What is a Podiatrist

A podiatrist is a physician who specializes in medical care to the foot, ankle, and lower leg of a patient. They aid in treating injuries and illnesses, as well as perform surgery, on the lower extremities. This treatment may include sports-related injuries, injuries and illnesses in youth and geriatric patients, and among diabetic patients. For more on job duties, please visit our podiatrist job description page.

Work Environment

Most podiatrists tend to work in offices specifically devoted to podiatry; these are either private practices, or group practices with other podiatrists. Others work in group practices with other physicians, benefiting from the multi-disciplinary nature such a practice will create, while others still work in private or public hospitals, or in outpatient care centers. They may also be employed by universities and the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.

They often alternate between standing to conduct examinations and treatments on patients, and sitting in order to fill in required paperwork and for consultations. Generally, all their work will be done in clean, comfortable, well-lit areas.

Work Schedule

Podiatrists tend to work regular office hours. However, with the ability to set their own office hours that most possess (working privately), they can change or extend these in to the evenings or weekends, for the convenience of their patients. Ultimately, for most podiatrists, the work schedule is self-determined, though those working in hospitals or group clinics may require more regular business hours.

Mean Annual Podiatrist Salary

The average annual podiatrist salary is $132,470. The mean salary is calculated by adding all the wages within the occupation and divid that value by the total number of employees. Lowest 10% of this occupation makes less than $52,530 and the top 10% makes over $220,000.

Podiatrist Salary: Quick Summary

2012 Mean Salary$132,470 per year
$63.69 per hour
Top 10% Salary$220,000 per year
$105.77 per hour
Bottom 10% Salary$52,530 per year
$25.25 per hour
Number of Jobs, 20129,090

Podiatrist Job Outlook and Prospects

The job outlook for podiatrists is quite promising; there is an expected 23 percent job growth from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average of all occupations. This growth is caused by numerous factors.

  1. Aging population leads to increase in mobility issues
  2. Increase in sports injuries as the population continues to pursue physical exercise.
  3. Increase in the utilization of outpatient surgical centers. These centers are cost effective for insurance companies and provide the optimal environment for podiatry procedures.
  4. As older podiatrists retire, there will be more openings for new podiatrists to fill. Given the limited number of accredited podiatry colleges, this creates a demand that is greater than the supply.
  5. Increases in diabetes and limb loss (caused primarily by aging), as well as the continued obesity epidemic, will lead to further needs for foot and ankle surgical and medical care.

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What Affects The Podiatrist Salary

The mean annual podiatrist salary is $132,470. However, this number has a rather wide variance, ranging from just $52,530 in the lowest 10 percent, to $187,200 in the highest ten percent. These wages are determined by a number of factors, including specialization and position.

Experience, however, is one of the primary factors affecting podiatrist salary. On top of this, geographic location can see wide variances, as can the industry worked. Podiatrist salary in general seems to be in a state of flux, and making the appropriate decisions can result in large gains.

Education and Specialization 

Podiatrists must earn a doctorate in podiatric medicine, or DPM, degree, as well as complete a 3-year residency. Where this residency takes place (ie the prestige of the hospital) will affect later salary. As well, particular focuses of the residency are important, as they can lead to specializations within the field.

Specialization is an important factor for salary gains. There are many areas to consider for specialization; while one can be a general podiatric physician and cover a broad range of maladies, focuses in areas such as reconstructive foot and ankle surgery, sports medicine, gerontological podiatry, or forensic podiatry can all lead to changes in salary earnings; this will relate, as well, to the industry worked (a forensic podiatrist, for example, is less likely to work in a hospital).

Experience and Position 

Experience is a matter for consideration; among the lowest-paid podiatrists are those newest to the profession, as they are only just beginning to work in the field. The more they work, and the more experience they have with various aspects of the branch of medicine, the higher their pay. Within 5 years, their pay will quickly rise above the $100,000 mark.

Position is a potential area for consideration, though this is dependent on the industry worked. In a hospital, one can head a department. Working as a forensic podiatrist for law enforcement, however, will make one the sole member (or one of a very few) in their field.


The industry worked offers large differences in podiatrist salary; working for the Federal Executive Branch brings a mean wage of $103,620, whereas working in the offices of physicians (ie in a private practice) can bring a salary of $157,590, the highest average. Outpatient care centers follow this, at $142,620, and in third position are the offices of other health practitioners, at $131,980.


Similarly, location brings a large difference in average podiatrist salary, ranging from $102,350 in New Mexico to $186,940 in New Hampshire. Colorado is the only state with similar wages to New Hampshire’s, at $182,140; Maine holds the third place, with $167,070.

Looking, however, at metropolitan areas, the best salary to be earned is in Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Florida, where the average is $210,290.

Podiatrist Salary: Top 5

Top Paying Metropolitan AreasTop Paying StatesTop Paying IndustriesStates with Highest Employment Level
Cape Coral, FL: $210,490New Hampshire: $186,940Offices of Physicians: $157,590New York: (1000 jobs) $122,900
Virginia Beach, VA: $201,830Colorado: $182,140Outpatient Care Centers: $142,620Ohio: (730 jobs) $124,260
West Palm Beach, FL: $197,500Maine: $167,070Offices of Other Health Care Practitioners: $131,980California: (660 jobs) $110,260
Bethesda, MD: $184,610Indiana: $166,500General Medical and Surgical Hospitals: $121,170Florida: (570 jobs) $148,480
Indianapolis, IN: $180,360Minnesota: $163,880Federal Executive Branch: $103,620Illinois: (550 jobs) $118,410

Podiatrist Salary State By State