The Bureau of La­bor Sta­tis­tics re­ports that by 2024, po­di­a­try jobs are on track to grow 14 per­cent from 2014, re­sult­ing in 1,400 new jobs.

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de­for­mi­ties like club­foot all the way up to peo­ple to­wards the end of their life who need help tak­ing care of their feet,” Tower says.

On a given day, a po­di­a­trist might pre­scribe or­thotic shoes for di­a­betic pa­tients, treat in­juries from sports or ac­tiv­i­ties or even do some­thing as sim­ple as trim toe­nails. Af­ter com­plet­ing an un­der­grad­u­ate de­gree, prospec­tive po­di­a­trists should be­gin by ap­ply­ing to any of the nine fouryear po­di­atric med­i­cal schools in the coun­try, says Tower.

Once they’ve earned their doc­tor of po­di­atric medicine (DPM) de­gree, the next step is to com­plete a res­i­den­cy­train­ing pro­gram.

“Th­ese are typ­i­cally three years long, and teach stu­dents how to do any kind of sur­gi­cal pro­ce­dure that you could ever imagine need­ing to do on some­body’s foot, an­kle or lower leg,” Tower says.

Train­ing doesn’t end there. Many stu­dents go on to com­plete oneyear fel­low­ships in a spe­cial­ized field. “Maybe they’re in­ter­ested in sports medicine, and go work in an area where for that year they’re see­ing only ath­letic in­juries,” says Tower. “There are op­por­tu­ni­ties in trauma, re­con­struc­tion, di­a­betic limb sal­vage, any sub­spe­cialty within po­di­a­try that you could prob­a­bly en­vi­sion— there is a fel­low­ship in that area.” The me­dian an­nual salary for a po­di­a­trist is $144,110 ac­cord­ing to the Bureau of La­bor Sta­tis­tics. The best-paid earned $182,420 in 2016 while the low­est-paid made $48,830. The need for po­di­a­trists is ex­pected to in­crease as baby boomers age, says Tower. “With that in­crease in age comes an in­crease in things like di­a­betes, heart disease and vas­cu­lar disease,” she says. “Things of that na­ture all have an ef­fect on the feet and legs, which makes po­di­a­trists’ role in the health-care sys­tem very im­por­tant.”

The Bureau of La­bor Sta­tis­tics re­ports that by 2024, po­di­a­try jobs are on track to grow 14 per­cent from 2014, re­sult­ing in 1,400 new jobs.

One of the great things about this pro­fes­sion is the variety of pa­tients and con­di­tions you get to treat in a sin­gle day, says Tower. “You might see some­body for a skin prob­lem in the morn­ing, and later that evening be treat­ing an ath­lete with an overuse in­jury and think­ing about the biome­chan­ics be­hind their func­tion­ing and the struc­ture of their foot,” she says. “It’s re­ally nice to be able to use the breadth of in­for­ma­tion that we learn through­out our ca­reers all at the same time.”

There’s also the sat­is­fac­tion that comes with be­ing able to al­le­vi­ate pa­tients’ pain. Whether they re­ceive an im­me­di­ate in­jec­tion or leave the of­fice with an in­sert, “know­ing that I was able to do some­thing to make them feel bet­ter is al­ways ex­tremely grat­i­fy­ing,” she says.

Prospec­tive po­di­a­trists should con­sider the high cost of ed­u­ca­tion, says Tower.

And while tak­ing out loans to pay for med­i­cal school isn’t al­ways ideal, be­ing able to take care of pa­tients and see the ap­pre­ci­a­tion they show in re­turn certainly is, she says. In the end, Tower says, “it’s worth go­ing through the process to be able to be part of such a great pro­fes­sion.”

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