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What does it cost to earn a Doctorate of Chiropractic degree?

Paying for your Education

An investment in your future

An education from Life Chiropractic College West is designed to position you with the hard and soft skills necessary to earn a strong return on your investment. We’re arguably the most cost-effective program in the country.

A look at our tuition costs, with full transparency

In addition to outlining our costs, we’ll make a few suggestions when comparing program costs – it’s rarely an apples-to-apples comparison. We’ll look at some ways we’ve structured our curriculum to help lower the cost of our program. Then, we’ll begin looking at (and link to) the financial aid resources our students leverage to help make that investment possible.

Building a foundation in business management

Finally, it’s worth noting that Life West believes it is critical that our students have a strong foundation in budgeting, developing financial strategies and overall management of their finances. Early on, all matriculating students will attend a financial literacy seminar during their first week of school. Later, you’ll find our curriculum puts a major emphasis on the business management of chiropractic – providing you with the tools needed to make strong decisions and maximize your earning potential during the course of your career.

Coin jar representing the cost of a chiropractic education and financial aid options at Life West

Full-time Students

Life West’s tuition is $9,180 per quarter

Effective with the Winter 2023 quarter, tuition is $9,180 per quarter for full-time students (12 or more credits). For students with 11 credits or less, the per credit charge is $765.​

What’s included in that cost?

  • All coursework: The tuition rate at Life West includes all courses you take as well as your time in clinic. That means core curriculum courses as well as any elective courses you choose to take.
  • As many elective courses as you’re comfortable taking: It’s worth repeating that full-time Life West students pay a single, per-quarter tuition rate, regardless of the number of classes in which they are enrolled. While there’s clearly a limit to how many classes a student can realistically take at any given time, students are encouraged to take as many elective courses as they’re comfortable with in the areas that interest them. Want to explore additional techniques? It’s included. Want to explore a specific specialty such as sports performance? It’s included.

A few things to look for when comparing degree programs:

  • What are the true costs?  From fees to the cost of books and equipment, be sure that the comparrison you’re making is an honest one.
  • How many quarters/semesters will you be in school?  Life West offers students the ability to choose an academic track that fits their retention capabilities and the school/life balance that makes sense for them. On our 12-quarter track, students typically save tuition and other costs for 2 quarters of tuition – a significant savings.
  • How much clinic time will I receive? While the foundational academic studies are important and necessary, the real-life, hands-on application of your studies in a clinical environment is how you become a practice-ready Doctor of Chiropractic. At Life West, we get you into that clinic environment earlier. Most students have 7 or more quarters of hands-on, clinical experience when they graduate, an unparalleled advantage in building your competency as a DC.
  • What if a technique you want to learn isn’t part of the core curriculum? At Life West, the only limit is the time you have available. All courses are included in your quarterly tuition rate.
  • What does the school offer for internship/preceptorship opportunities? An internship/preceptorship gives senior students the ability to begin the transition from student to professional in the setting that makes sense for them. The vast majority of Life West students spend their final quarter(s) working directly with a DC in their office, while finishing their coursework online. Some students choose to do that in their hometown, which often offers a cost-of-living savings. Others choose to do a preceptorship abroad. Others seek out preceptorships within a specialty area they’re interested in.
  • What scholarships & grants are available?  Life West offers robust and varied scholarship opportunities. This is equally true for new, incoming students as well as current students who are looking to reduce their out-of-pocket costs.

Being realistic

A look at a sample budget 2023-24

Of course, attending a full-time doctoral program has costs beyond tuition itself – housing, food and transportation, to name a couple.

The budget listed below is for an academic year (three quarters). All financial aid is packaged for one academic year at a time. A student may apply for financial aid every three quarters as long as he/she is full-time and making academic progress (e.g.if your loan period is fall/winter/spring, the loan renewal would be for summer/fall/winter and continue in three-quarter cycles).

During a student’s education the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners administration written and practical exams (NBCE.org). An allowance for Board Exam expenses is incorporated into an upper quarter student financial aid budget (typically during quarters 7 to 12).

Sample 3 quarter Life West Student Budget Effective for periods of enrollment starting *Summer 2023
Tuition: $9,180 per quarter x 3 = $27,540
Student Fee: $400 per quarter (effective wi23) = $1,200
Housing & Food: $15,732
Books,Supplies & Equipment: $1,800
Transportation: $4,995
Miscellaneous: $7,470
Loan Fees: $1,188
Total: $59,925

Life West Financial Aid Packages 2023-24


Direct Unsubsidized & graduate PLUS (Sample Package)
Direct Unsubsidized Loan $33,000
*Credit-based graduate PLUS $26,925
Sub-total $59,925
Minus government loan fees
Stafford -$348
Graduate Plus -$1139
Direct Unsubsidized & Federal Work Study (FWS) Award (Sample Package)
Direct Unsubsidized Loan $33,000
*Credit-based graduate PLUS $22,425
**Federal Work Study Award $4,500
Total $59,925

**Opportunity to work on campus; students are paid for hours worked via bi-monthly paycheck.

If you borrow the maximum in the Direct Unsubsidized Loan Program ($33,000); after paying tuition & the Student Fee you will have approximately $1,304 per quarter for books, supplies and living expenses. Students who need additional assistance beyond the Direct Loan program may use the Federal Work-Study program and/or the *credit-based federal graduate PLUS loan program, thereby increasing the amount of funds available from $1,304 to $9,900 per quarter.

Please remember to review the scholarship information on the Scholarship page under financial aid. Scholarships are available for incoming students and current students.

*Financial Aid Budget Adjustment Policy
Budget adjustments are for special and unusual expenses directly related to a student’s education. All adjustments with the exception of daycare are for the student only. Examples include: major car repairs (not maintenance), medical/dental (not routine), and disability testing, special services related to disability, Boards costs, one-time computer expense and daycare for dependents. Since the submission of a budget adjustment request does not guarantee approval, students with questions about an anticipated expense should consult with the Financial Aid Office. Please contact the Financial Aid Office.

Professional Judgment Policy
When there are unusual situation or circumstances that affect your your federal student eligibility, federal regulations give a financial aid administrator discretion or professional judgment (PJ) on a case by case basis and with adequate documentation to make adjustments to the data elements on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form that impact your Student Aid Index (SAI) to gain a more accurate assessment of your ability to contribute to your cost of education. As Life West is a graduate degree granting college the only program that is based on financial need is the federal work study program. If your eligibility for federal work study (FWS) is impacted please contact the Financial Aid Office for a review of your situation.