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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.

How Much Do Podiatrists Earn?

In 2022, the average annual income reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for podiatrists in the United States was $157,970. The New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) reports that, in 2023, podiatrists in New York earned a median annual salary of $134,398 (podiatrists in the 25th percentile made approximately $84,037 while those in the 75th percentile made approximately $190,599).

Supply and Demand

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the number of jobs for podiatrists in the U.S. will increase by 2% between 2021 and 2031. The New York State Department of Labor projects that the number of jobs for podiatrists in the state will increase by 12% between 2020 and 2030.

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, (2018-2028), click here.

Educational 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: https://www.op.nysed.gov/professions/podiatry/license-requirements.

For more information about the podiatric licensing examination, go to: http://www.nbpme.info/.

Board Certification
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.

Financial Support

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 APMA’s scholarship fund page, click here.

Education Programs in the Northeast (subject to change)

New York College of Podiatric Medicine
53 East 124th Street
New York, NY 10035
(212) 410-8000
Temple University
School of Podiatric Medicine
148 North 8th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 629-0300
Kent State
College of Podiatric Medicine
6000 Rockside Woods Blvd
Independence, OH 44131
(800) 238-7903

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.

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