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How Much Does Chiropractor School Cost?

Last Updated on January 22, 2024
Written by CPA Alec Pow | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popinker

Considering a career as a chiropractor but worried about the costs of education? This comprehensive guide examines tuition, fees, and other expenses to provide an honest look at the investment required to become a licensed chiropractor.

Read on to learn strategies for financial planning and cost management to make your chiropractic education goals achievable.

How Much Does Chiropractor School Cost?

The total cost of a 4-year D.C. program ranges widely, from around $80,000 to $150,000. What accounts for this massive range in chiropractic school tuition?

Several key factors play a role:

  • Public vs. private colleges – Public chiropractic colleges generally have lower tuition, often less than $10,000 per year. Private colleges charge $20,000 or more annually.
  • In-state vs. out-of-state tuition – Students attending public chiropractic colleges in their home state pay less than out-of-state students. The difference can be $15,000 or more per year.
  • Additional fees – Lab fees, clinical training fees, technology fees, and more can add $3,000-$5,000 per year.
  • Cost of living – Rent, transportation, food, and other living expenses vary by school location. Budget $15,000-$25,000 for annual living costs.

Simply put, the cheapest chiropractic education options start around $80,000, while the most expensive exceed $150,000. Thorough financial planning is essential to manage these costs.

CareerKarma lists the most affordable chiropractic schools, with tuition per credit ranging from $300 to $700. Some of the most affordable schools include Logan University, University Western States, and Northwestern Health Sciences University.

According to Palmer College of Chiropractic, the cost of attendance for the Doctor of Chiropractic Degree program at Palmer College of Chiropractic is $13,025. Additional fees include application fee ($100), tuition deposit ($200), matriculation fee ($150), activity fee ($20 per term), and liability insurance ($245).

Northwestern Health Sciences University writes that the estimated tuition cost for the chiropractic program at Northwestern Health Sciences University is $126,590 without considering additional factors like transfer credits and repeated courses.

Life Chiropractic College West notes that the tuition at Life Chiropractic College West is $9,180 per quarter for full-time students (12 or more credits). For students with 11 credits or less, the per credit charge is $765.

According to College Tuition Compare, the 2023 average tuition & fees for chiropractic programs is $31,777 for state residents and $32,113 for out-of-state students. Some specific schools and their tuition costs include:

  • National University of Health Sciences College of Professional Studies: $42,867 (state residents), $55 (out-of-state students)
  • Palmer College of Chiropractic: $36,714 (state residents), $100 (out-of-state chiropractic students)
  • Campbellsville University School of Chiropractic: $28,199 (state residents), $50 (out-of-state students)
  • Northwestern Health Sciences University Doctor of Chiropractic Program: $25,890 (state residents), $50 (out-of-state students)
  • Cleveland University – Kansas City College of Chiropractic: $35,354 (state residents), $50 (out-of-state students)
  • Logan University – Logan College of Chiropractic: $24,240 (state residents), $50 (out-of-state students)
  • D’Youville University Doctor of Chiropractic Program: $30,308 (state residents), $50 (out-of-state students)

Overview of Chiropractic Schooling And Tuition

Chiropractors are doctors specialized in treating musculoskeletal conditions through manual spinal adjustments and other techniques. To become a licensed chiropractor in the United States, students must complete a Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) degree from an accredited chiropractic college.

The standard D.C. program takes 4 years to complete. The first 2 years focus on scientific courses in anatomy, physiology, microbiology, biochemistry, and pathology. The final 2 years emphasize hands-on clinical training and technique development.

You might also like our articles about the cost of Dental Assistant School, Massage Therapy School, or Physical Therapy School.

After graduating, new chiropractors must pass national and state licensing exams to practice. They may also complete residencies for specialized training.

Scholarships and Financial Aid for D.C. Students

The good news is financial support is available! All accredited chiropractic colleges offer financial aid, scholarships, and tuition incentives that can significantly lower your out-of-pocket expenses.

