The choices you make directly impact how your life turns out. Oftentimes, you think that once you graduate from chiropractic school, you’re automatically ready for career lift-off.
However, graduating is closer to the beginning of your journey.
The first two choices a graduate must make are
- What state should I practice in?
- Should I open my own practice, become an independent contractor, or be an associate?
Choosing the best state
Choosing the state you will practice in should be based on your top priorities. Should you choose a region where you are most likely to succeed or where you will have the most emotional support? Should you go where you have family and friends or where the demographics and laws favor your potential success?
The decision is yours to make.
If your top priority is residing where you will most likely succeed you have homework to do. Insurance reimbursement is constantly changing and you must do demographic research.
The math is simple: There is approximately one chiropractor for every 5,000 people in the country. If you open your practice in a town where there are 2,500 people per practice, then it will be twice as hard to succeed.
It is partially true that chiropractors don’t have to compete on a regional basis; every DC can succeed, in theory. But the more chiropractors per capita, the more difficult it is to find patients. If you open a practice in a town or city where there are 10,000 people per chiropractor you are twice as likely to succeed.
The research is not compiled by the state but by the county in the state you are considering for your practice.
Choosing the right “job”
Once you have chosen the state, the journey begins. An associate usually lacks certainty in skills – both in business and in the area of patient treatment. An independent contractor usually lacks the money to start and uses an existing doctor’s office to launch his or her career.
The next decision is critical to rapid success or prolonged anxiety: How should I build a practice? Some doctors believe friends and family are the top priority, while others believe that good results will lead to rapid growth.
Some, however, choose the third path: getting involved in their community to communicate their message. The correct path is to incorporate all the above.
There is an old saying that goes, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” And it’s the truth. But that doesn’t mean the original plan will not need adjustment. Like all things in life, you will learn some things along the way, and new opportunities will arise that will cause you to adjust appropriately.
That being said, you still need to form a plan as your starting point.
Devise a plan that includes how you are going to meet at least 10 people a week in your community and what you will say to them when you meet them. You would be surprised at how many doctors do not create even a simple strategy such as this.
Decide where the ideal area is for the practice of your dreams and if your priority is to be close to family and friends or if you are seeking a location with the ideal demographics in the region. Then, make a plan instead of planning to fail and adjust as you go accordingly.
Good luck on your journey. And remember, any wrong choice can be corrected by a new, better one.