What Do Podiatrists Do?
Podiatrists specialize in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of foot and ankle problems. They use medical and surgical interventions to treat foot deformities, growths, and injuries, as well as foot problems associated with diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, or arthritis. In diagnosing foot problems, podiatrists may conduct a comprehensive evaluation of all body systems, using x-rays, blood tests, and physical exams. As part of treatment, podiatrists may prescribe oral or topical medications or physical therapy, and may set fractures and perform surgery. They may also fit patients for casts or orthotics. Podiatrists also perform corrective surgery and arthroscopy.
Since many serious diseases may first manifest as foot problems, podiatrists may be the first provider to recognize medical problems such as heart disease, diabetes, or arthritis. Podiatrists will consult with and refer patients to other health practitioners when they detect symptoms of these disorders. Some podiatrists specialize in podiatric surgery, orthopedics, sports medicine, pediatrics, geriatrics, or diabetic foot care.
For more information, go to: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/podiatrists.htm.
Where Do Podiatrists Work?
Most podiatrists work in offices of podiatry, either their own or with other podiatrists or health practitioners. Podiatrists also work in hospitals, Veterans hospitals, health clinics, nursing homes, and rehabilitation facilities.
What Do Podiatrists Earn?
According to the 2018 BLS, the average salary for full time podiatrists nationwide was $148,220, varying by specialty and geographic region. Average annual salary also varies greatly across New York State, depending on location. The NYSDOL reports that podiatrists in New York also earned an average annual salary of $158,370, (entry level-$91,720, experienced- $191,700).
Supply and Demand
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that between 2014 and 2024, the number of podiatrists will increase nationwide by 14.1% and will increase in New York by 11.6%.
Demand for podiatrists may be growing because of the rising number of injuries sustained by a more active and increasingly older population in the U.S. Also, demand for podiatrists will increase because of the rising number of Americans who are overweight or obese or are diagnosed with diabetes. People who experience a lot of weight gain may have intense pressure on the foot and ankle, and therefore may also need the services of podiatrists. People with diabetes have circulatory problems that create the need for them to seek the aid of podiatrists.
For more information on projections of podiatrists by New York labor regions, click here.
Educational Program Requirements
Podiatrists complete training to obtain a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) degree. Students applying to schools of podiatry have a bachelor’s degree and have completed many science courses such as chemistry, biology, zoology, and physics. Applicants to a podiatry education programs should take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), although some schools accept the Dental Admissions Test (DAT) or the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) instead.
Podiatry education lasts four years (after the bachelor’s degree) and includes both classroom and clinical training, similar to other medical degrees. After completing a DPM degree, podiatry students are required to complete a three-year residency. Podiatrists who decide to specialize will need more extensive training, beyond the residency.
New York Licensure Requirements
In the U.S., podiatrists must be licensed. To be licensed as a podiatrist in New York, an individual must be a graduate of an accredited podiatry school, and complete at least one year of postgraduate training in an approved podiatry residency program or supervised postgraduate hospital with training in podiatry. New York licensed podiatrists must also pass comprehensive licensing exams. Licensure must be periodically renewed.
For more information about New York licensure requirements for podiatrists, go to: http://www.op.nysed.gov/prof/pod/.
For more information about the podiatric licensing examination, go to: http://www.nbpme.info/.
While New York does not require a podiatrist to be board certified, a podiatrist may seek board certification from either the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery (www.abfas.org) or the American Board of Podiatric Medicine (http://www.abpmed.org/). Board certification in podiatry includes successfully passing written and oral examinations and a review of clinical cases.
Podiatry students are encouraged to check with their school’s financial aid office for a complete listing of scholarships and funding options that might be available.
The American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) Educational Foundation provides a number of scholarships to podiatric medical students. Learn more about these opportunities at http://www.apma.org/educationalfoundation and also at http://www.apma.org/Education/content.cfm?ItemNumber=1096&navItemNumber=560.
Education Programs in the Northeast (subject to change)
|New York College of Podiatric Medicine
53 East 124th Street
New York, NY 10035
|Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine
148 North 8th Street
8th and Race Streets
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 625-5451 or (800) 220-FEET
Additional Web Links
For more information about podiatrists go to:
American Podiatric Medical Association: http://www.apma.org
New York State Podiatric Medical Association: http://www.nyspma.org
To learn more about podiatrists, check out this video.