Podiatrists specialise in foot health and hold a doctor of podiatric medicine (DPM) degree. Although this is not a medical doctor degree, podiatrists complete rigorous medical training and are allowed to do surgery. Podiatrists perform surgery in clinics, hospitals and mobile surgical centres. These doctors have high earnings, reports the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
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Podiatrists perform minor surgery, such as for ingrown toenails, and more complicated surgery for problems such as severe bunions and heel spurs. Podiatrists set fractures and prescribe shoe inserts, known as orthotics, for arch problems. They also design other corrective devices such as plaster casts and custom shoes. In addition, podiatrists can prescribe medication, which may be necessary for conditions such as warts and athlete's foot.
Salary by Experience
All states require podiatrists to be licensed. Aspiring podiatrists must complete three to four years of undergraduate education and a four-year program from a college of podiatric medicine. Undergraduate students often follow a premedical track emphasising biology and chemistry. Most graduates of podiatric programs complete a hospital residency program lasting two to four years, advises the BLS. This provides more intensive training in podiatric medicine and surgery. Licensing also requires passing state and national exams. PayScale's salary survey shows a wide median range for podiatrist starting salaries as of December 2010, from about £20,410 to £65,845. The median range for those with one to four years of experience is about £50,050 to £83,200; and £59,800 to £97,500 with five to nine years experience.
Average salary for podiatrists as of May 2009 was about £40 per hour or £85,605 per year, according to the BLS. The median salary, or the salary at which 50 per cent earn more and 50 per cent earn less, was £75,562. The bottom 25 per cent of podiatrists on the earnings scale were making under £50,895.
The BLS expects job growth for podiatrists to increase through at least 2018. More foot injuries are likely with an ageing population, especially since these people are staying active longer. Podiatrists also build a larger client base because of an increasing number of patients with type 2 diabetes, a problem commonly connected with obesity. These people are susceptible to serious foot problems because of circulatory issues.
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