613 Help Secure Our Future by Sharing It
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Dynamic Chiropractic – October 15, 2014, Vol. 32, Issue 20

Help Secure Our Future by Sharing It

By Donald M. Petersen Jr., BS, HCD(hc), FICC(h), Publisher

The National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE) conducts one of the most comprehensive surveys of the U.S. chiropractic profession every 4-5 years. Practice Analysis of Chiropractic,1 published in 2010, includes information from previous surveys all the way back to 1991.

Chapter 7 of the latest Practice Analysis contains data on chiropractic practitioners, including the number of years DCs have been in practice. Like the U.S. population, the chiropractic profession has an "age wave" of practitioners who entered the profession in the 1970s and 1980s. Needless to say, this group is getting older and the demographics of our profession are about to shift. If you look at the breakdown for 1998 by number of years in chiropractic practice, you see the following:

  • < 2 years in practice: 7.0%
  • 2-4 years in practice: 11.3%
  • 5-15 years in practice: 46.6%
  • 16-25 years in practice: 25.2%
  • > 25 years in practice: 9.9%

In 1998, almost half of the profession had been practicing for 5-15 years. But just 11 years later, in 2009 (the most recent year surveyed), the age wave had moved significantly, with over half of the profession practicing for more than 16 years and almost one-quarter in practice for more than 25 years:

  • < 2 years in practice: 2.2%
  • 2-4 years in practice: 8.4%
  • 5-15 years in practice: 38.3%
  • 16-25 years in practice: 25.4%
  • > 25 years in practice: 24.7%

So, what's this mean for the chiropractic profession and you, the doctor of chiropractic, in 2014? Right now, a significant portion of our profession is reaching retirement age, with barely 10 percent of the profession in their first four years of practice. Our efforts to expand chiropractic could be hampered by our inability to provide enough DCs to meet that demand.

This is particularly significant because not only is a shortage of primary care (medical) providers predicted within the next several decades, but increased emphasis on prevention and wellness will undoubtedly make doctors of chiropractic more attractive within the health care marketplace.

The Foundation for Chiropractic Progress, the International Chiropractors Association (ICA), the American Chiropractic Association (ACA), the Association of Chiropractic Colleges (ACC) and the Congress of Chiropractic State Associations (COCSA) have all committed to a new program called "Recommend One," first reported in our Aug. 1, 2014 issue.2

A survey conducted by the ACC has demonstrated that almost two-thirds of DCs made a choice to become a doctor of chiropractic through an interaction with a chiropractor. This fact underscores your importance in encouraging more people to consider a career in chiropractic.

We are asking that every doctor of chiropractic join the effort to recommend at least one student to a chiropractic college every year. You can request a poster* to put in your office and get a small notebook pad with information that will direct them to a website that will help answer additional questions and explain the advantages of being involved in chiropractic. To request your poster, contact:

Marta Cerdan
1-866-901-3427, ext. 1

We must plan for the future of our profession and the future of wellness in America. Ensuring we have new doctors of chiropractic to join our ranks as our veteran DCs retire is an important part of this effort. Please join us in recommending one person to become a doctor of chiropractic. Order your poster* and begin having conversations that will keep our profession filled with great people who will carry on chiropractic.

*Editor's note: See what the "Recommend One" poster looks like by clicking here.


  1. Practice Analysis of Chiropractic 2010. National Board of Chiropractic Examiners, May 2010.
  2. "F4CP: New Campaign to Promote Chiropractic as a Career." Dynamic Chiropractic, Aug. 1, 2014.

Read more findings on my blog: http://blog.toyourhealth.com/wrblog/. You can also visit me on Facebook.

Click here for more information about Donald M. Petersen Jr., BS, HCD(hc), FICC(h), Publisher.

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