Career in Podiatric Medicine.

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Career in Podiatric Medicine.

Postby indexvahana » Wed Apr 18, 2012 1:18 pm

Can anyone give me some info regarding a career as a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine - what are the job prospects and lifestyle ?

Thanks.
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Re: Career in Podiatric Medicine.

Postby OnFire » Wed Apr 18, 2012 3:07 pm

I went to podiatry school, at the Scholl College of Podiatry in Chicago, for one year in 1998. I decided it wasn't for me and left to pursue a career in emergency medicine, namely as a paramedic/firefighter. I still have a good friend from my time there who is a practicing podiatrist and foot surgeon who preformed surgery on MY foot about three years ago. There is about 100 people per class. If you do well, and get in the top half of your class, you are likely to get a surgical residency and are able to perform surgery. If you're in the lower half, you are out of luck and you can apply the following year and compete against the next class to try for a surgical residency. They last about 1-2 years and you train like a general surgeon, but specialize in podiatry, obviously. I fyou do not get a surgical residency, you do office visits and cut out callouses, warts, and corns, and fit patients for othotics and assess gaits, etc.

At the time, they told me the average podiatrist was making about $85K a year. If you assume you are a surgeon, I would bump that by about $25-50K a year. I was burnt out and didn't want to keep going at something I knew my heart wasn't in. Now bump that number with inflation for 15 years. It has a huge need, especially with the aging population, and especially in those states that recognize podiatry as a sub-specialty. If you like ortho, but want to be out practicing in 1-2 years, instead of 7-9, and don't mind working only on feet, it's a great career. If you are an adrenaline junky like me, you will be much happier as a firefighter/paramedic. I love my career and can hardly imagine doing anything else. I work about 90 days a year, make 6 figures, and have a pension that will pay me until I die. I also have huge career satisfaction, time to pursue other parallel careers, as well as time to spend raising my children.

The tuition then was $25K a year, I assume it's closer to $35K a year now. My advice to you, go walk into a podiatrists office. Tell them you are considering a career as a podiatrist. Ask if you can shadow them. I did this, and it went over great in entrance interviews. It also gives you a fabulous idea as to what you are going to be doing 40-60 hours a week for the next 30-50 years.

My wife is a dentist. I recommend the oral surgeon route. They make close to $250K-$350K a year and make there own schedule. Her best friend from dental school is doing that now and is RAKING in the cash.
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Re: Career in Podiatric Medicine.

Postby DFWinvestor » Fri Apr 20, 2012 5:37 pm

In order to become an oral surgeon you have a very long career path, if I'm not mistaken you must complete both medical school and dental school as well as a residency. It's a great field but a very long road.

I would have some concerns about the stigma of being a DPM as opposed to an MD or DO and establishing a referral base. I have no doubt podiatrists have a good set of skills and are good at what they do, but many MD's in my experience (I am one) refer mostly to other MD or DO surgeons rather than podiatrists. This may be specific to places where I have worked. I would do some research about this before I enrolled. Things to consider would be: Do podiatrists have issues getting privileges at hospitals? Do they get reimbursed similar to their MD or DO counterparts by CMS and insurance carriers?

I don't know the answers to these questions quite honestly but it's worth looking into. I can tell you we had one who worked at my facility and dropped his privileges after some kind of dispute about referrals. He was well liked and had a good reputation, I sent him patients on occasion. Otherwise we don't have any podiatrists on staff where I work, as far as I'm aware, and we have pretty much every specialty available.

I would also have some concerns about only half the students getting a residency spot, if the post above is indeed accurate. That is a huge deal, and could really impact your career long term if you aren't able to do cases in the operating room.

See if you can find a podiatry specific message board (I'm sure there is one out there) where you might be able to get some more specifics, even if you are just lurking. Search for any online publications you can find that might discuss the field in some depth. And I would second the idea of shadowing a podiatrist, if you find one who is open to having you shadow it would be a very valuable experience.
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Re: Career in Podiatric Medicine.

Postby Ozonewanderer » Sat Apr 21, 2012 7:54 pm

OnFire wrote: My advice to you, go walk into a podiatrists office. Tell them you are considering a career as a podiatrist. Ask if you can shadow them. I did this, and it went over great in entrance interviews. It also gives you a fabulous idea as to what you are going to be doing 40-60 hours a week for the next 30-50 years.

An excellent idea for researching any new pursuit! Brilliant!
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Re: Career in Podiatric Medicine.

Postby gnosis » Sat Apr 21, 2012 8:38 pm

Shadow only younger podiatrists (30s, 40s) because the field has changed a whole lot, and is continuing to change dramatically. Just one example is that since about 10 years ago, all podiatric residency programs now are required to be surgical residencies, and they all must be at least 2 years in length. Much more surgical training nowadays, and much more variety in the procedures performed.
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Re: Career in Podiatric Medicine.

Postby Jerilynn » Tue May 01, 2012 12:10 am

DFWinvestor wrote:In order to become an oral surgeon you have a very long career path, if I'm not mistaken you must complete both medical school and dental school as well as a residency. It's a great field but a very long road.



Typically, it's dental school followed by Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Residency that is 4 years (usually).

You don't have to go to med school.
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Re: Career in Podiatric Medicine.

Postby imagardener » Tue May 01, 2012 9:01 am

Bureau of Labor Statistics gives outlook for all professions at http://www.bls.gov/emp/ep_table_103.htm
I put "podiatrists" in the search box on the left but had to wade through to find where that job was listed. The number to the right of the job is it's classification #.
There is also a file (XLS) you can download and look at many statistics for 2010-2020 job projections
You paid for this service with your taxes might as well use it :-)

Podiatrists 29-1081 Offices of all other health practitioners
621390A moderate decrease is expected as a lack of insurance coverage for podiatric services leads to reduced need for podiatrists relative to other health professionals.

Podiatrists 29-1081 Offices of physicians
621100 A moderate decrease is expected as a lack of insurance coverage for podiatric services leads to reduced need


If you believe the projections I'd say the job outlook for podiatrists looks hazy. But I didn't choose my career based on statistics.
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Re: Career in Podiatric Medicine.

Postby EmergDoc » Wed May 02, 2012 10:13 am

1) Invest you must 2) Time is your friend 3) Impulse is your enemy | 4) Basic arithmetic works 5) Stick to simplicity 6) Stay the course
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