How Much Does an Osteopath Earn? (Plus Tips to Boost Income)

Updated 27 July 2023

An osteopath is an allied health professional who specialises in the treatment of the musculoskeletal system. A career as an osteopath can be rewarding, working with a wide range of patients to assist them in becoming pain free and increasing their mobility. Understanding how much an osteopath earns can be helpful in deciding if it's the right career for you. In this article, we discuss what an osteopath is, explore how much they earn, outline how you can increase your income in this position, list their typical duties and skills and share some related careers and their salaries.

What is an osteopath?

An osteopath is a health professional who treats people with various health issues via the treatment of their musculoskeletal system. They use a combination of techniques, including massage and manipulation of muscles, ligaments and joints to help bring their patient's body back into alignment, allowing it to heal. Osteopaths require a university-level qualification to be eligible for their role. These medical professionals can usually gain employment within the private or public health system.

How much does an osteopath earn?

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries and the quoted websites at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

There are many factors to consider when answering the question, ‘How much does an osteopath earn?’ The national average salary for an osteopath is $64,203 per year. A factor that can affect how much you earn as an osteopath may be how much experience you have working in the industry. Positions in the private medical industry generally provide higher paid salaries compared to those in the public sector and some states also offer higher salaries, with the average income for an osteopath in Queensland being $71,000. People with a higher level of education in a relevant field may also attract higher-paid positions.

How to gain higher-paying osteopath positions

Below, you can find a few ways to increase your salary as an osteopath:

1. Change location

The cost of living across various states can differ. Because of this, osteopaths working in various states may earn more than others. Browsing osteopath job listings in different states can help give you an idea of places it may be worth relocating to, to gain a higher-paying osteopath position.

2. Develop experience

Hiring managers across most industries can look favourably upon employees who have experience in their field. For example, an osteopath with several years of experience in treating patients may have had a lot more exposure to different patients, ailments and working within the health care system. Developing your work experience can be a good way to help you increase your salary as an osteopath. You can do this by volunteering or spending time in an entry-level position to enhance your hard skills.

3. Change sectors

While public-sector jobs can come with significant benefits, they typically pay less than private-sector jobs. If you have higher-income expectations for your career as an osteopath, you can aim to gain employment in the private sector from the start of your career. Alternatively, if you currently work in the public sector, you can consider researching private-sector osteopath jobs to help you decide if it's worth making the switch.

4. Negotiate a better income

If you are working in an osteopathy role that you enjoy, you may be reluctant to change jobs for a salary increase. In a case like this, you can consider requesting a pay rise from your current employer. Your time in the role, experience, qualifications and any professional development you complete can support your request for better remuneration. If applying for a new osteopathy job, you can consider negotiating the salary on offer, using your education, skills, work experience and past achievements to support your negotiations.

Related: How to Negotiate a Salary Counteroffer (Steps and Tips)

5. Consider a side hustle

A great way to supplement your income could be to start a side hustle. You can consider sharing your experience in and knowledge of the field to generate a secondary stream of income. This could include lecturing at schools, colleges and universities, hosting online forums or even publishing a book comprising your research findings. Social media posts and videos may be another consideration for boosting your osteopath earnings. These types of income-generating activities can also be likely to develop your reputation as an authoritative figure in the industry, which may benefit your osteopath salary.

Related: What Is Naturopathy? (With Career Steps and Skills)

6. Undertake continual professional development

You're likely to gain many performance-enhancing skills on-the-job. Another great way of ensuring that you continually develop as an osteopath can be to seek avenues of academic development outside of your place of employment. For example, you may choose to complete a post-graduate or master's degree. This can improve your chances of hiring managers noticing your application in a competitive, top-paying job application pool.

Typical osteopath duties

An osteopath's primary duty is to treat patients to help ease their pain and help them recover from their injuries. They provide various services to assist patients in reducing pain and increasing mobility.

Here is a list of typical duties you may undertake as an osteopath:

  • meeting with patients to understand their health concerns

  • assessing patients and diagnosing them based on physical examination and mobility testing

  • reviewing patients' medical history and case histories

  • applying manual techniques such as massage to bring the body into alignment

  • referring patients to specialists and liaising with other health professionals

  • educating patients to improve their overall health and well-being.

Osteopath skills

Below, you can find a list of skills that may help you perform your duties as an osteopath successfully:

Interpersonal skills

Strong interpersonal skills can be important in a career as an osteopath. You're likely to talk to patients about their health and concerns daily. Being able to show an understanding of the issues they may face can be essential in helping them feel at ease. Interpersonal skills ultimately help you interact and work with others effectively, which can be beneficial in a medical role.

Related: Interpersonal Skills: Definitions and Examples

Communication skills

When talking to patients about their health, there may be some communication barriers. It's often necessary to use simple, non-medical terms when discussing patients' health concerns with them to ensure they can understand you. Ensuring you have strong communication skills, including the ability to listen attentively and talk clearly, may be helpful in building a rapport with your patients and earning their trust.

Related: Understanding and Overcoming Common Communication Barriers With Examples

Physical fitness

Maintaining your own physical fitness may be helpful as an osteopath. There's likely to be a requirement for you to administer massages to patients to assist them with their ailments. Having good physical strength and muscle tone can make it easier for you to provide massages regularly without becoming fatigued. Physical fitness can also be important to ensure you remain injury-free while assisting your patients.

Diagnostic skills

Strong diagnostic skills can be important in this role, as there's usually a requirement to assess a patient's health and define what medical condition they have or determine what treatment they require. You may opt to refer a patient to another medical practitioner to assist with other aspects of their health. Strong diagnostic skills can be helpful to ensure you capture all information pertaining to a patient's health before deciding on their treatment plan.

Problem-solving skills

As an osteopath, you assess a patient's health and work with their musculoskeletal system to understand what issues they're facing. There may be times where you work with patients who have multiple health concerns. Utilising your problem-solving skills can help you ‌assess them accurately and determine the best treatment plan.

Related: Problem-Solving Skills: Definitions and Examples

3 related careers

Below, you can find a few related careers:

1. Physiotherapist

National average salary: $82,129 per year

Primary duties: A physiotherapist works with clients to improve their health and well-being by reducing pain, increasing movement and mobility and improving their quality of life. They can help a variety of clients with rehabilitation following injury or for issues caused by disability, pregnancy or aging. They often provide treatment plans, including exercises, manual therapy and electrotherapy, depending on their client's requirements.

2. Chiropractor

National average salary: $79,618 per year

Primary duties: A chiropractor is a natural healer who works with clients to improve their health and well-being. They use a hands-on technique to adjust people's spines or other parts of their musculoskeletal system. They can also stretch clients' muscles and recommend exercises for them to do at home between their appointments. Chiropractors may also offer advice on nutrition and supplements to help improve a client's well-being.


  • 7 Jobs for a Chiropractic Degree (Duties and Salaries)

  • How to Become a Chiropractor in 6 Steps (with Skills)

3. Acupuncturist

National average salary: $88,251 per year

Primary duties: An acupuncturist treats people for a variety of physical and physiological conditions. They use needles and cups to perform physical rehabilitation techniques to improve the flow of energy. They may also advise on health and well-being and give advice on nutrition and supplements to support people in improving their lifestyles.

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