If you are fascinated by bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons and the neuromusculoskeletal system in general, becoming a chiropractor might be your calling. With around 20 different programs to choose between in the U.S., narrowing down the right one is a challenge in itself.
Life Chiropractic College West is an educational institute offering a three and a half year path to becoming a Doctor of Chiropractic with a strong alumni network. But before you decide to enroll, it’s important to weigh the financial pros and cons to make sure the Life Chiropractic College tuition is worth the cost. Let’s break down the specifics of how much it’ll cost to attend and what you can expect to be paid upon graduation.
Life Chiropractic College West education cost
Located in the heart of the San Francisco Bay area, Life Chiropractic College West is known for offering education with an emphasis on chiropractic philosophy and diverse exposure to different chiropractic techniques. Their curriculum for becoming a Doctor of Chiropractic is condensed into three and a half years or a 14-quarter program.
Life Chiropractic College tuition is currently $8,880 per quarter, which makes the average academic three-quarter-year a total of $26,640. When including room and board, books, transportation and fees, Life Chiropractic College West estimates the average student will pay $52,740 for one academic year. When multiplied by the three and a half years the average student is enrolled, the total cost of education comes out to $184,590.
The mean student loan debt upon graduation from Life Chiropractic College West is $193,695, though the average debt is approximately $187,828.
Expected chiropractor earnings
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual pay for chiropractors was $71,410 in 2018. The exact amount you’ll be paid is often contingent on your education, years of experience and additional skills and certifications. In the next decade, the chiropractic job outlook is projected to grow 7%, which is faster than the average for all occupations.
As you begin planning life after graduation, expect to be paid on the lower end of what chiropractor salaries typically range. Additionally, subtract your expected monthly student loan payments from that salary to determine how much you’ll have left for living expenses.
Is Life Chiropractic College West worth the cost?
The truth is, becoming a professional in the medical field is expensive. While it seems high, an average debt of $167,000 falls in the lower range of what you can expect from a chiropractic educational institute. For that very reason, it’s crucial to compare and contrast the different options to make sure you’re getting the best price for the best education. Let’s take a look at Life Chiropractic College West with another school to see how the cost and services compare.
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After evaluating the core coursework, required term of study and total cost of education, consider additional factors that would improve your overall experience at a given school. Then, calculate how long you expect it would take you to repay your student loans based on your projected earnings once you graduate. While everyone will arrive at a different decision on what is “worth it,” looking at the numbers in front of you can help make the choice less ambiguous.
Repayment options for Life Chiropractic College West students
Once you complete your education, you’ll need to start repaying your student loans. You can choose to take advantage of federal student loan repayment programs or refinance your loans privately.
Here are some loan repayment options for chiropractic students.
Income-Driven Repayment Plans
If your career as a chiropractor is just getting started, taking advantage of an income-driven repayment plan can make your student loan payment work with your paycheck.
Income-driven repayment plans use your annual income to determine the cost of your monthly payments. Most helpful to those with lower annual incomes, income-driven repayment plans help to lower monthly payments if your current salary isn’t covering your student loan bills. Repayment plans typically span 20 to 25 years.
Requirements for qualifying:
- An outstanding federal student loan balance is required
- Monthly payments must fall below what you were paying with your previous plan
- Your reported income, family size and personal information need to be updated annually
Public Service Loan Forgiveness
Created to reward public servants employed by nonprofits and the government, Public Service Loan Forgiveness is granted after 120 qualifying loan payments are made by the debtor. Unfortunately, not all chiropractors are eligible for Public Service Loan Forgiveness as it doesn’t apply to those who practice privately.
However, if you decide not to work in a private practice, Public Service Loan Forgiveness could apply to you.
Requirements for qualifying:
- Must be employed full-time (30 hours a week)
- Must work in a job categorized as public service
- Must have 10 years of on-time monthly payments after consolidation into a repayment program
- Must have a Direct Federal Student Loan, as private student loans are not eligible for the program
Student loan refinancing
If none of the federal options are right for you, you could consider refinancing your chiropractic student loans. With this option, you’d ideally qualify for a lower interest rate on your new loan, freeing up additional money monthly to help you pay the principal amount on your loans.
Remember, if you refinance your student loans privately you’ll become ineligible to participate in any federal student loan forgiveness programs down the line.
How to qualify:
- Compare lenders online to make sure you’re getting the best rate on your new loans
- You might need to provide tax returns, especially if you’ve owned a chiropractic practice
- Provide proof of income and address
How to decide on a chiropractic school
Knowing what chiropractic school is right for you will require you to carefully weigh the pros and cons. When you’re weighing specifics, compare the real cost of your loans, including the origination fees. Also, don’t forget to factor in the cost of living, especially since Life Chiropractic College West is based in the pricey Bay Area.
Make sure you take a hard look at what school will cost and if you’ll be able to repay your student loans in a timeframe that seems reasonable to you.