Becoming a Iridology Therapist: Salary Info & Job Description

About this article
Iridology is not currently a recognized form of alternative medicine in the U.S. Learn about an alternative practice and get the truth about a chiropractor's salary, training requirements and career prospects. Get straight talk about the pros and cons of a chiropractor career.
View available schools

Iridology Therapist Career

Iridology therapists are alternative medicine practitioners who believe that an evaluation of their patients' irises reveals information about their general health. Although there is a system of standardization and certain professional criteria within the field of iridology itself, there is also widespread skepticism among medical professionals regarding the validity of iridology as a diagnostic method. In addition, iridology is not an officially recognized health-realted profession in the United States. If you're interested in a career within an accepted field of alternative medicine, you may consider becoming a chiropractor.

Pros and Cons of Becoming a Chiropractor

Chiropractors are doctors who treat health conditions of the musculoskeletal system with both modern technology, like X-rays, and traditional methods - most commonly, spinal manipulation.

Pros of a Career as a Chiropractor
Mean annual wage is higher than the national average (about $79,760 in 2014)*
Strong employment outlook (15% growth expected between 2012 and 2022)*
Entrepreneurial opportunity (many chiropractors start their own practices)*
Emotional satisfaction from alleviating people's pain and suffering***
Comfortable, well-lit and clean work environment*

Cons of a Career as a Chiropractor
Lengthy and potentially expensive training (7-8 years of postsecondary schooling)*
Physical strain (you'll need to stand on your feet for long periods of time)*
Potentially long hours (about 25% of chiropractors work more than 50 hours a week)*
Only 15 Doctor of Chiropractic programs are accredited by the Council on Chiropractic Education*
Radiation exposure during diagnostic imaging tests**

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics*, State of Michigan**, D'Youville College****

Career Information

Job Description and Duties

Many chiropractors believe that a misaligned spine can complicate a person's overall health. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine classifies spinal manipulation as a manipulative and body-based type of complementary and alternative medicine.

As a chiropractor, you could use on a range of methods, such as spinal manipulation, exercise plans, diet recommendations, heat/cold therapy, light therapy, acupuncture and massage therapy, for straightening and strengthening the musculoskeletal system. A common problem chiropractors treat is lower back pain. Some specific professional duties may include performing diagnostic X-ray tests, dispensing health advice to patients, conducting spinal analyses and adjusting the spine. If you're self-employed, you may have additional administrative and managerial duties, such as hiring employees and managing office tasks.

Career Paths and Specializations

Although a small percentage of chiropractors work in physicians' offices and hospitals, most work in private offices that either they, or a group of doctors, own and operate. You can specialize in areas such as sports medicine, neurology, nutrition, pediatrics and diagnostic imaging, in addition to focusing on your general practice. You might also choose to work in academia, teaching courses and carrying out research.

Job Prospects and Salary Info

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected that employment of chiropractors would increase by 15% from 2012 through 2022 which is better than the norm. This growth is attributed, in part, to the fact that more people are seeking treatment for musculoskeletal injuries that is non-surgical and doesn't require prescription drugs. In 2014, the mean annual wage for chiropractors in the U.S. was approximately $79,760 (www.bls.gov).

Career Requirements and Skills

Education and Licensure

Chiropractors are required to hold a Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) degree, which typically takes four years to complete. Applicants to the D.C. degree program must have completed at least a 90 semester hours of undergraduate academic work in disciplines including liberal arts, biology, chemistry and physics, from an accredited college or university. The curriculum of D.C. degree programs typically comprises a range of disciplines, such as diagnostic imaging, natural sciences and spinal anatomy, in addition to supervised clinical training. Research courses/projects, entrepreneurship courses, internships and externships may also be mandatory. After graduating from your D.C. program, you can apply to a residency program to pursue a specialization.

In addition to formal education requirements, all states mandate that chiropractors attain a license, though specific requirements vary by state. You might need to pass your state's exam, the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners' exam or both. Once you acquire your license, you typically need to intermittently complete a number of continuing education hours in order to maintain it.

Useful Skills

You'll need to rely on a number of hard and soft skills to successfully complete your professional tasks. These may include the abilities to:

  • Effectively move your hands to carry out massage, spinal manipulation and other forms of physical therapy
  • Communicate efficiently with patients, staff members and peers
  • Actively listen to patients' concerns and complaints
  • Empathize with other people's pain
  • Pay close attention to nuanced details while conducting diagnoses and performing other tasks

Job Postings from Real Employers

A May 2012 online job search for chiropractors revealed a slew of openings across the country. Employers required applicants to have their D.C. degrees and state licenses, as well as experience. More specific requirements varied by employer. The following is a summary of three actual openings that were discovered during this search:

  • A South Carolina health and wellness clinic advertised for a chiropractor who would focus on educating patients on the benefits of chiropractic therapy as well as providing therapy. At least three years of experience were required.
  • A Texas rehabilitation clinic advertised for a chiropractor who has up-to-date malpractice insurance or is at least eligible for malpractice insurance. The employer also required candidates to have prior experience in diagnostic imaging, physical rehabilitation, biomechanics and anatomy.
  • A San Francisco physicians' group looked for a chiropractor to provide integrative medical treatment. Candidates with chiropractic specializations plus national certification and a few integrative medical practice certifications (like massage therapy and Traditional Chinese Medicine) were highly desired. Strong applicants would have 3-5 years of experience in functional medicine, clinical care and integrative laboratory testing.

