Employment is expected to increase about as fast as average. Job prospects should be good.
Employment of podiatrists is expected to increase by 9 percent from 2008 to 2018, about as fast as the average for all occupations. More people will turn to podiatrists for foot care because of the rising number of injuries sustained by a more active and increasingly older population. Also, demand for podiatrists will increase because of the rising number of Americans who are diagnosed with diabetes and who are severely overweight. People with diabetes have circulatory problems that create the need for them to seek the aid of podiatrists; persons who experience rapid weight gain may have intense pressure on the foot and ankle, and therefore need the services of podiatrists.
Medicare and most private health insurance programs cover acute medical and surgical foot services, as well as diagnostic x rays and leg braces. Details of such coverage vary among plans. However, routine foot care, including the removal of corns and calluses, is not usually covered unless the patient has a systemic condition that has resulted in severe circulatory problems or areas of desensitization in the legs or feet. Like dental services, podiatric care is often discretionary and, therefore, more dependent on disposable income than some other medical services.
Employment of podiatrists would grow even faster were it not for continued emphasis on controlling the costs of specialty healthcare. Insurers will balance the cost of sending patients to podiatrists against the cost and availability of substitute practitioners, such as physicians, chiropractors, and physical therapists.
Although the occupation is small and most podiatrists continue to practice until retirement, job opportunities should be good for entry-level graduates of accredited podiatric medicine programs. Job growth, coupled with the need to replace podiatrists who stop practicing, should create enough job openings for the supply of new podiatric medicine graduates. Opportunities will be better for board-certified podiatrists because many managed-care organizations require board certification. Newly trained podiatrists will find more opportunities in group medical practices, clinics, and health networks than in traditional solo practices. Establishing a practice will be most difficult in the areas surrounding colleges of podiatric medicine, where podiatrists concentrate.
Podiatrists held about 12,200 jobs in 2008. About 19 percent of podiatrists were self-employed. Most podiatrists were solo practitioners, although more are entering group practices with other podiatrists or other health practitioners. Solo practitioners were either unincorporated self-employed workers or incorporated wage and salary workers in offices of other health practitioners. Other podiatrists were employed by hospitals and the Federal Government.
Job Zone 5 - Extensive preparation
Extensive skill, knowledge, and experience are needed for these occupations. Many require more than five years of experience. For example, surgeons must complete four years of medical school and up to an additional five to seven years of specialized medical training to do their job.
At a minimum, a bachelor's degree is required for these occupations. However, many also require a graduate school degree such as a Master's, Ph.D., M.D., or J.D. (law degree).
Employees may need some on-the-job training, but most of these occupations require that you already have the necessary skills, knowledge, work-related experience, and/or training.
Lawyers, instrumental musicians, physicists, counseling psychologists, and surgeons.
These occupations often involve coordinating, training, supervising or managing the activities of others. Very advanced communication and organization skills are required.
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For information on a career in podiatric medicine, contact:
- American Podiatric Medical Association, 9312 Old Georgetown Rd., Bethesda, MD 20814-1621. Internet: http://www.apma.org
Information on colleges of podiatric medicine and their entrance requirements, curricula, and student financial aid is available from:
- American Association of Colleges of Podiatric Medicine, 15850 Crabbs Branch Way, Suite 320, Rockville, MD 20855. Internet: http://www.aacpm.org
Sources: O*Net data version 12.0
Occupational Outlook Handbook
Department of Labor
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