Employment is expected to increase
about as fast as average. Job
prospects should be good.
Employment change. 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
Job prospects. 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.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor,
Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition
Find related resources below:
Podiatrist Job Outlook