How to Stand Out

Enhance your career prospects by joining a recognized professional association, such as the American Chiropractic Association (ACA). The ACA offers a range of continuing education and career development opportunities to keep you up-to-date in the field, like free online webinars, test preparation resources, an online resource library and specialist programs. As a member, you can stay in the loop with new research findings, seek funding for your research and network with other industry professionals. Plus, you have access to job boards and can post your resume to reach potential employers.

Other Careers to Consider

Massage Therapist

If the long education requirements to become a chiropractor dissuade you, but you would like to pursue an alternative therapy career involving body manipulation, consider becoming a massage therapist. You would, like a chiropractor, stimulate the muscles and soft tissues of the body to rehabilitate injuries and promote general wellness. Unlike chiropractors, however, massage therapists require much less formal training. You can enter this career by completing a postsecondary training program that includes 500 or more hours of instruction and by completing any state licensure and/or certification requirements that might exist.

Per the BLS, massage therapists were expected to have faster than average employment growth (20%) between 2010 and 2020. Keep in mind that their mean annual wage was about half that of chiropractors in 2011 - $40,000.

Yoga Instructor

If you're not sure if you'd like to physically manipulate people's muscles and bones, but you're interested in the health benefits from proper posture and musculoskeletal exercise, think about becoming a yoga instructor. In addition to leading wellness-promoting stretches and poses, you also focus on teaching breathing, relaxation and meditation techniques, which are central to yoga's mind-body orientation. The duration of training and education programs for aspiring yoga instructors may vary considerably, with some lasting for only a few days and others for a few years. However, the Yoga Alliance sets 200 hours of training as the standard for quality.

The BLS projected a 24% (faster than average) increase in employment of fitness trainers and instructors, which includes yoga instructors, between 2010 and 2020. In 2012, Payscale.com reported that the majority of these professionals earned approximate total yearly salaries - including bonuses and commissions - ranging between $24,000 and $87,000 (based on a sample size of about 150 people).

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Keiser University

    Program Options

    Associate's
      • Associate of Sciences - Medical Assistant
      • Associate of Sciences - Medical Assistant
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Colorado State University Global

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Graduate Specialization - Healthcare Administration
      • Graduate Specialization - Healthcare Administration
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Northcentral University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science in Organizational Leadership - Health Care Administration
      • Master of Science in Organizational Leadership - Health Care Administration
  • Campus Locations:
    4. Steiner Education Group

    Program Options

    Certificate
      • Massage Therapy
      • Esthetics (Skin Care)
  • Online Programs Available
    5. American InterContinental University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Business Admin: Healthcare Admin
      • Master of Healthcare Management
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Healthcare Management - HSA Mgt.
      • Bachelor of Healthcare Management
      • Bachelor of Business Admin: Healthcare Management
  • Online Programs Available
    6. The University of Scranton

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Dual MBA-MHA
      • MBA - Healthcare Management
      • Master of Health Administration
    Certificate
      • Executive Certificate in Health Administration
  • Online Programs Available
    7. Saint Joseph's University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MS Health Administration
  • Online Programs Available
    8. Utica College

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy
    Master's
      • MBA - Health Care Management
      • Masters in Health Care Administration
      • Online Master of Science in Health Care Administration - Acute Care
      • Online Master of Science in Health Care Administration - Long Term Care
      • Online Master of Science in Health Care Administration - Service Organization
  • Online Programs Available
    9. Colorado Technical University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Management - Health Care Management and Leadership
    Master's
      • MS - Healthcare Management
      • Master of Science in Management - Healthcare Management
    Bachelor's
      • BS - Business Administration - Health Care Management
  • Online Programs Available
    10. Queens University of Charlotte

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Business Administration - Healthcare Management
      • Master of Health Administration

Featured Schools

Keiser University

  • Associate of Sciences - Medical Assistant

What is your highest level of education?

Colorado State University Global

  • Graduate Specialization - Healthcare Administration

What is your highest level of education?

Northcentral University

  • Master of Science in Organizational Leadership - Health Care Administration

What is your highest level of education?

Steiner Education Group

  • Massage Therapy
  • Esthetics (Skin Care)

What is your highest earned degree?

American InterContinental University

  • Master of Business Admin: Healthcare Admin
  • Master of Healthcare Management
  • Bachelor of Healthcare Management - HSA Mgt.
  • Bachelor of Healthcare Management

Are you a US citizen?

The University of Scranton

  • Dual MBA-MHA
  • MBA - Healthcare Management
  • Executive Certificate in Health Administration

What is your highest level of education?

Saint Joseph's University

  • MS Health Administration

What is your highest level of education completed?

Utica College

  • Transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy
  • MBA - Health Care Management
  • Masters in Health Care Administration

What is your highest level of education completed?