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

Paying for your Education

An investment in your future

While no doctoral program is inexpensive, 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 $8,880 per quarter

Effective with the Winter 2019 quarter, tuition is $8,8​80 per quarter for full-time students (12 or more credits). For students with 11 credits or less, the per credit charge is $74​0.​

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 our Sports Institute program? It’s included.
  • 7 core adjustment techniques: Gonstead, Toggle Recoil, Diversified, Integrated Drop Table, Extremities, Chiropractic Bio-Physics, and Pediatrics & Pregnancy Techniques.
  • 12+ elective techniques: Activator Methods, Direction Non-Force Technique, EPIC, NUCCA, Blair, Knee Chest, Bio-Geometric Integration, Network Spinal Analysis, Sacro-Occipital Technique, Advanced Gonstead, Advanced CBP, and Advanced Extremities are the elective techniques currently offered at Life West.
  • Heavily subsidized service trips abroad: While not necessarily fully “included” in the cost of tuition, being an enrolled student does come with heavily subsidized options to travel with the school as part of our service trips abroad to countries such as India, Tonga, Panama and more. In most cases, students are responsible for airfare, but additional costs associated with these trips such as a place to stay and meals are covered by partnerships we’ve developed to support our service trips.

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

Of course, attending a full-time doctoral program has costs beyond tuition itself – room & board 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).

Sample Life West Student Budget (for three quarters)
Tuition: $8,880 per quarter x 3 = $26,640
Room & Board: $14,139
Books & Supplies: $1,800
Transportation: $3,879
Miscellaneous: $6,795
Loan Fees: $1,011
Total: $54,264

Life West Financial Aid Packages 2020-21

Direct Unsubsidized & graduate PLUS (Sample Package)
Direct Unsubsidized Loan $33,000
*Credit-based graduate PLUS $21,264
Sub-total $54,264
Minus government loan fees
Stafford -$348
Graduate Plus -$900
Direct Unsubsidized & Federal Work Study (FWS) Award (Sample Package)
Direct Unsubsidized Loan $33,000
*Credit-based graduate PLUS $18,264
**Federal Work Study Award $3,000
Total $54,264

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

If you borrow the maximum of $33,000 in the Federal Direct Loan Program, after paying tuition you will have approximately $2,004 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 $2,004 to $8,792 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.