News Staff
Is the NBCE Misleading the Profession on Exam Fees?

Examining the Financial Realities Behind NBCE’s Claim of Fiscal Responsibility Amidst Controversial Fee Structures and Monopoly Practices

In a recent press release, the Executive Director of the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE) Norman Ouzts DC announced that they would not increase exam fees for 2024, touting this as a reflection of their supposed excellent management and "sensitivity" to the financial burdens of examinees. Keep in mind that Ouzts is the highest benefactor of student loan debt at the NBCE raking in nearly $360,000.00 a year. The NBCE uses student loan money to fund its activities while enjoying a monopoly on testing within chiropractic. A deeper dive into the NBCE's financial history and operational practices reveals a different narrative, one that raises questions about the organization's purported altruism and its impact on aspiring chiropractors.

CLICK HERE for a copy of the Press Release

Financial Analysis: A Wealth of Resources Untapped for Relief

The NBCE, while presenting itself as a non-profit entity, has demonstrated a consistent pattern of financial accumulation and questionable expense allocations. Our analysis of their publicly available financial data from 2016 to 2022 shows a notable increase in net assets year over year, reaching a staggering $41 million in 2022. This increase came despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, during which the NBCE claimed financial strain as a pretext for raising exam fees.

CLICK HERE for an Analysis of NBCE's Finances

Questionable Fee Increases Amidst COVID-19

While Ouzts boasts that the "NBCE has increased exam fees just once in the past 6 years" he leaves out the fact that they did so in the middle of the COVID pandemic . It's critical to scrutinize the NBCE's decision to increase exam fees during a global crisis. While the organization justified this move by citing pandemic-related challenges, their financial records paint a different picture. The NBCE had ample funds in reserve, with net assets growing even during the pandemic years. This move, criticized by many, added financial pressure on students already burdened by the pandemic's economic fallout.

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Ouzts is no stranger to controversy having been arrested in December of 2019 and then in March 2020 decided to stick his nose where it didn't belong and declare that very few chiropractors in Colorado would be able to keep their doors open during COVID. He made that statement at the height of a battle chiropractors were having there to stay open under a regulatory board that was attacking them.

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Ouzts has had a history of controversy with his involvement in the NBCE including a lawsuit and allegations of corruption at the NBCE where it was alleged that behind the scenes board machinations in the search and voting process for a new Executive Vice President (EVP) had taken place. Not surprising when there is so much money, power and control at stake.

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Impact on Aspiring Chiropractors: Delays and Financial Burdens

The NBCE's monopoly on chiropractic testing has profound implications. During the pandemic, the cancellation of testing sessions delayed licensure for many graduates, preventing them from starting their careers and earning an income to pay off student loans. This situation highlighted the monopolistic control the NBCE holds over the profession, raising questions about the necessity and efficacy of their exams.

Exam Necessity: A Duplication of Certification?

The fundamental question of the NBCE exams' necessity also warrants discussion. Graduates from chiropractic colleges are deemed competent by their faculties, with diplomas certifying their readiness to practice. The NBCE, however, imposes an additional layer of competency assessment, which some critics argue is redundant and serves more as a financial gatekeeping mechanism than a genuine quality check.

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In fact, just recently the NBCE was sent an Open Letter from a group of organizations that have signed on to a series of Resolutions calling for freedom in chiropractic education, accreditation, testing and regulation ( The group called on the NBCE Board of Directors to immediately begin working to remove any and all language in any statute, law, rule, regulation and policy in any jurisdiction where it exists that allows the NBCE to enjoy a monopoly and demanded that the NBCE be completely transparent with the student loan money it is using to fund its activities. Lastly, the letter demands that the NBCE cease funding the Federation of Chiropractic Licensing Boards (FCLB). 

No one from the NBCE responded to the letter. So much for listening to its stakeholders.

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In October the Foundation for Vertebral Subluxation sent a letter to Ouzts and the Board of Directors of the NBCE following a request the NBCE made to stakeholders. The letter from the FVS read in part:

"Over the years, NBCE claims it has played a significant role in ensuring the competency of chiropractic graduates through its mandated testing. However, we have not seen relevant data to support that contention shared with the public and used as a basis to inform decisions. To that end we kindly request the following data from the NBCE be shared with the public:"

A list of 13 line items related to data followed. No one from the NBCE has even acknowledged receiving the letter and no one has responded to the request for data, Several other organizations sent similar letters as well as one chiropractic school. None have received a response.

CLICK HERE for a copy of the Foundation's letter

Compensation Controversies: Lucrative Payments to "Volunteers"

A glaring concern in the NBCE's operations is the compensation paid to its board members and employees. The data reveals that board members, supposedly volunteers, received significant payments, with the highest being over $53,000.00 in a single year. Similarly, top executives and employees received hefty salaries, with Ouzts earning upwards of $358,000.00 annually. These figures stand in stark contrast to the financial struggles faced by many chiropractic students and graduates.

Analyzing the CPI Claim: A Misleading Comparison?

The NBCE's claim of having increased exam fees by only 0.7% compared to the Consumer Price Index's 4.2% rise warrants a critical analysis. While at face value, this seems a commendable effort to control costs, it doesn't account for the substantial financial reserves and high compensation figures that the NBCE maintains. This raises questions about the true necessity of any past fee increases and whether the organization is leveraging its financial position to genuinely support its examinees.

A Call for Transparency and Reevaluation

The NBCE's decision to freeze exam fees in 2024 does not address the underlying issues of financial transparency, necessity of exams, and the monopolistic control exerted over the chiropractic profession. As the chiropractic community continues to grow, it is imperative that organizations like the NBCE operate with greater transparency and alignment with the needs and realities of those entering the field. The scrutiny of their financial practices is not just about numbers; it's about the ethical responsibility they hold towards the future of chiropractic care.

McCoy Press