Embarking on a chiropractic career post-graduation presents a myriad of choices. The trajectory of a chiropractor’s profession can be influenced immensely by the initial decisions made.

In this week’s chiropractic podcast, I discuss several options available to new chiropractors, detailing their pros and cons to aid in making an informed decision.

1. Associate Position

New chiropractors can opt to work under a seasoned chiropractor in an established practice.

Pros:

  • Learning Opportunity: Associates can amass invaluable practical knowledge from experienced chiropractors.
  • Stable Income: A steady salary provides financial security right out of school.
  • Reduced Responsibilities: Associates don’t often handle overhead costs, staff, or marketing, enabling a focus on patient care.

Cons:

  • Limited Autonomy: Less freedom in clinical decision-making and operational procedures.
  • Income Ceiling: Earning potential might be capped compared to owning a clinic.

2. Starting a Solo Practice

Taking the entrepreneurial route, chiropractors can set up their own clinic.

Pros:

  • Full Control: Solo practitioners have total discretion over their schedule, treatment methods, and business strategy.
  • Growth Potential: Earnings directly correspond to the clinic’s success, which can surpass associate positions.

Cons:

  • Initial Costs: Setting up a clinic requires a significant financial outlay for equipment, space, etc.
  • Business Burden: Handling every facet of a business can be daunting.

3. Buying an Existing Practice

Acquiring a well-established clinic.

Pros:

  • Ready Revenue: A built-in clientele ensures immediate income.
  • Inherited Reputation: Benefiting from established goodwill eases transitions.

Cons:

  • Initial Investment: Purchasing an existing practice can be financially hefty.
  • Inherited Issues: Potential pre-existing challenges with equipment, staff, or patients.

4. Starting a Micro Practice

A streamlined, usually one-room setup, focusing predominantly on chiropractic care.

Pros:

  • Minimal Overhead: Reduced setup costs mean faster profitability.
  • Simplified Management: No staff leads to fewer operational concerns.

Cons:

  • Limited Expansion: Growing or adding services might necessitate changing the model.
  • Solo Tasks: Handling everything from treatment to bookings can be demanding.

5. Partnerships

Joining forces with one or more chiropractors.

Pros:

  • Shared Load: Divided tasks and finances ease individual pressures.
  • Team Environment: Collaborating brings diverse skills and treatments, enriching patient care.
  • Distributed Risks: Setbacks are shared, reducing individual impacts.

Cons:

  • Conflict Possibility: Differing visions can lead to disagreements.
  • Shared Profits: Earnings are divided, which could limit individual income.

6. Independent Contracting

Working within an existing practice but operating as a self-employed entity.

Pros:

  • Flexibility: Set your hours and choose your clientele.
  • Lower Financial Risk: Lesser upfront costs than starting or buying a practice, as you leverage existing infrastructure.
  • Autonomy in Treatment: More freedom in patient care compared to an associate position.

Cons:

  • Inconsistent Income: Income can be variable based on the number of patients and the agreement with the practice owner.
  • Contractual Obligations: There might be non-compete clauses or other restrictions in contracts.
  • Potential Overhead Sharing: Some costs, like rental space or utilities, might be shared, depending on the agreement.

Conclusion:

Every chiropractic path has its unique rewards and challenges. New chiropractors should align their aspirations, financial readiness, and preferred work-life integration with the choices discussed above. Regardless of the chosen path, continuous growth through learning and a commitment to excellence will be key cornerstones of a successful chiropractic career.


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Jerry Kennedy
Jerry Kennedy

Chiropractor, Christian, husband, father, chiropractic meme wizard, podcast host, and founder of Rocket Chiro