Podiatrists

  • Summary
  • What They Do
  • Work Environment
  • How to Become One
  • Pay
  • Job Outlook
  • State & Area Data
  • Similar Occupations
  • More Info

Summary

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Quick Facts: Podiatrists
2021 Median Pay $145,840 per year

$70.11 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education Doctoral or professional degree
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training Internship/residency
Number of Jobs, 2021 11,000
Job Outlook, 2021-31 2% (Slower than average)
Employment Change, 2021-31 200

What Podiatrists Do

Podiatrists provide medical and surgical care for people with foot, ankle, and lower leg problems.

Work Environment

Podiatrists usually work in offices of podiatry, other medical offices, or hospitals. Most work full time, and some need to be on call for emergencies.

How to Become a Podiatrist

Podiatrists must earn a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) degree and complete a 3-year residency program. Every state requires podiatrists to be licensed.

Pay

The median annual wage for podiatrists was $145,840 in May 2021.

Job Outlook

Employment of podiatrists is projected to grow 2 percent from 2021 to 2031, slower than the average for all occupations.

Despite limited employment growth, about 300 openings for podiatrists are projected each year, on average, over the decade.

Most of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

State & Area Data

Explore resources for employment and wages by state and area for podiatrists.

Similar Occupations

Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of podiatrists with similar occupations.

More Information, Including Links to O*NET

Learn more about podiatrists by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.

What Podiatrists Do

About this section

Podiatrists treat injuries involving the lower extremities.

Podiatrists diagnose illnesses, treat injuries, and perform surgery for people with foot, ankle, and lower leg problems.

Duties

Podiatrists typically do the following:

  • Diagnose and assess patients’ conditions by reviewing medical histories, performing physical exams, and reviewing x rays and medical laboratory tests.
  • Provide nonsurgical treatment for foot, ankle, and lower leg ailments, such as prescribing special shoe inserts (orthotics) to improve a patient’s mobility
  • Perform foot and ankle surgeries, such as removing bone spurs, repairing fractures, and correcting other foot and ankle problems
  • Advise and instruct patients about foot and ankle care and wellness
  • Prescribe medications
  • Refer patients to other physicians or specialists if they detect other health problems, such as diabetes or vascular disease
  • Conduct research, read journals, and attend conferences to keep up with advances in podiatric medicine and surgery

Podiatrists treat a variety of foot and ankle ailments, including calluses, ingrown toenails, heel spurs, arthritis, and arch problems. They also treat foot and leg problems associated with diabetes, obesity, and other health conditions. Some podiatrists spend most of their time performing surgery, such as foot and ankle reconstruction. Others may choose a specialty such as sports medicine, pediatrics, or diabetic foot care.

Podiatrists who own their practice may spend time on business-related activities, such as hiring employees and managing inventory.

Work Environment About this section

Podiatrists

Podiatrists who work in urgent-care facilities may need to be on call for emergencies.

Podiatrists held about 11,000 jobs in 2021. The largest employers of podiatrists were as follows:

Offices of other health practitioners 51%
Self-employed workers 16
Offices of physicians 15
Federal government, excluding postal service 8
Hospitals; state, local, and private 7

Offices of podiatry are counted among offices of other healthcare practitioners.

Some podiatrists work in group practices with other physicians or specialists. Podiatrists may work closely with physicians and surgeons, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, medical assistants, and dietitians and nutritionists.

Work Schedules

Most podiatrists work full time, and some work more than 40 hours per week. Work schedules may vary and include evenings or weekends to accommodate patients. Some podiatrists, such as those who work in urgent-care facilities, may need to be on call for emergencies. Self-employed podiatrists or those who own their practice may have flexibility in setting their own hours.

How to Become a Podiatrist About this section

Podiatrists

Applicants to podiatry programs must have completed coursework in sciences and other subjects.

Podiatrists must earn a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) degree and complete a 3-year residency program. Every state requires podiatrists to be licensed.

Education

Podiatrists must have a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) degree from an accredited college of podiatric medicine. A DPM degree program takes 4 years to complete. Colleges of podiatric medicine are accredited by the Council on Podiatric Medical Education, which provides a list online of accredited programs.

Admission to podiatric medicine programs requires at least 3 years of undergraduate education, but nearly all prospective students have a bachelor’s degree in healthcare, biology, or physical science. Although programs might not specify the undergraduate degree required for admission, applicants must have completed courses in laboratory sciences such as biology, chemistry, and physics, as well as general coursework in subjects such as English. Applicants to DPM schools usually submit scores from the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) and letters of recommendation. They also may indicate that they shadowed a podiatrist.

Courses for a DPM degree are similar to those for other medical degrees. They include anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, and pathology. Podiatric medical students gain supervised experience by completing clinical rotations while in school.

Training

After earning a DPM, podiatrists must apply to and complete a podiatric medicine and surgery residency (PMSR) program. Residency programs, which last several years, take place in hospitals and allow podiatrists to gain experience providing medical and surgical care to patients.

