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What they do:

A Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) specializes in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of foot disorders, diseases and injuries. Podiatrists can work in areas such as surgery, pediatrics, sports medicine, biomechanics, and trauma. A DPM might:

  • Perform or order necessary diagnostic tests.

  • Perform surgery.

  • Administer medications.

  • Prescribe physical therapy regimens.

DPMs are educated in techniques involving surgery, orthopedics, dermatology, physical medicine and rehabilitation. DPMs often detect various health problems that may have otherwise gone unnoticed because of the many diseases that show themselves first through symptoms involving the lower extremities, such as diabetes, arthritis, heart disease and kidney disease.


  • Bachelor’s degree (4 years)

  • Attend a four-year podiatry-specific medical school to earn a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM)

  • Complete a hospital-based residency program (3 years)

What they make:

The median wage for a podiatrist in 2015 was $119,340 per year or $57.37 per hour.

Where they work:

  • Private practices, either solo or as part of a group

  • Hospitals

  • Long-term care facilities

  • Academic institutions

  • U.S. Public Health Service

  • Armed forces

  • Foot clinics

Podiatrists can work anywhere from 30-60 hours per week. Those in private practice can set their own hours. The practice of this area of medicine does allow for more flexible hours compared to other medical specialties.


Employment of podiatrists is projected to grow 14% from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations. Continued growth in the demand for medical and surgical care of the foot and ankle will stem from the aging population. Podiatrists will also be needed to treat patients with foot and ankle conditions caused by chronic conditions, such as diabetes and obesity.



Updated February 2017