, a 40 hour work week. Even though you're on your feet a lot, you get to work with your hands, work with a team of Chiropractors, and (if you're lucky) own your own practice and set your own hours.
What Kind of Training do I need (A.K.A. - Will I have to go to School?)
Alright, so you have to get a license to work as a Chiropractor and that means you have to go to school. Generally, you have to have a college degree and you have to do a 4 year program in Chiropractics. Colleges of Chiropractics offer these courses and that is the kind of place you would have to enroll. (The Association of Chiropractic Colleges only has 19 members, so you can't just go around the corner and go to school.) They teach you everything from Biology, to Chemistry, to how to manipulate the spinal column and how to diagnose diseases. On other words, they tell you everything (that's why it takes 4 years.)
After you graduate from Chiropractic school you have to get your license and that usually means you have to pass a state "board exam" which usually include a written test and a "skills" exam in Chiropractics. Once you pass, they give you your license (which you need continuing education to renew) and you can work as a Chiropractor.
How Do I get One of These Jobs Anyways?
Chiropractors can start their own practice (which would require renting an office space, recruiting clients, purchasing equipment and even hiring a staff) or they could work with a larger practice, or even work at a hospital. In a career like this, when you have to get an advanced medical degree, your best bet for advancing your career is developing a client base. The more people that trust you and use your services, the more money you're going to make and the more you'll be able to build your practice. If you're not the "recruiting" type then working with a larger firm (where you can get patients a lot easier) or at a hospital might be better for you.
Since the "baby boomers" are retiring and the demand for alternative types of medicine is growing the jobs in this field should be growing as well, but remember that most Chiropractors don't change jobs and stay in the profession until they retire. If you live in a smaller town you may want to start your own practice because it's a much quicker route to a job than waiting (maybe a long time) for someone to retire.