Posted by: Chris Maloney | December 3, 2011

Get Rich In Alternative Medicine? The Average Incomes of Alternative Vs. Conventional.

Doctors at the General Assembly

Doctors at the General Assembly (Photo credit: Waldo Jaquith)

I just got an ad from people selling practice building tips with the following factoid:    The latest census done by chiropractic economics said that the average chiropractor serves less than 75 visits per week and makes a net profit of $50,000 per year.

So here is another interesting factoid:  N.D.s also make on average, around $50,000 a year, but that’s gross, not net.  We see people for a much longer period, so we can’t get the numbers a Chiropractor can.

For gross, not net, the average Chiropractor makes $130k.

In base salary, net, an average generalist M.D. in the U.S. makes $166k.

So if you have a choice between D.C. and M.D., you can make $100k more net a year as an M.D.

The average pharmacist makes $113k a year.

The average nurse makes $65k a year.

In other alternative fields, let’s see:

According to the AAMC: “an established ND who runs or partners in a large, busy practice makes an average estimated net income of $80,000 to $90,000 per year ” but that’s not including starting out N.D.s who average 20-30k.

According to data collected by, acupuncturists earn an average salary of $43,000 to $60,000 per year, depending on how long they have been in practice.

Massage therapists earn an average of $43k.

Do we see a trend here?  Alternative practitioners who run their own health care businesses charge and receive about half what general M.D.s make.  Those aren’t specialists’ salaries, those are basic M.D.s.  Nurses, who are generally considered integral parts of patient care, make about the same amount as alternative practitioners.  There just seems to be a “going rate” for healthcare that is about half of what we’re currently paying our M.D.s.

If, after reading the above, you still are considering becoming an alternative practitioner (or an M.D.) then I’ve written a book that really clarifies the differences between the professions.  And no, the answer is not: “herbs.”  The title is M.D. Or N.D., What Should I Be?  Here’s the Create Space link or you can find it on Amazon.


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