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Chiropractors treat disorders related to the spine and nervous system to relieve pain and improve the function of nerves, muscles and joints. 


Chiropractors with up to five years' experience usually earn

$48K-$60K per year

Chiropractors with more than five years experience usually earn

$60K-$150K per year

Source: NZ College of Chiropractic, 2019.

Job opportunities

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


Pay for chiropractors varies depending on experience and responsibilities.

  • Chiropractors with up to five years' experience usually earn between minimum wage and $60,000 a year.
  • Chiropractors with more than five years' experience can earn up from $60,000 to $150,000.

Source: New Zealand College of Chiropractic, ‘2019 Survey of the Chiropractic Profession: Analysis of Survey Data’, accessed May 2021, (

(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 x-ray the patient
  • discuss methods of care with the patient
  • adjust patients' spines
  • advise patients on posture, ergonomics and function
  • advise patients on other factors that affect spinal health such as diet, exercise and lifestyle
  • refer patients to other health care professionals
  • do chiropractic work with animals.

Skills and knowledge

Chiropractors need to have knowledge of:

  • the human body, particularly the spine and nervous system
  • diseases and illnesses, particularly relating to the spine and joints
  • up-to-date 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. Chiropractors who support 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?

Chiropracter video

Zander Williston talks about life as a chiropracter – 2.20 mins

A common misconception of what chiropractors do is that we crack
backs. In a sense, it is what we do,
but there's more to it. Hi,
my name is Xander and I'm a chiropractor.
So chiropractors work with the spine and nervous system to allow you to function
the best you can without the use of drugs or surgery. So the crack
is basically just gas being released in between the joint spaces,
and your body is so smart that instead of this gas coming off as a heat,
it comes off as a sound. [sound of gas]
Good. You do need a qualification to be a chiropractor. For New Zealanders,
it is 1 year of pre-chiro and then a 4-year degree.
So this here is what we call an activator. This is a very precise instrument,
and we use these because sometimes people really don't like the cracking noise
that chiropractic adjustments can have sometimes,
and it still has the same effect as a manual adjustment.
So we use that and we can adjust the areas like that. One cool thing that people
don't really know about is that we can do chiropractic on animals.
Animal chiropractic is really cool because we get to play around with the living
creatures that aren't able to tell us what's wrong with them,
and we can't really explain to them what we're doing.
We just explain to the owners what's going on. And from that,
we get to have a little bit of a fun session with the dogs– or cats – or
horses. The first interest that I had really in chiropractic
was in high school. I had a lot of injuries. I played a lot of sports.
I almost lost a couple fingers. I've had broken bones, I've had concussions.
And with that, chiropractic really gave me a really,
really good edge on getting back to a pre-injury status.
My favourite thing about my job is how much on a daily basis I get to
help people. Every day,
someone different comes in and tells me how I've changed
their life. It does get a little emotional at times, but inside, you know,
you just want to give them a hug.

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, health education, physics, physical education and maths.

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 - -
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.

Chiropractors appear on Immigration New Zealand's Green List. This means the Government is actively encouraging skilled chiropractors from overseas to work in New Zealand.

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, (
  • Haavik, H, Dr, 'The Need for Chiropractic Research', 2016, (
  • Immigration New Zealand, Green List, April 2023, (
  • MarketWatch, '10 Professions with the Best Job Security 2015', 29 January 2016, (
  • New Zealand Chiropractors' Association Inc, 'Annual Report 2016', April 2016, (
  • NZCC Stakeholders Advisory Committee, '2016 Stakeholders Advisory Committee Survey of the New Zealand Chiropractic Profession: Analysis of Survey Data', 2016, (
  • 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.
A male chiropractor examining a patient's back

Chiropractors adjust the spine to correct nerve, muscle and joint disorders

Last updated 27 March 2024