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Become A Foot Specialist

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Working As A Foot Specialist

  • Assisting and Caring for Others
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Getting Information
  • Processing Information
  • Unpleasant/Hazardous Environment

  • Make Decisions

  • $110,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Foot Specialist Do

Podiatrists provide medical and surgical care for people with foot, ankle, and lower leg problems. They diagnose illnesses, treat injuries, and perform surgery involving the lower extremities.

Duties

Podiatrists typically do the following:

  • Assess the condition of a patient’s feet, ankles, or lower legs by reviewing his or her medical history, listening to the patient’s concerns, and performing a physical examination
  • Diagnose foot, ankle, and lower leg problems through physical exams, x rays, medical laboratory tests, and other methods
  • Provide treatment for foot, ankle, and lower leg ailments, such as prescribing special shoe inserts (orthotics) to improve a patient’s mobility
  • Perform foot and ankle surgeries, such as removing bone spurs, fracture repairs, and correcting other foot and ankle deformities
  • Advise and instruct patients on foot and ankle care and on general wellness techniques
  • Prescribe medications
  • Coordinate patient care with other physicians
  • Refer patients to other physicians or specialists if they detect larger health problems, such as diabetes
  • Conduct research, read journals, and attend conferences to keep up with advances in podiatric medicine and surgery

Podiatrists treat a variety of foot and ankle ailments, including calluses, ingrown toenails, heel spurs, arthritis, congenital foot and ankle deformities, and arch problems. They also treat foot and leg problems associated with diabetes and other diseases. Some podiatrists spend most of their time performing advanced surgery, such as foot and ankle reconstruction. Others may choose a specialty such as sports medicine or pediatrics.

Podiatrists who own their practice may spend time on business-related activities, such as hiring employees and managing inventory.

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How To Become A Foot Specialist

Podiatrists must earn a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) degree and complete a 3-year residency program. Every state requires podiatrists to be licensed.

Education

Podiatrists must have a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) degree from an accredited college of podiatric medicine. A DPM degree program takes 4 years to complete. In 2014, there were 9 colleges of podiatric medicine accredited by the Council on Podiatric Medical Education.

Admission to podiatric medicine programs requires at least 3 years of undergraduate education, including specific courses in laboratory sciences such as biology, chemistry, and physics, as well as general coursework in subjects such as English. In practice, nearly all prospective podiatrists earn a bachelor’s degree before attending a college of podiatric medicine. Admission to DPM programs usually requires taking the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT).

Courses for a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine degree are similar to those for other medical degrees. They include anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, and pathology among other subjects. During their last 2 years, podiatric medical students gain supervised experience by completing clinical rotations.

Training

After earning a DPM, podiatrists must apply to and complete a 3-year podiatric medical and surgical residency (PMSR) program. Residency programs take place in hospitals and provide both medical and surgical experience. They may do additional training in specific fellowship areas, such as sports medicine or pediatrics.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Podiatrists in every state must be licensed. Podiatrists must pay a fee and pass the American Podiatric Medical Licensing Exam (APMLE), offered by the National Board of Podiatric Medical Examiners. Some states also require podiatrists to take a state-specific exam.

Many podiatrists choose to become board certified. Certification generally requires a combination of work experience and passing an exam from the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery, the American Board of Podiatric Medicine, or the American Board of Multiple Specialties in Podiatry.

Important Qualities

Compassion. Since podiatrists provide care for patients who may be in pain, they must be able to treat patients with compassion and understanding.

Critical-thinking skills. Podiatrists must have a sharp, analytical mind to correctly diagnose a patient and determine the best course of treatment.

Detail oriented. To provide safe, effective healthcare, a podiatrist should be detail oriented. For example, a podiatrist must pay attention to a patient’s medical history as well as current conditions when diagnosing a problem.

Interpersonal skills. Because podiatrists spend much of their time interacting with patients, they should be able to listen well and communicate effectively. For example, they should be able to tell a patient who is slated to undergo surgery what to expect and calm his or her fears.

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Foot Specialist Typical Career Paths

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Average Length of Employment
Podiatrist 5.8 years
Dermatologist 3.6 years
Family Practice MD 3.2 years
Doctor Assistant 2.7 years
Specialist 2.6 years
Heart Specialist 2.0 years
Foot Specialist 2.0 years
Foot Doctor 1.5 years
Top Careers Before Foot Specialist
Cashier 7.1%
Server 3.5%
Manager 3.5%
Volunteer 3.0%
Supervisor 3.0%
Internship 3.0%
Top Careers After Foot Specialist
Cashier 8.5%
Volunteer 3.5%

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Top Skills for A Foot Specialist

  1. Patient Care
  2. Insurance Companies
  3. Scheduling Appointments
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Evaluate patient care procedural changes for effectiveness.
  • Interacted with insurance companies on coverage and procedure approvals.
  • Provide excellent customer service including problem solving, timely follow up, assisting in answering phones and scheduling appointments.
  • Assembled medical records and built medical files, staff, billing, dispute resolution, and general office management.
  • Assisted the doctor with procedures, room patients, ordered supplies for the office, stocked and cleaned exam rooms.

Foot Specialist Demographics

Gender

Female

73.8%

Male

13.3%

Unknown

12.9%
Ethnicity

White

58.7%

Hispanic or Latino

19.7%

Black or African American

12.4%

Asian

6.8%

Unknown

2.4%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

66.7%

Albanian

16.7%

Vietnamese

16.7%

Foot Specialist Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

17.0%

Everest Institute

9.4%

Arizona State University

5.7%

Ross Medical Education Center

5.7%

Branford Hall Career Institute - Branford Campus

5.7%

Florida Career College - Miami

5.7%

Clover Park Technical College

3.8%

South University

3.8%

Ultimate Medical Academy - Clearwater

3.8%

Medical Career Institute

3.8%

Clayton State University

3.8%

Pioneer Pacific College

3.8%

Victoria College

3.8%

Remington College

3.8%

Anne Arundel Community College

3.8%

Detroit Business Institute - Downriver

3.8%

Kaplan College - Columbus

3.8%

Sanford-Brown Institute - Landover

3.8%

Hillsborough Community College

3.8%

Miami Valley Career Technology Center

1.9%
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Majors

Medical Assisting Services

33.0%

Health Care Administration

12.8%

Nursing

10.6%

Criminal Justice

4.5%

Medical Technician

3.9%

Psychology

3.4%

Biology

3.4%

General Studies

3.4%

Nursing Assistants

2.8%

Business

2.8%

Insurance

2.8%

Liberal Arts

2.8%

Management

2.2%

Podiatric Medicine

2.2%

Sociology

1.7%

Cosmetology

1.7%

Communication

1.7%

Legal Support Services

1.7%

Accounting

1.7%

Information Sciences

1.1%
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Degrees

Other

36.8%

Bachelors

20.1%

Associate

15.5%

Diploma

10.9%

Certificate

8.8%

Masters

4.6%

Doctorate

2.5%

License

0.8%
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