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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


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


  • 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.


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


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


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