Do you want to be one step ahead in the medical field, and be able to make puns about your work? Consider becoming a podiatrist! Jokes aside, foot health is vital to the health of the whole body, especially because some serious conditions first present through symptoms in the lower extremities. Podiatrists serve a valuable role in medicine by specializing in this important area of the body. Read on to explore the field of podiatry and how you can get there!
What do podiatrists do?
In the same way that dentists specialize in mouths, podiatrists specialize in feet. Specifically, a podiatrist’s work includes preventing, diagnosing, and treating foot-related issues. They work with both injuries and diseases, and may also specialize in a subset of these issues or in a type of treatment. A common treatment specialty is surgery. Additionally, since no part of the body functions in isolation, podiatrists frequently work with ankles and other nearby leg structures.
What is their work environment like?
Podiatrists can work in a diversity of settings. These include medical centers such as hospitals, trauma centers, private practices, group practices, and surgical centers. They also include interdisciplinary practice settings like professional sports teams, long-term care facilities, and the armed forces. Podiatrists may also perform academic, educational, and research work in universities and schools of podiatry. This variety allows for a lot of flexibility in work hours, patients, and medical conditions.
Who do they work with?
This flexibility in work environment goes hand in hand with a flexibility in both patients and coworkers. These factors depend largely on a podiatrist’s work setting. For example, a podiatrist working on a sports team may see athlete patients who have primarily injury and repetitive stress-related issues, and may work closely with physical therapists. A podiatrist working in a surgical center, however, may see a variety of clients with serious conditions, and may collaborate with other hospital staff.
What is the job outlook for podiatry?
The job outlook for doctors of podiatric medicine is excellent. Thea average salary is $190,675, and podiatrists typically work between 30 and 60 hours per week.
How do I become a podiatrist?
Podiatrists are doctors, and complete medical school programs tailored to the study of podiatry. These typically take place at accredited podiatric medical colleges. There are currently nine accredited colleges of podiatric medicine in the United States, as well as over 200 podiatry programs at hospitals and other organizations. Browse a list of programs here. Programs take around four years to complete. The first two years include coursework and laboratory experience, and the last two years focus on clinical sciences and patient care. The four-year program is followed by a 36-month residency.
In the Know: Professional organizations and resources
There are several professional pediatric organizations, and all have helpful resources in the field of podiatry, the educational, residency, and licensing processes, and scholarships. Here are some of these organizations:
- American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA)
- Step Into Podiatry
- American Podiatric Medical Students’ Association (APMSA)
Wherever your career journey leads you, thank you for dipping your toes into the world of podiatry!