Should I Be a Podiatrist?: The Doctor Who Puts Patients Back on Their Feet

When one considers job titles in the medical field, the position of Podiatrist may not warrant as much immediate respect as, for example, a cardiologist or oncologist. People may even make occasional jokes about 'foot doctors,' minimizing the importance of what is—in truth—a vital field of medicine.

A podiatrist, after all, is a doctor who literally puts patients back on their feet; fixing any problems that might hinder their mobility, thus affecting their overall health. If a person does not have freedom of movement, he or she will find it very difficult to work, exercise, travel, or even maintain a normal, functioning lifestyle.

Whether a podiatrist tends and treats a strained or broken foot bone, diagnoses a potentially serious circulation problem or foot disease, or just removes a troublesome corn or ingrown toenail, he/she is making a vital difference in the life of a patient. Like any other physician, a podiatrist takes X-rays and performs surgeries as well as procedures, and treats everything from diseases to deformities, abnormalities to chronic conditions. And they make good money in the process; on average, a podiatrist can earn up to $115,000 per year.

And like any other medical profession, you have to study and prepare to become a podiatrist. Podiatrists must be licensed, completing three to four years of undergraduate education (studying everything from biology to chemistry to physics) as well as a collegiate podiatric program and extensive internships and residencies. They must pass state and national examinations, and once certified must work long hours; being available to patients whenever needed.

Furthermore, while the job title of foot doctor may sound simple or even boring, the fact is that podiatrists lead very diverse careers. Indeed, the occupational classification of podiatrist comes complete a broad range of specialties, everything from primary care to dermatology, surgery to radiology. A podiatrist could work with children or high-profile athletes, older people or diabetes patients.

Also diverse are the locations and work environments in which podiatrists ply their trades. Every city and community, be it large or small, has a great need for foot doctors. A podiatrist could work in a hospital, in a medical center with a group of doctors, at a health clinic, or individually in a private practice. Podiatrists have busy but flexible schedules, plus numerous benefits that make their jobs worthwhile.

And like any other medical professional, podiatrists get the satisfaction of knowing that they make a difference in the lives of their patients. Although they may assume varied specialties and work with different parts of the body, all physicians hold the vital responsibility of making people healthy—and keeping them that way. Regardless of their specialty or specific area of interest, doctors save and preserve lives.

If you have a strong interest in putting patients back on their feet, then a career as a foot doctor may be ideal for you. Check out the field of podiatry today!

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  • Podiatrists
    Salary: $113,560
    Job Prospects: B
    Education After HS: 9 years
    # Employed: 9,670
    Part Time: 8%

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