Podiatrists, also known as doctors of podiatric medicine (DPMs), treat disorders of the foot and lower leg. Typical patient problems that a podiatrist may encounter and treat include calluses, heel or foot spurs, ingrown toenails, arch problems and arthritic conditions. A podiatrist may prescribe medication for treatment, may develop a therapeutic regimen, may set broken bones or perform surgery. They may also prescribe usage of a variety of corrective devices. They may also order lab tests and X-rays as needed.
Entrance to a school of Podiatric Medicine requires three to four years of undergraduate work, an acceptable grade point average as well as an acceptable score on the MCAT, the medical school entrance exam. Undergraduate work must include biology, chemistry and physics; the undergraduate requirements are similar to pre-med requirements. Studies at the school of podiatric medicine are generally a four year program, followed by a residency of two to four years. All states require licensure, which involves both written and oral exams.
In 2006 the Labor Department estimated that about 12,000 podiatrists were working in the U.S. Most are solo practitioners; some work in practices with other podiatrists or in medical groups that include general practitioners as well.
The job growth for this profession is expected to be about the same as the overall average growth for jobs over the next several years. The aging of the population may contribute to job expansion in this field.
Lowest 10% $47,940
Median Salary $113,560
Highest 25% $166,390
Source: U.S. Department of Labor