Podiatrists may complete additional training in specific fellowship areas, such as podiatric wound care, diabetic foot care, or limb preservation.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Podiatrists in every state must be licensed. Podiatrists must pay a fee and pass all parts of the American Podiatric Medical Licensing Exam (APMLE), offered by the National Board of Podiatric Medical Examiners. Some states have additional requirements. A full list of requirements for each state is available from the Federation of Podiatric Medical Boards.

Many podiatrists choose to become board certified. Certification generally requires a combination of work experience and passing an exam. Board certification is offered by the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery, the American Board of Lower Extremity Surgery, the American Board of Podiatric Medicine, and the American Board of Multiple Specialties in Podiatry.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Podiatrists must be able to listen and convey information to patients, such as about the diagnosis and ways to improve their condition.

Compassion. Because podiatrists provide care for patients who may be in pain, they must treat patients with understanding.

Critical-thinking skills. Podiatrists must be analytical to correctly diagnose a patient and determine the best course of treatment.

Detail oriented. When diagnosing a problem, podiatrists must pay attention to details, such as those about the patient’s medical history and current conditions.

Interpersonal skills. Podiatrists spend much of their time interacting with patients and also must work well as part of a medical team coordinating patient care.

Pay About this section

Podiatrists

Median annual wages, May 2021

Podiatrists
Healthcare diagnosing or treating practitioners
Total, all occupations
 

The median annual wage for podiatrists was $145,840 in May 2021.
The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $61,350, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $208,000.

In May 2021, the median annual wages for podiatrists in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Offices of physicians $208,000 or more
Federal government, excluding postal service 173,180
Offices of other health practitioners 127,690
Hospitals; state, local, and private 96,700

Most podiatrists work full time, and some work more than 40 hours per week. Work schedules may vary and include evenings or weekends to accommodate patients. Some podiatrists, such as those who work in urgent-care facilities, may need to be on call for emergencies. Self-employed podiatrists or those who own their practice may have flexibility in setting their own hours.

Job Outlook About this section

Podiatrists

Percent change in employment, projected 2021-31

Healthcare diagnosing or treating practitioners
Total, all occupations
Podiatrists
 

Employment of podiatrists is projected to grow 2 percent from 2021 to 2031, slower than the average for all occupations.

Despite limited employment growth, about 300 openings for podiatrists are projected each year, on average, over the decade.

Most of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

Employment

The U.S. population continues to age and to see an associated increase in its rates of chronic diseases, such as diabetes and obesity. As a result, people will continue to have mobility and foot-related problems, and podiatrists will be needed to treat many of these conditions. However, demand for podiatrists is expected to be limited because many patients may acquire services from a non-podiatrist physician or other appropriate caregiver.

Employment projections data for podiatrists, 2021-31
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2021 Projected Employment, 2031 Change, 2021-31 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Podiatrists

29-1081 11,000 11,200 2 200 Get data

State & Area Data About this section

Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS)

The Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) program produces employment and wage estimates annually for over 800 occupations. These estimates are available for the nation as a whole, for individual states, and for metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas. The link(s) below go to OEWS data maps for employment and wages by state and area.

  • Podiatrists

Projections Central

Occupational employment projections are developed for all states by Labor Market Information (LMI) or individual state Employment Projections offices. All state projections data are available at www.projectionscentral.com. Information on this site allows projected employment growth for an occupation to be compared among states or to be compared within one state. In addition, states may produce projections for areas; there are links to each state’s websites where these data may be retrieved.

CareerOneStop

CareerOneStop includes hundreds of occupational profiles with data available by state and metro area. There are links in the left-hand side menu to compare occupational employment by state and occupational wages by local area or metro area. There is also a salary info tool to search for wages by zip code.

Similar Occupations About this section

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of podiatrists.

Occupation Job Duties ENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION Help on Entry-Level Education 2021 MEDIAN PAY Help on Median Pay

Chiropractors

Chiropractors

Chiropractors treat patients with health problems of the neuromusculoskeletal system, which includes nerves, bones, muscles, ligaments, and tendons.

Doctoral or professional degree $75,000

Occupational therapists

Occupational Therapists

Occupational therapists treat patients who have injuries, illnesses, or disabilities through the therapeutic use of everyday activities.

Master’s degree $85,570

Optometrists

Optometrists

Optometrists diagnose and treat visual problems and manage diseases, injuries, and other disorders of the eyes.

Doctoral or professional degree $124,300

Orthotists and prosthetists

Orthotists and Prosthetists

Orthotists and prosthetists design and fabricate medical supportive devices and measure and fit patients for them.

Master’s degree $75,440

Physical therapists

Physical Therapists

Physical therapists help injured or ill people improve movement and manage pain.

Doctoral or professional degree $95,620

Physicians and surgeons

Physicians and Surgeons

Physicians and surgeons diagnose and treat injuries or illnesses and address health maintenance.

Doctoral or professional degree This wage is equal to or greater than $208,000 per year.

Dentists

Dentists

Dentists diagnose and treat problems with patients’ teeth, gums, and related parts of the mouth.

Doctoral or professional degree $163,220

Last Modified Date:
Friday, September 23, 2022