1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Chiropractor vs. Graduate School

  1. Jan 25, 2008 #1
    I graduated just recently with a major in molecular biology, however, I'm not too sure what I should be doing next. Graduate school was my primary choice as a M.Sc. would allow me to find a job more easily in other nations other than Canada and US. I understand that in North America, entry level research jobs don't really want M.Sc. since the company has to pay you more while teaching the same stuff it teaches to someone with a B.Sc (someone please correct me if I'm wrong).

    However, my GPAs aren't exactly high, they are barely over the minimum requirements for graduate school applications in most universities across Canada. I don't have many close associations with professors, either, so references are more likely to come from co-op employers. There two factors could potentially put me at a disadvantage during my application.

    A primary concern in finding a career related to biology/health sciences for me is salary. It's not that I don't like doing research I'm interested in, but according to some of the publications, a junior researcher's monthly salary is only around $2300 CAD, with a salary like this, I can hardly support myself and my family, and I don't think I will ever have the driving force to move on.

    Last week, I visited a chiropractor and chatted with him a bit. He told me that becoming a chiropractor takes about 4 years, however, the salary range falls somewhere between $56,000 to $108,000 annually. When I checked the admission requirement, my GPA seems to be quite suitable for the application. I did some research on the net, and it turned out that the tuition for this degree is humongous, by the time someone graduates, he/she will first need to pay off this debt, which could be well over $130,000; on the positive side, since chiropractors are slowly becoming well accepted by the general public and are covered under health insurance in Canada, getting patients and having a decent income shouldn't be too difficult.

    I'm torn between going to a graduate school doing researches and becoming a chiropractor, my interest lies in cancer research, but if I can't get a decent income even after graduating with a M.Sc., I will be in quite a nasty situation.

    If anyone's familiar with either of the professions, could you please share your thoughts and insights with me? They're much appreciated, thanks in advance.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 25, 2008 #2
    I had a friend at work who was a chiropractor for a while. He didn't make much money and now is doing contract engineering work.....
  4. Jan 25, 2008 #3
    Do you mind telling me whether your friend's workplace is in a crowded city or in a small town, and whether he/she is working for herself or working under someone else? One of the articles mentioned that the number of patients a chiropractor could get depend heavily on location and similar competitors...
  5. Jan 25, 2008 #4
  6. Jan 26, 2008 #5
    I don't know many details (he took a contract in another city so I can't ask him!), but I do know that he was practicing in Tucson Arizona which has about a million people. He was working under someone else. The other person was making good money apparently but my friend said it was hard to break in. He said it isn't like a MD where you just step in almost anywhere you want and make good money. He went back to school and got a CS degree. He said he is making a lot more money now.
  7. Jan 26, 2008 #6
  8. Jan 26, 2008 #7
    I see, thanks you very much for the information wildman, it's good to hear that your friend can earn a lot with a CS degree (I never had a brain for computer programming), I'll need to reconsider the chiropractor career.

    I heard similar criticisms on this profession, even chiropractors themselves make negative comments on how their colleges tend to brainwash them with information that has no solid scientific evidence, whatsoever... but judging from reactions in the general public, people aren't really aware of this "fraud", and are willing to go if they are covered under their health insurance...
  9. Jan 26, 2008 #8
    Chiropractors are a dime a dozen where I live. You drive by and you'll see 5 on a stretch of rode spanning a few miles. It's pretty bad.

    I still think they can help with the back, and things related to it (i.e. pinched nerves or what have you), but nothing beyond that.

