Mike studied for a Masters of Chiropractic at the University of Glamorgan (now the University of South Wales). Find out how he got a job as a chiropractor
How did you get your job?
When I graduated I already knew which clinic I wanted to work at as I had been interested in working there since I was 16. Unfortunately, they were unable to accommodate me at the time, but I found a job when I graduated through a graduate who had been in the year above me. It didn't require a formal interview - I shadowed a chiropractor there and was offered the job.
About nine months later my current boss got in touch and offered me the job I had originally wanted, which was great. I had a really good rapport with him and he has excellent credentials as a sports chiropractor, so I jumped at the chance.
What's a typical day like as a chiropractor?
I usually work quite long hours, however the hours are flexible as I am self-employed.
The clinic I work at specialises in sports chiropractic and around 70 to 80% of my patients are walk-in patients from the area. Anyone can walk through the door with all sorts of injuries and complaints, so that keeps me on my toes.
In the clinic I offer a variety of techniques, such as manipulation and massage and will spend most of the day speaking with patients about their injuries.
What do you enjoy about your job?
The best thing about the job is you get to chat to patients, all day every day. I've always been reasonably sociable so I really enjoy this aspect. I also have an interest in sports and I am able to get involved with sports chiropractic as well - this personal interest always makes it easy to get out of bed every day.
I also signed up to a sports faculty (there is one for various types of chiropractic) - managed by the Royal Chiropractic College, which gives me the opportunity to be invited to work at sports events. This is brilliant and lets me branch out from my everyday role to get more experience in an area I'm interested in.
What are the challenges?
There are certainly challenges, as I'm sure there are with every job. Being self-employed means you have to motivate yourself - no patients means no income.
At university I had the expectation that I would be able to make everybody better, so in the instances where my suggestions aren't helping it can be quite disheartening.
It can also be quite intimidating to know that your patient puts all their trust in you. After you graduate you're on your own, so it can feel like a big responsibility to ensure you don't miss anything important.
In what way is your degree relevant?
My degree ensured I was able to walk out of university with the job I wanted, but I also gained a wider skill set and interpersonal skills.
My experience was a little different from my friends, as I knew exactly what I would be doing once I graduated. I found this quite motivating in difficult periods (like exam season) because I knew exactly what I was working for.
After university, I also did the Royal College of Chiropractic's Post-Registration training course, which was really helpful for refreshing my skills and an opportunity to meet other people in the industry.
How do I get into chiropractic?
- Shadow as many people as possible, as this really gives you an idea of what it's like each day. There are various types of chiropractic so watch people work in different environments to get a good idea about what you want from your career.
- You need to make sure it's the right thing for you. In one of my clinics I was shadowed by a student who had wanted to work as a physio, but after a week with me he was completely converted to chiropractic as it was not at all what he expected, so I make sure you also work with other professionals to get a feel for the different job types available.
- You have to love it. It's a lot of hard work - you have at least eight exams at university not including the practical's - then after university you have to manage your own workload.