California Chiropractic Careers

Chiropractors see the relationship between the structure of the spine and the function of the nervous system as key to maintaining and restoring health. Their proven techniques, including spinal manipulation, physical therapies such as electrical stimulation and heat and cold; massage, acupressure, and exercise and lifestyle counseling, help treat conditions ranging from low back and neck pain to headaches and pain caused by compressed nerves.

Chiropractors practice in more than 100 countries around the world, with more than 50,000 licensed chiropractors in the U.S. alone. While chiropractors practice in every state across the U.S., the highest population can be found in the State of California.

Chiropractic Education and Training Programs

In order to provide chiropractic services in all states and the District of Columbia, aspiring chiropractors must complete an accredited program leading to the Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) degree. This post-graduate degree takes at least 4 years to complete and typically costs up to $100,000 or more for the entire program. A comprehensive program requires coursework in areas such as anatomy, neuroscience, nutrition, radiology, chiropractic history, techniques, and research, bone and joint imaging, musculoskeletal physiopathology, microbiology, patient communication, and clinical services.

Upon completion of the program, graduates must pass a state specific exam, an exam administered by the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners or both. In the State of California, aspiring chiropractors must:

Pass Parts I, II, III, IV and Physiotherapy of the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE )
Graduate from a State of California Board of Chiropractic Examiners-approved chiropractic college
Meet all current educational units

Licensed chiropractors in the State of California must also complete 24 Hours of Continuing Education each year prior to the expiration of their license.

Chiropractic Schools and Training Programs in California

The California Board of Chiropractic Examiners currently lists 20 Board-approved chiropractic schools. Four are located in California. They include:

Cleveland Chiropractic College, Los Angeles, CA
Life Chiropractic College West, Hayward, CA
Palmer College of Chiropractic West,    San Jose, CA
Southern California University of Health Sciences’ Los Angeles College of Chiropractic, Whittier, CA

Other California Board-approved schools can be found in Toronto (Ontario Canada), and across the U.S. in Florida, Illinois, Missouri, New York, Minnesota, Texas, Oregon, Georgia, South Carolina, Iowa, and Connecticut.  

Employment and Earnings Outlook for California Chiropractors

California is home to 2,030 licensed chiropractors, down from 2,740 in 2008. Although the population decreased between 2008 and today, the state still has the highest population of licensed chiropractors in the U.S., with more than a third practicing in the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, California Metropolitan Area.

The number of licensed chiropractors across the U.S. nearly doubled between 2008 and 2012 from 27,050 to 52,600. The population is expected to continue to rise by an impressive 28 percent between 2010-2020, bringing the number of licensed chiropractors to 67,400.

Salaries are on the rise as well. California-based chiropractors average $78,800 per year, compared to a national average of $67,200 per year. In 2008, they averaged $72,160 per year compared to a national average of $81,340. Today, California chiropractors earn the second highest average salary in the nation after Illinois Chiropractors, who earn an average salary of $91,460 per year.

It is important to note that many chiropractors have their own practice or are part of a group practice. In these cases, earnings may be significantly more or less than the state or national averages.