    Main thing would be to research your area. Don't go in an area with lots of chiro's, or if you do, find some way to eliminate them. Like set their businesses on fire or order a lot of pizzas to their place.
  10. Jan 27, 2008 #9
    Yes, people still go to these frauds and perpetuate the problem. So you can either go through "school" anyways and take advantage of the unknowing public (as it seems a lot of the people you talked to did) or you can do something else a bit more honest.
  11. Jan 27, 2008 #10
    This is probably correct -- the articles I've read of scientific studies done on chiropractic seem to indicate that it may be effective for treating lower back pain. However, it was also shown to be no more effective than what a real doctor would do. The big problem is that traditional chiropractic "education" talks about subluxations and other crap like that and many practitioners are convinced they can cure anything from cancer to AIDS. Many of them also treat infants. It's basically a racket.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2008
  12. Jan 27, 2008 #11


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    they sometimes give a pretty good foot massage, but no way would i trust one to touch my back.
  13. Jan 27, 2008 #12
    I've been a chiropractor for 5 years now, and have a very successful practice. The problem is that there are a lot of chiropractors who don't practice very well, and they turn it into a crazy, unethical business by fraudulent billing and crazy schemes to take more money from people.

    But, there a plenty of chiropractors who take their position as "physician" very seriously and do a very good job of helping the public. If you choose to be a chiropractor, be sure to visit several offices and see what it's like to be in practice. Also, do read the negative aspects of it and make sure you *don't* do that when you graduate. In our practice, we work very closely with the medical doctors in our area and co-manage a lot of patients. We have some patients who come to us as their primary care physician because they "don't like regular doctors". We have the proper training to treat them appropriately, and when it's beyond our expertise, we refer them out to a respectable medical doctor.

    In short, the chiropractic profession is alive and well, and continues to grow stronger. But, there's plenty of bad apples out there. Just make sure you're one of the good ones and you'll be fine!
  14. Jan 27, 2008 #13
    If chiropractic and graduate school are your only two choices, pick the latter. It may or may not land you a higher-paying research job, but it sounds like it's something you really want to do.

    It looks like you're most attracted to chiropractic for the salary. But is it really worth several years of fake education and a lifetime of cheating others just to make a quick buck?

    If money is really a problem, there are always other career paths you can take. Chiropractic school is four years of brainwashing. If you're interested in health care, that's more than enough time to become a physician assistant, a nurse, a pharmacist, or any number of other jobs with livable to lucrative salaries. Don't fool yourself and waste your life practicing quackery.
  15. Jan 28, 2008 #14
    The problem is that as a chiropractic you are NOT a physician. Also, should you really have to filter your education in order to run a "proper" practice? Why not just go to medical school to begin with and learn real science?

    That's more like it!
  16. Jan 28, 2008 #15


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    That should be a good hint of that what he is practicing is nothing but pseudoscience. (Just like homeopathy, acupuncture and healing.)
  17. Jan 28, 2008 #16
    Well, an MD takes four years, a PharmD takes four years, a physician assistant program takes two years, and so on, so that it takes time isn't really an huge issue.

    But considering the fact that it's chiropractic, I would recommend taking the time to train to be a masseuse instead. You'd be doing effectively the same thing, but at least your clients wouldn't be misled into thinking it was actually medical care, nor would you be a complete hack and the laughingstock of anyone who knows what's up.
  18. Jan 28, 2008 #17
    Thanks for sharing your experience DrGross, I'll be visiting a few more chiropractors to get a better idea of their ethics and practice.

    I really had no idea chiropractors get such harsh criticisms from the science community, I used to think that it's more like a physiotherapist type of job, someone who's specialized with bones and can help relief pains and tensions associated with it.

    I guess I should thinking about massage therapist as an alternative?
    I should've taken some kinesiology courses before I graduated... =(
  19. Jan 28, 2008 #18


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    I wouldn't say all chiropracters or all people in the scientific community!

    Chiropractic can do a lot of good correcting joint problems and it certainly is true that some pains in, say, an arm, can be caused by a pinched nerve in the spine. The problem is that there are Chiropracters (and, unfortunately, some who teach in or run "Schools of Chiropractic") who firmly believe that Chiropractic manipulation can cure viral diseases, etc.
  20. Jan 28, 2008 #19
    Yes! If you are so inclined, take this route instead of filling your head with useless pseudoscience.
  21. Jan 28, 2008 #20


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    I'm sorry, for some reason I read four weeks, and not four years, hence my comment. (Maybe a chiropractor can fix my eyes?)
    Anyway, I'll still claim most chiropractic is based on pseudoscience.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook