How to Begin a Professional Career as a Podiatrist
|Podiatrists: A Quick Look|
|Median Salary||$116,440 per annum|
|Number of positions (U.S.)||10,700|
|Job Growth (2012-2022)||23% (Faster than national average)|
|New positions (2012-2022)||+2,400|
What Does A Podiatrist Do?
A podiatrist is a medical doctor who specializes in diagnosing, treating and preventing issues with feet and ankles. Read more.
The median salary for a podiatrist is $116,440 per year. Read more.
Becoming A Podiatrist
The path to becoming a podiatrist involves approximately 8 years of post high secondary education, including a bachelor’s degree and a doctorate degree. The podiatrist must also complete a 3 year residency program. Read more.
The employment of podiatrists is expected to increase 23% between 2012 to 2022 which is higher than the average for all occupations. This expected growth rate is caused by the expected increase in the elderly population of the United States that will necessitate an increase in physicians who can treat typical problems of geriatric patients. Read more.
Podiatrist SalaryHow much do podiatrists make? The median salary for a podiatrist is $116,440 per year. A podiatrist salary may be based upon such factors as the experience of the podiatrist as well as the employment situation, such as whether or not the podiatrist own his own practice, works for a podiatric group or works in a government setting. Podiatrists typically work full time, and may be expected to be on call during the month.
How To Become A PodiatristAn individual interested in becoming a podiatrist must be prepared for a great deal of education beyond high school. After graduating from high school, the individual must complete undergraduate school. The typical individual will pursue their undergraduate bachelor’s degree in a field that will benefit them during graduate school, such as biology, physics or chemistry. The individual must then prepare for the MCAT exam. The MCAT exam (Medical College Admissions Test) is normally the required entrance exam that determines the suitability of a candidate to enter medical school. An individual may wish to attend a review course to prepare for taking the MCAT. If the individual’s MCAT score is high enough and he is accepted at a school of podiatry, he must take the graduate courses required for graduating with a doctoral degree in podiatry. This takes 4 years to complete. While in podiatric school, the individual will take the National Licensing Boards. The individual must then complete a 3 year residency program. How long to become a podiatrist? Typically a podiatrist must attend 4 years of undergraduate school, 4 years of graduate school and then complete a 3 year residency program.
Educational RequirementsThe individual must attend undergraduate school. Typically someone seeking to become a podiatrist will pursue their undergraduate degree in biology, chemistry or physics. Upon receiving their bachelor’s degree, the individual must take the MCAT exam and then apply to a school of podiatry. There are currently only 9 schools in the United States offering a doctoral degree in podiatry. Courses necessary to obtain a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) include anatomy and pharmacology. The student will be required to complete a series of clinical rotations during the last 2 years of their program, working in hospitals and clinics to obtain experience in office and surgical settings. After obtaining their DPM, podiatrists must then complete a 3 year residency program where they will receive advanced training and education in the field. Podiatrists often decide to become board certified by The American Board of Podiatric Surgery in the field of podiatric surgery or by the American Board of Podiatric Medicine in the field of orthopaedics and primary care. Obtaining these certifications is accomplished by passing examinations and based upon work experience.
LicensingAll podiatrists must be licensed in every state. A podiatrist must pass a state exam in most instances. Podiatrists are required to obtain continuing medical education through classes and seminars on a yearly basis.
Podiatrist Job DescriptionWhat is a podiatrist? Podiatrists are physicians who provide special care for patients with problems with their feet and ankles. They may also treat problems in lower legs. As a physician, part of their job includes diagnosing the causes of issues, treating injuries and performing surgery as necessary. Podiatrists are excellent at diagnostics, as they must be creative in determining the underlying causation of many leg and foot problems. Podiatrists must be comfortable dealing with a variety of patients, including the elderly, those suffering from obesity or diabetes, and persons suffering from sports injuries. A podiatrist must be adept at determining the underlying cause of foot, ankle or leg pain. A podiatrist must remain current on any required licensing, continuing education requirements and certifications required by the state in which he or she is practicing.
- Take patient history in order to determine what the existing problem is order appropriate diagnostic tests such as x rays, laboratory testing, and more.
- Determine an appropriate course of treatment.
- Perform surgery as required order appropriate medical follow up for treatment and care.
- Educate patients about ways to prevent or alleviate issues such as pain and swelling.
- Order medications.
- Make referrals if person is suffering from underlying condition which is exacerbating the problem, such as diabetes or gout; referrals may also be made for physical therapy to improve range of movement and strength in the injured area.
- Continue to remain apprised of recent developments in the field of medicine by attending workshops and seminars, reading medical journals and consulting with other physicians.
Job OutlookThe job outlook for podiatrists is good, with an expected rate of growth of 23% between the years 2010 and 2020. This outlook is based upon the expectation that the number of elderly patients in the United States will increase, causing a higher incidence of mobility issues in the geriatric population. There is also an increasing need for professionals who can treat sports injuries. Growth in incidents of diabetes and obesity will also lead to an increased need in the number of professionals who can treat foot ailments.
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