No announcement yet.

Is podiatry a wise career choice?

  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Is podiatry a wise career choice?

    Long story short:

    I am currently in the process of applying to medical schools and seeing how the process is a total crapshoot I am not overly optimistic. To begin it is a complete miracle I even have a college degree with my background. I grew up with a father who gambled the household money away and more. I ended up not completing high school and later got a GED at 20 etc etc. I enjoy reading WCIs blog because he seems like an overall good guy who remains humble and understands his good fortune

    I am currently in a lot of debt from degree number one. Sometimes I feel foolish for chasing a pipe dream because if I were to have simply picked up a hammer at 18 and started banging nails in the Boston pipe fitters union I would be making six-figures and be debt free. If I do not get into a medical school. I will likely need an additional year to reapply because of how my work obligations coincide with the application season. At that point I will be 28 with a 3 year old to provide for. I am fairly confident I will get into podiatry school as a back up. However, I get mixed reviews from my google searches about podiatrists reimbursement and future outlook. If anyone could give me some insight into how good of an investment 4 years of debt and a 3 year residency is for podiatry I would appreciate it.


  • #2
    One of the most financially successful that I ever met got a GED and worked as a carpenter to put himself through undergraduate school.  He became a lawyer and a stock broker.  As to podiatry the one anecdote that I know about is the podiatrist who had an office next to mine left her practice last Thanksgiving without notifying her staff or patients.  She had complained to the landlord that Medicare was not paying much. She simply left a note on the door.


    • #3
      It's to bad school isn't as affordable as it once was. A person who leaves their staff high and dry without employment sounds like a real winner. I am still wondering if someone has any insight who has worked with a podiatrist to know if I will just end up screwing myself again.


      • #4
        I'm a Podiatry resident. There are definitely pros and cons to the field, but I think you'll find that true in whatever you choose to pursue. Most of the attendings that I work with seem fulfilled in their practice and to enjoy the work that they do.

        From a financial perspective, you can expect ~200K in student loans to get through four years of Podiatry school. You'll make 50K/year for three years of residency. Salaries as a new attending vary, but anecdotally we've had recent graduates from my training program start for as little as 100K (with added bonus structure) as associates in smaller groups/private practice, and in the 200-300K range with hospitals and larger multi-specialty groups. The average starting salary for new attendings is around 120K. For Podiatrists several years or more into practice the average jumps to the 180-200K range.

        Private practice and smaller groups in all medical specialties seem to be destined to take a hit with the upcoming MACRA/MIPS changes, and I see this being especially hard on Podiatrists in these practice models. Some of the older attendings that we work with make upwards of 400K/year in private practice, but I pessimistically/realistically think this practice model will become somewhat of a dinosaur in the profession.

        It's definitely possible to make a good living as a Podiatrist, especially if you're able to keep your debt burden to a minimum. Feel free to private message me if you want more information on the field.

        All the best!


        • #5
          I know a few podiatrists who have opened their own surgery centers and do very well. So, yes, it is a very good living. They are making pro fees and facility fees. Also, a few have hospital privileges and operate in the main OR occasionally.


          • #6
            Our Podiatrist had a successful private practice and saw patients from various medical groups. I just did a Google search and see that she is now with a local hospital group.

            Our Allergist (sorry, that probably isn't the official term) had a private practice but then transferred to being under one of the hospital groups in town.  He still seemed happy enough, but again, haven't needed to see him for a few years.  I also searched him.  He is still practicing.

            Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary. -- Isaiah 40:31


            • #7
              Interesting!  I am gad to hear that this road has promise. I will say that starting a surgical center sounds like a very daunting task. I am sure through networking I could navigate the various obstacles. Thanks for the reply.


              • #8
                The only podiatrists I've worked with were attached to an orthopedic surgery residency and were basically surgeons just like the rest of them.  There is a 3-year residency for it.  Idk how they got paid compared to, say, an orthopedic surgeon who did foot & ankle.

                If you want to go to professional school for four years and work straight out...maybe consider being a dentist?  Or if you want to go to school for 2-3 years, make 6 figures straight out, and have people (mistakenly) call you "doctor" anyway, be a PA?


                • #9
                  I looked into PA a lot and the strange thing is I have the prerequisite courses complete for medical schools and podiatry schools but not PA schools. I would need to spend an additional year taking Anatomy/physiology along with microbiology. The big perk of PA school is it is less school, but in my case it would almost be as long as medical school, so why not tack on the residency and double my salary. In addition since PAs have to be supervised I could not scratch my entrepreneurial itch and open a practice, and not to mention the financial implications of being an employee. Nurse Practitioners may soon be able to practice completely independent in some states, but that too requires me to complete more coursework before entering NP school. I would need to enter a fast track Bachelors to RN program that is 18 months.


                  • #10
                    That's not completely true re: entrepreneurialism; my wife does 1099 work at UCCs owned and run by PAs.  You can be a businessman regardless of your degree.  Being an employee is not necessarily inferior to being the proprietor.  There are benefits and problems with both; it all depends on your goals and environment.

                    What kind of physician/surgeon would you want to be?  It might not even be a kind that often has its own private practice.  Though if you're considering podiatry, I'd have to assume you might be interested in orthopedic which case, better start studying!


                    • #11
                      Podiatry is a solid choice, especially if your chances of getting into medical school aren't that great.  If you really want medicine though, don't overlook osteopathic schools.  They're a little easier to get accepted to than allopathic medical schools, and in the end, there's little if any difference!



                      • #12
                        My two cents to add to the discussion:

                        If your "pipe dream" is to be a doctor/surgeon and don't get in the first time around, reapply after you do some clinical research, get a med tech gig or scribe job to bolster the experience side.  Maybe retake MCATs if your scores aren't good.  As was said, consider alternative schooling (DO, Caribbean), but understand that this might exclude you from an orthopaedic residency and/or foot & ankle fellowship.

                        If you want to be involved with medicine, but don't care if you are a doctor, PA school is a great bang for the buck, particularly when compared to primary care specialties.  (You could get 10X a PA salary depending on your residency/fellowship, but don't dismiss their income.  Particularly when you factor in the opportunity cost of school/training and the years of accumulating interest on your degree(s).)

                        If you want to be a podiatrist, go for it!

                        In any of those scenarios, I bet you would find it priceless to have some local mentors.  These can be tough to find when you are "non-traditional" but consider volunteering/shadowing programs to get contacts.


                        • #13
                          What is a UCC.  I am not aware of what kind of opportunity this is.


                          • #14
                            Solid advice.

                            I would say my application is perfect (solid GPA, awards, healthcare experience etc. ) besides being behind in the application cycle. By pure statistics I am at a disadvantage and I have not been able to properly able to study for the MCAT. I looked at my timeline and for me to have time to properly study would be two summers from now and then apply the next cycle. This is the case because of my current working family obligations.  I am seriously leaning towards applying to podiatry school along with my med school application so I can jump into a program and get started. My only fear is having four years lost income and debt followed by a low salary when I could stay teaching and be making 90K a year 7 years from now.


                            From what I gathered so far podiatrists do well for themselves and I won't regret my decision.


                            • #15
                              Do what you like/love. I didn't get into residency the first time....or second time. I couldn't imagine not doing what I do now. Lost 2-3 years of attending income and student interest capitalizations during those extra years. Would do it again.