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At a Glance

  • Treat a variety of foot problems
  • Most have a solo practice
  • Constantly interact with patients
  • Sometimes wear safety gear, such as gloves and masks
  • May work more than 40 hours per week
  • Training lasts about seven to nine years after high school
  • Have a license

Career summary

Podiatrists diagnose and treat disorders and injuries of the foot and lower leg.

Podiatrists treat foot problems that can make walking painful or create other problems in the body. For example, they treat:

Podiatrists ask patients questions to learn about the problems they are experiencing and to learn about their medical history. They examine patients and, if necessary, order x-rays to diagnose a broken bone or lab tests to test for other serious conditions such as diabetes or heart disease.

Podiatrists explain test results and review treatment options with patients and their families. If more than one treatment is available, they help patients decide which option to choose.

Podiatrists use a variety of methods of treatment, including:

Podiatrists consult with and refer patients to other health care providers when they see symptoms of these disorders such as heart disease or diabetes.

Podiatrists share similar tasks with other types of physicians, they:

Some podiatrists specialize in surgery, orthopedics (treatment of bones and joints), primary care, or public health. They can also specialize in sports medicine, geriatrics (treatment of older people), or diabetic foot care.

Related careers

This career is part of the Health Science cluster of careers.

Related careers include:

Military careers

Job duties

Task list

The following list of tasks is specific to podiatrists.

Common work activities

Podiatrists perform the following tasks. These tasks are common to many careers.

Work requirements

Working conditions

In a typical work setting, podiatrists:

Interpersonal relationships

Physical work conditions

Work performance


Physical demands

Podiatrists frequently:

It is important for podiatrists to be able to:

It is not as important, but still necessary, for podiatrists to be able to:

Skills and abilities

Podiatrists need to:


Reason and problem solve

Use math and science

Manage oneself, people, time, and things

Work with people

Perceive and visualize

Education and training

Educational programs

The programs of study listed below will help you prepare for the occupation or career cluster you are exploring.

Programs of study directly related to this occupation

Other programs of study to consider


To work as a podiatrist, you typically need to:

Education after high school

Podiatry programs take four years to complete. They grant a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) degree. In these programs you study basic science, anatomy, and pharmacology. You also learn to take a podiatric history and perform physical exams. During the final two years of the program you work in clinics and get experience working with patients. An experienced podiatrist supervises your work.

You need at least two years of college courses before entering a podiatry program. A pre-medicine or science major is good preparation. If you study a liberal arts major, be sure to take courses in physics, biology, and chemistry. Most podiatric students have at least a bachelor's degree.

On-the-job training

Most graduates complete a hospital residency program that lasts one to three years. Residents learn about surgery, internal medicine, and radiology.

Military training

The military provides advanced training for podiatrists. However, it does not provide the initial training to become a doctor. Scholarships for advanced medical training are available in return for a required period of military service.

Helpful high school courses

In high school, take classes that prepare you for college. A college preparatory curriculum (external link) may be different from your state's graduation requirements (external link). Podiatrists need a strong background in math and science. If possible, take math through Trigonometry and science through Physics.

You should also consider taking some advanced courses in high school. This includes Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses if they are available in your school. If you do well in these courses, you may receive college credit for them. Advanced courses can also strengthen your college application.

Helpful electives to take in high school that prepare you for this career include:

The courses listed above are meant to help you create your high school plan. If you have not already done so, talk to a school counselor or parent about the courses you are considering taking.

You should also check with a teacher or counselor to see if work-based learning opportunities are available in your school and community. These might include field trips, job shadowing, internships, and actual work experience. The goal of these activities is to help you connect your school experiences with real-life work.

Join some groups, try some hobbies, or volunteer with an organization that interests you. By participating in activities you can have fun, make new friends, and learn about yourself. Maybe one of them will help direct you to a future career. Here are examples of activities and groups (PDF file) that may be available in your high school or community.

Things to know

Podiatrists must have scientific aptitude and manual dexterity. Employers look for applicants who have good interpersonal skills and good business sense. Many managed care providers are more likely to reimburse for treatment by a board-certified podiatrist. Thus, some employers may seek podiatrists with board-certified specialties.

