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Chiropractors help people reach and maintain good health and wellbeing through the care of the spine and nervous system. Chiropractors adjust the spine to correct nerve, muscle and joint disorders.


Chiropractors with up to five years' experience usually earn

$40K-$60K per year

Chiropractors with more than five years experience usually earn

$60K-$200K per year

Source: 2016 SAC Survey of the New Zealand Chiropractic Profession, 2016.

Job opportunities

Job opportunities for chiropractors are good as there is high demand for qualified chiropractors.


Pay for chiropractors varies depending on experience, client numbers, hours worked and whether or not they are self-employed.

  • Chiropractors with up to five years' experience usually earn between $40,000 and $60,000 a year.
  • Chiropractors that have more than five years' experience can earn up to $200,000.

Source: 2016 SAC Survey of the New Zealand Chiropractic Profession, 2016.

(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our pay information)

What you will do

Chiropractors may do some or all of the following:

  • question, examine and possibly x-ray the patient
  • discuss methods of care with the patient
  • adjust patients' spines
  • record the details of care given
  • advise patients on posture, ergonomics and function as appropriate
  • advise patients on other factors that affect spinal health, such as diet, exercise and lifestyle
  • refer patients to other health care professionals
  • work with animals.

Skills and knowledge

Chiropractors need to have:

  • knowledge of the human body, particularly the spine and nervous system
  • knowledge of diseases and illnesses, particularly relating to the spine and joints
  • up-to-date knowledge of chiropractic information and methods
  • radiographic techniques and interpretation.

Chiropractors also need to have business skills if they are self-employed.

Working conditions


  • usually work regular business hours. Those who help sports teams may be required to work overtime or during weekends
  • usually work in private clinics and health centres.

What's the job really like?

Louise Hockley

Louise Hockley


Chiropractic changed my life

"When I was younger, I always wanted to be a doctor" says Louise Hockley. "But that changed after my first experience with a chiropractor. I used to suffer migraines, so my Mum took me to a chiropractic clinic. Well, it just changed my health and my life. I stopped getting headaches, and I thought 'I don't want to be a medical doctor anymore, I want to do this – it's cool!' ".

Helping to change the lives of others

"My role is about helping people to get back to living – we deal with the issue, and then empower people to get back into life and living the way they want. I help a patient with a symptom and then I encourage them to sleep, exercise and eat well, so that they can recreate good patterns that help them lead a more vital life.

"A chiropractor's role is to enhance wellbeing and help people live with vitality. When I succeed with someone in doing that – in helping them change the patterns of a lifetime – it's a very satisfying feeling."

Entry requirements

To become a chiropractor you must:

  • complete a Diploma in Applied Science 
  • then complete a Bachelor of Chiropractic (BChiro) degree.

The New Zealand College of Chiropractic recommends the Diploma in Applied Science Pre-Chiropractic at Auckland University of Technology (AUT).

If you wish to study your diploma elsewhere, you will need the diploma approved by the New Zealand College of Chiropractic first.

The Vulnerable Children Act 2014 means that if you have certain serious convictions, you can’t be employed in a role where you are responsible for, or work alone with, children. 

Secondary education

A tertiary entrance qualification is required to enter further training. Useful subjects include biology, chemistry, physics and physical education.

Additional requirements for specialist roles:

Chiropractic radiology

To specialise in chiropractic radiology you need to:

  • complete the three-year Residency in Diagnostic Imaging at New Zealand College of Chiropractic
  • sit the American Chiropractic Board of Radiology exam.

Personal requirements

Chiropractors need to be:

  • patient and understanding
  • concerned for and wanting to help others
  • good communicators
  • motivated
  • good at organising and planning their own work.

They also need to have an awareness and understanding of a range of cultures and ages.

Useful experience

Useful experience for a chiropractor includes health care work and leadership roles in school, sports clubs or the community.

Physical requirements

Chiropractors need to be reasonably fit and healthy.


Chiropractors must be registered with the Chiropractic Board of New Zealand and hold a current Annual Practising Certificate.

Find out more about training

New Zealand College of Chiropractic
(09) 526 5678 - admissions@nzchiro.co.nz - www.chiropractic.ac.nz
Check out related courses

What are the chances of getting a job?

The number of chiropractors is growing because:

  • more New Zealanders are willing to try alternative health care methods
  • ACC are funding chiropractic treatment
  • using modern technology is leading to posture problems
  • New Zealanders are ageing and looking to alternatives to treat age-related health problems.

According to the Census, 504 chiropractors worked in New Zealand in 2018.

Most chiropractors self-employed

Most chiropractors (over 84%) are self-employed and have private practices. The remainder of chiropractors are employed at:

  • private practices
  • natural health care clinics
  • education institutions as teachers
  • chiropractic institutions, doing research.


  • Clayton, R,'ACC Paid Out $163 Million on Alternative Therapies and Physiotherapy in 2015', 29 April 2016, (www.stuff.co.nz).
  • Haavik, H, Dr, 'The Need for Chiropractic Research', 2016, (www.chiropracticresearch.ac.nz).
  • MarketWatch, '10 Professions with the Best Job Security 2015', 29 January 2016, (www.marketwatch.com).
  • New Zealand Chiropractors' Association Inc, 'Annual Report 2016', April 2016, (www.chiropractic.org.nz).
  • NZCC Stakeholders Advisory Committee, '2016 Stakeholders Advisory Committee Survey of the New Zealand Chiropractic Profession: Analysis of Survey Data', 2016, (www.chiropractic.org.nz).
  • Stats NZ, '2018 Census Data', 2019.

(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our job opportunities information)

Progression and specialisations

Chiropractors can do postgraduate training and move into teaching and research roles. They can also progress into management roles, or establish their own practice.

Chiropractors may specialise in chiropractic radiology.

Chiropractic radiology
Chiropractic radiologists diagnose bone disorders from looking at x-rays.
Three chiropractors hold their clients' heads

Chiropractors work to align the spine so a person's body heals itself

Last updated 3 November 2020