About the job

Nature of work:

Chiropractors diagnose, treat and prevent patients' neuromuscular-skeletal disorders of the spine, nervous system, pelvis and other body joints by adjusting the spinal column or through other corrective manipulation. Chiropractors focus on the spine in relation to the whole body, and specialize in the understanding and treatment of its bone structures, muscles, and nerves. Chiropractors are usually in private practice or in clinics with other health practitioners.

Chiropractors are concerned with the care of the entire body and are trained in physical diagnosis, including the use of x-rays and laboratory analysis. For example, chiropractors formulate clinical impressions of the patient's state of health, concentrating on spinal and structural assessment, and they are expert providers of spinal manipulation and other therapeutic manual adjustments.

Job duties:
Chiropractors perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Take patients' case history, conduct examinations, observe patients, and perform X-rays and other tests to diagnose patient's condition.
  • Diagnose neuromuscular-skeletal disorders of the spinal column, pelvis, extremities and associated tissues.
  • Treat health disorders in a natural manner through adjustments or articular manipulations and complementary treatments such as electrotherapy, acupuncture, heat therapy and massage with special attention given to the spine.
  • Advise patients on alternate treatment modalities such as corrective exercises, posture, lifestyle and nutrition that have positive effects on the spine, joints, muscles and nervous system.
  • Refer patients for medical care when appropriate.
Sample job titles:
  • chiropractic doctor
  • chiropractor
  • doctor of chiropractic (DC)

To work in this field, you should be interested in the health and well-being of others. An interest in science, especially anatomy and physiology, is also important. You must be patient, tolerant, and sensitive to the needs of others. Good coordination and manual dexterity are necessary. Physical stamina may be needed as well.

Job requirements:
  • A minimum of two years of university undergraduate studies in sciences and completion of a four- or five-year program at an institution accredited by the Accreditation Commission of the Council on Chiropractic Education and completion of the examinations of the Canadian Chiropractic Examining Board and of the provincial licensing body are required.
  • Licensing by a regulatory body is required in Nova Scotia.
Other considerations:

Students must leave the province to obtain training. Chiropractors are often self-employed and administer their services through private practices.

Labour Market Information

Work Prospects:Fair

The employment outlook over the next few years for this occupational group is “average”, which indicates the chances of a qualified individual finding work is comparable to the average for all occupations in Nova Scotia. This is not a large occupation in Nova Scotia so job opportunities may not be that frequent. The number employed in this occupation is expected to grow significantly over the next few years, which will provide additional opportunities for employment. With a large percent of workers being 55 years of age and older, retirements are expected to be a key contributor to employment opportunities over the coming years. Chiropractors may either be working full-time or part-time hours. Furthermore, the jobs may either be permanent or temporary positions, as both are common.

The median employment income for 50% of Chiropractors who worked full-time, year-round in 2015 was $48,805. Across all occupations in Nova Scotia, 59% of those who worked full-time year round had a median employment income of $43,600.
(Source: 2016 Census)

OccupationEstimated employment in 2018Estimated change in employment between 2017 and 2019Estimated openings due to growth and retirements, 2017-2019Estimated rate of unemployment in 2018 Estimated hourly earnings in 2015 (learn more)Estimated annual earnings in 2015
Chiropractors150Strong growth10Low
Minimum:  N/A
Median:  N/A
Maximum:  N/A
Minimum:  N/A
Median: $32,572
Maximum:  N/A
Occupations in Health36,515Strong growth4,385Low
Minimum: $16.38
Median: $25.50
Maximum: $41.00
Minimum: $10,740
Median: $43,853
Maximum: $88,944
ChiropractorsCompared to: Occupations in Health
Percent employed full-time70%77%
Percent self-employed12%10%
Where will I likely work?
Area of EmploymentChiropractorsCompared to: All NS Occupations
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Cape Breton10%x13%$32,974
Annapolis Valley10%x13%$32,958
What are the workers like?
AgeChiropractorsCompared to: All Health
% Employed% Employed
Median Age4144
GenderChiropractorsCompared to: Occupations in Health
% Employed% Employed
EducationChiropractorsCompared to: All Health
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Less than high schoolN/Ax1.1%$27,581
High schoolN/Ax6.9%$24,119
Trades certificate10.5%x5.0%$31,728
College certificate or diploma10.5%x39.4%$36,693
University certificate or diplomaN/Ax4.8%$50,769
Bachelor's degree15.8%x27.6%$57,186
University advanced certificate or diploma15.8%x2.3%$61,833
Master's degree36.8%x5.1%$87,808
Medicine, dentistry, veterinary, optometry21.1%$64,0197.2%$83,000
Wage Disclaimer

Hourly earnings data are from the Labour Force Survey by Statistics Canada. Data are not available for all occupations. Hourly earnings are calculated based on usual hours worked per week. This is how an annual salary, for instance, gets converted to an hourly rate. The data include full and part-time workers along with new and experienced workers. Self-employed workers are excluded.

Annual employment income data reported in the Work Prospects section, are from the 2011 National Household Survey by Statistics Canada. Much of the data (around 70%) came directly from tax records. The data relates to the year 2010 and includes total wages and salaries and net income from self-employment.


Employment Requirements & Contacts

Right to Title and Practice:This job is regulated and the job title is protected in Nova Scotia (you may not use this job title without holding a provincial licence). A licence shows that the holder has met provincial requirements and is required to work in this job.
Regulating body:
Nova Scotia College of Chiropractors
PO Box 9410, Station A
Halifax, NS B3K 5S3
(902) 407-4255
(902) 425-2441
Useful contacts:
Canadian Chiropractic Association
186 Spadina Ave, Suite 6
Toronto, ON M5T 3B2
Tel: (416) 585-7902
Fax: (416) 585-2970
Health Care Human Resource Sector Council
380 Bedford Highway
Halifax, NS B3M 2L4
Tel: (902) 461-0871
Fax: (902) 461-9572
Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College
6100 Leslie Street
Toronto, ON M2H 3J1
Tel: (800) 463-2923
Fax: (416) 646-1114

Training Paths & Education

Program Name:Chiropractic (DC)
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the university level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any program that prepares individuals for the independent professional practice of chiropractic, a health care and healing system based on the application of non-invasive treatments and spinal adjustments to alleviate health problems caused by vertebral misalignments affecting bodily function as derived from the philosophy of Daniel Palmer. These programs include courses in the basic medical sciences, chiropractic theory and science, postural and spinal analysis, diagnostic radiology and ultrasound, adjustment technique, patient counselling, professional standards and ethics, and practice management.
There are no schools in Nova Scotia offering this program.
Additional resources: