Chiropractors use massage, spinal manipulation and other techniques to treat patients with problems related to the musculoskeletal system. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, most chiropractors are self-employed, working in either group or solo practice. A survey conducted by "Chiropractic Economics" magazine showed that in 2013, 57.2 percent were in solo practice, 28.8 percent were partners in a group practice and 13.3 percent were practice associates.
When the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics examined the 2012 salaries for chiropractors, it arrived at an average annual salary of $79,550. Ten percent of the nation's chiropractors earned no more than $31,030, and 10 percent earned at least $142,950 per year. The BLS data included chiropractors who were self-employed as well as those who worked for others, such as hospitals and employment services. The survey from "Chiropractic Economics," which focused on self-employed chiropractors, reported a national average salary of $100,100 annually, with additional compensation, such as bonuses or paid benefits, of $28,106 per year.
BLS Data by Practice Type
In 2012, chiropractors in practices focused on chiropractic care or other nonphysician health care earned an average of $79,480 per year, according to the BLS. This category represented 26,180 of the nation's 27,740 chiropractors, or approximately 94.4 percent. Chiropractors participating in a group practice with physicians averaged $76,090 per year.
Highest- and Lowest-Paying States
The BLS provided salary data by state for chiropractors practicing within each state. Although this data included a small number of chiropractors who weren't self-employed, the impact of their salaries on the state averages wasn't statistically significant. As of 2012, the best-paying states for chiropractors were Alaska, Ohio, North Carolina and Massachusetts, with average salaries of $157,420, $126,060, $113,330 and $106,340, respectively. The lowest-paying state was Montana, where chiropractors averaged $49,760 annually and 10 percent earned no more than $18,870. Oklahoma was the second-lowest paying state for chiropractors, providing an average of $51,930 annually. Idaho and Georgia also had average salaries that were significantly below the national average, reporting $52,060 and $52,940, respectively.
Best-Paying Metropolitan Areas
When the BLS examined salaries by metropolitan areas, the best-paying city for chiropractors in 2012 was Spokane, Wash., where they averaged $173,220. The average in Anchorage, Alaska, was $167,280. In the greater Camden, N.J., area, chiropractors averaged $158,270 annually. They averaged $152,870 in the Akron, Ohio, metropolitan area.
Best-Paying Rural Areas
Compared to salaries in metropolitan areas, salaries in rural or nonmetropolitan areas were significantly lower, according to the May 2012 BLS report. The best-paying nonmetropolitan area was the southern Ohio district, with an average salary of $130,780. In the rural district of western central North Carolina, chiropractors averaged $119,120.