Options include:

  • Scholarships – Apply for academic, need-based, and other scholarships through your chiropractic college. Awards range from $1,000 to $10,000.
  • Federal student loans – Qualified students can borrow up to $20,500 per year in Direct Unsubsidized Loans.
  • Private student loans – Banks and credit unions offer private chiropractic school loans to cover remaining costs. Shop rates carefully.
  • Military funding – Those who serve may use GI Bill benefits to pay for chiropractic education.

Thoroughly research and apply for every financial aid opportunity possible! This can reduce your real chiropractic school costs significantly.

Choosing the Most Affordable Chiropractic Program

When researching chiropractic colleges, carefully compare total estimated costs. Look for institutions that offer:

  • Low in-state tuition – For public colleges, residency status makes a big impact.
  • Generous institutional aid – Some colleges provide larger scholarships and grants.
  • Lower living costs – Consider cost of housing and transport in the area.
  • Access to military/federal aid – If eligible for military or federal funding, this also expands options.

While cost is a factor, avoid choosing a program solely based on price. Ensure the curriculum, campus culture, and clinical opportunities meet your needs.

Other Chiropractic School Cost Considerations

Beyond tuition and living expenses, budget for other uncovered costs:

  • Pre-chiropractic education – Most D.C. programs require 90 undergraduate credits with certain science pre-requisites. Account for this in your planning.
  • Board exams and licensing – Plan for $2,000-$5,000 in fees for required NBCE tests and state licenses to practice.
  • Books and supplies – Budget $2,000-$3,000 annually for textbooks, clinic attire, equipment, and other supplies.
  • Clinical rotations – Travel and housing costs related to required off-site clinical internships can cost up to $5,000.

Factor these additional expenses into your total education budget.

Financial Planning Tips for Prospective Students

Chiropractor Fixing SpineHere are some key strategies to prepare financially for chiropractic school:

  • Save aggressively before enrolling – bank as much as possible from work
  • Apply early for scholarships and financial aid, at the Financial Aid Office
  • Develop a lean budget minimizing housing, transportation, and living costs
  • Consider lower-cost online prerequisites to limit undergraduate debt
  • Pursue federal grants, aid, and subsidized loans first before private loans
  • Shop student loan rates thoroughly and understand repayment options

With diligent planning, a chiropractic education can be an achievable investment in a rewarding career.

Chiropractic Education Is a Worthwhile Investment

While certainly a major commitment, a D.C. degree opens doors to a flexible, high-demand career. The median salary for chiropractors is over $70,000 annually, with seasoned professionals earning over $100,000.

For those passionate about holistic health, chiropractic offers excellent job security, flexible scheduling, and the ability to own a practice. Your investment in chiropractic education has the potential for an impressive return.

Approach chiropractic school as you would any major financial decision. Seek value, maximize aid opportunities, budget diligently, limit debt, and have a repayment plan. While costs are significant, you can make chiropractic college affordable with proper planning.

Looking For a Chiropractic Specialist School

  • The American Chiropractic Association supplies a list of chiropractic colleges certified by the Council on Chiropractic Education.
  • The National Board of Chiropractic Examiners provides extra details on the licensing exam for chiropractic practitioners, which will include optional areas in physiotherapy and acupuncture.
  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics describes education and licensure requirements in addition to the job outlook for chiropractic practitioners.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long is chiropractic school in the US?

Most Doctor of Chiropractic programs take 4 academic years to complete. This includes classroom coursework, lab training, and extensive supervised clinical experience.

What education do you need to be a chiropractor in the USA?

A Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) degree from an accredited chiropractic college is required. Most programs also require 90 credit hours of undergraduate study with certain science prerequisites.

Is a chiropractor considered a doctor in the USA?

Yes, licensed chiropractors are doctors specializing in musculoskeletal treatment. They must earn a 4-year doctoral-level D.C. degree and pass board exams for credentialing.

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