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Old 08-13-2010, 12:38 PM
Location: Iowa
9 posts, read 13,822 times
Reputation: 10



I'm a student at Palmer College of Chiropractic in Iowa. I have about a year and half left before I graduate and I was thinking of spending a few years practicing in another country. My plan was to work as an associate in another office rather than set up my own. I'm having a hard time narrowing down where I want to live though. Ideally, I wouldn't mind staying for up to 5 years, unless I really loved it. In that case I would just stay there permanently.

There are some things I need to work out first.
-Language. I only speak English. I took some Spanish in high school, but really, does that even count? I don't think I would have any difficulty learning the language if I was immersed in the culture, it would take some time though. The best place would be an office where the patients spoke English well enough until I became proficient with the language. If I knew where I wanted to go I could even begin studying now in my (limited) free time.

-Work permits. How difficult is it for me to work in the country I'm moving to?

-Money. In my profession I have the potential to make a six figure income in a relatively short amount of time, albeit with a lot of hard work. Would this be the case in countries like Italy, Spain, Ireland etc? I will have a substantial amount of student loans to pay back once I'm out of school. If I can't make enough to support myself in a comfortable manner then I may have to reconsider.

-Need. The best scenario would be to go to a place where there is a high demand for chiropractors. I don't want to move to a place where I'm just starting out and nobody even knows what I do. I think I would have too much stacked against me to begin with.

-Friendliness to ex-pat Americans. I mind my business. I do like to drink, but for the most part I much prefer to sit around and talk with friends over a big meal or even in a bar than carry on like a hooligan. I'm pretty conscious of being a loud mouth or brash too. Although I can be pretty shy, so I don't know how easy it will be for me to make friends.

With all that in mind, how do you think I could fit in? I've been able to narrow my choices down to Italy, Spain, Norway, Sweden, Netherlands, Brazil and Australia. I know Australia would take care of the language barrier, but it's not the highest on my list.
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Old 08-22-2010, 01:35 AM
2,147 posts, read 3,925,430 times
Reputation: 1626
Not to burst your bubble-but getting a work permit/visa in an EU country is very difficult-for an American. And Chiropractic is more recognized currently, in the US. What tends to happen, for chiros abroad, is more of an 'under the table' situation. You carve your niche, but in a less formal way-in places such as Bali, certain locales in south america, other parts of SE Asia....places where there are alot of expats who would be interested in receiving chiro.

If you research European medical systems-you will find that it varies among countries, yet it's also very regulated. And, if a country does not offer licensure and practice for chiros, then you cannot practice there. Similar to the US. DO's from the UK are not full fledged 'Dr's' as they are in the US, where DO's are considered the equivalent of an MD, for example. So a DO may do, say, craniosacral therapy, but cannot practice medicine-whereas in England, he/she is considered as a sort of 'Physical Therapist' and therefore insurance covers their services. Yet, they certainly cannot practice PT in the U.S.

You will sometimes find ads online, though, for people hiring a chiro to join a practice or a spa/wellness setting, internationally. Have you checked any online chiro forums for this? I've also seen cruise ship employment ads for chiros.

Be sure to read through the national chiro websites for each country, and even check wikipedia-they may give a breakdown of places that license or allow chiro.

Also, do not go to a country expecting to treat locals, if you cannot speak their language. If you plan to focus on English speaking expats who would be looking for chiro, then it could work. But I don't think you will find the same recognition/status/salary, anywhere outside of the US. Chiros in the US have worked hard and for decades for this opt-in to the mainstream medicine and the insurance game. This is why you can make so much money. But in other countries, people would be paying out of pocket, and unless you get a very busy clinic going, your gross income will in all likelihood be lower.

If you are open minded, you may find interestinng offers in the middle east-such as dubai, UAE, etc. I recently saw a job post for an ND in dubai, for example. Places where the money flows and where a large number of US expats live, are places to look.

Alternatively, find a place in the US-lots of options-have a plan to pay off your loans, and in the interim, begin travelling to countries you are interested in-and learn the language ahead of time!!! Down the road, sell your practice and go set up shop with some overhead and experience under your belt [in terms of practice management,etc]. You will be less stressed and your needs/interests may have changed.

Good luck to you, whatever you choose!

Last edited by lrmsd; 08-22-2010 at 01:38 AM.. Reason: typo
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