Many podiatrists start their own private practice and never seek employment with employers. These podiatrists must be able to attract patients to their practice. Good interpersonal skills are essential.

Costs to workers

Most post-graduates have substantial educational loan obligations. Starting up a private practice is expensive. Podiatrists who join professional associations must pay membership fees and annual dues.


Podiatrists must be licensed by the Washington State Podiatric Medical Board. To become licensed, podiatrists must:

Podiatrists must pay state application, state and national examination, and annual renewal fees.

For more information, contact:

Washington State Department of Health
Health Systems Quality Assurance
Podiatric Medical Board (external link)

PO Box 47877
Olympia, WA 98504



Job listings

Listed below are links to job categories from the National Labor Exchange that relate to this career. Once you get a list of jobs, you can view information about individual jobs and find out how to apply. If your job search finds too many openings, or if you wish to search for jobs outside of Washington, you will need to refine your search.

To get a listing of current jobs from the WorkSource system, go to the WorkSource website (external link).


Podiatrists (SOC 29-1081)

Pay Period
Washington Hourly $22.68 $28.88 $52.56 $88.31 (1)
Monthly $3,930 $5,005 $9,109 $15,304 (1)
Yearly $47,170 $60,080 $109,320 $183,690 (1)
    Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue Hourly $22.47 $25.93 $47.67 $83.46 (2)
Monthly $3,894 $4,494 $8,261 $14,464 (2)
Yearly $46,742 $53,943 $99,149 $173,587 (2)
    Vancouver Hourly $22.19 $33.76 $43.98 $69.31 $82.79
Monthly $3,846 $5,851 $7,622 $12,011 $14,348
Yearly $46,163 $70,226 $91,476 $144,155 $172,203
United States Hourly $25.03 $42.30 $62.28 $87.83 (1)
Monthly $4,338 $7,331 $10,793 $15,221 (1)
Yearly $52,060 $87,980 $129,550 $182,690 (1)

(1) Wages are greater than $90/hour or $187,200/year.
(2) Wage estimate is not available.

Wages for podiatrists vary widely in different parts of the country.

Full-time podiatrists who are not self-employed generally receive benefits such as paid vacation, sick leave, and health insurance. 

Employment and outlook

Washington outlook

The table below provides information about the number of workers in this career in various regions. It also provides information about the expected growth rate and future job openings.

Podiatrists (SOC 29-1081)

Location Current employment Growth over 10 years Annual openings
Washington 157 26.1% 16.1% 17
    Clark, Cowlitz, and Wahkiakum Counties 22 31.8% 15.2% 3
    Island, San Juan, Skagit, and Whatcom Counties 10 20.0% 14.6% 1
    King County 64 25.0% 19.6% 6
    Pierce County 17 17.6% 15.2% 1
    Snohomish County 18 27.8% 12.4% 2
United States 10,500 6.7% 5.2% 700

National employment

Major employers:

National outlook

Demand for this occupation will be strong. As the elderly population grows, more people will turn to podiatrists for foot care. The increasingly active lifestyles of people of all ages will result in injuries that will spur the need for care by podiatrists. Demand will also increase because more people are diagnosed with diabetes. People with diabetes have circulatory problems that create the need for them to seek the aid of podiatrists.

Opportunities will be best for board-certified podiatrists, since many managed care providers require board certification. Job prospects are very good because there are very few schools of podiatry.

Other resources

American Association of Colleges of Podiatric Medicine (external link)
15850 Crabbs Branch Way, Suite 320
Rockville, MD 20855
American Medical Association (external link)
American Podiatric Medical Association (external link)
9312 Old Georgetown Road
Bethesda, MD 20814
American Society of Podiatric Medical Assistants (external link)
109 1st Street
Itasca, IL 60143-2114
California School of Podiatric Medicine (closest school to Washington state) (external link)
Samuel Merritt College Campus
3100 Telegraph Avenue
Oakland, CA 94609


Career cluster

Career path

O*Net (external link) occupation

O*Net job zone (external link)

DOT occupation

Holland occupational cluster