Tales of the Unemployed: A Chiropractor’s Lament

Eight Years of College and $100,000 in Student Loans Does Not Equal Work

In response to this recent article on Santa Barbara’s unemployed, we’ve asked readers to submit their own unemployment stories. If you’d like to share your tale, email

I am a licensed chiropractor with the equivalent of an eight-year college education, since I have a BS/biology degree as well as my chiropractic degree. Chiropractic school has put me way over my head in student loan debt. With such an outstanding debt, there is no way that I can obtain a business loan or loans to return to school to pursue another career.

After trying for several years unsuccessfully to get a small-overhead office going without the proper finances to properly conduct the business, I decided to try a salaried associateship. The nearest one I could find was down in Oxnard. Several other chiropractors tried for the job, but luckily I was hired. I finally felt like I was on my way to a successful career in chiropractic until I got laid off 10 months later.

During the next six months on unemployment, I found out the terrible reality of the job market as I searched high and low for both chiropractic and non-chiropractic jobs in this area and throughout the state. Salaried positions for chiropractors are rare at this time and there are not enough of them to go around for the high number of chiropractors searching for them.

As far as non-chiropractic jobs, it seems you either need so many years experience in the field or you need a special certificate, license and/or degree, and there are no short cuts or challenge tests for those who have similar background. An example of this was trying to get hired as a physical therapy assistant. They said that I would have to take a two-year program and get a certification to do that job. It didn’t matter that I was D.C., a doctor of chiropractic. I also looked into biology jobs, but it seems that jobs in biology are also scarce and most require a post-graduate degree or teaching credential.

I’m presently working a low-paying security job (with no benefits) to at least have some money coming in. It’s frustrating to have reached such a road block and not have a direction to take. Job fairs, college counselors, employment agencies, professional colleagues, Internet searches, etcetera, have not been helpful in giving me any guidance out of this situation. It feels as though eight-plus years of college and more than $100,000 in student loan debt was all for nothing at this point.

With all my knowledge and skill, it’s a shame the workforce doesn’t have a place for me at this time to earn good money using that knowledge and skill to help others. I wish I knew the answer!

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