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D.P.M. or go for the D.O.

Discussion in 'Pre-Podiatry Students' started by MindtheGlottis, Mar 3, 2012.

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  1. MindtheGlottis

    MindtheGlottis

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    Hey everyone,
    So I graduated college with a 3.4 (minus the first year it would be a 3.6) gpa and got a 27M mcat. I had my heart set on becoming a podiatrist and have lots of knowledge on the field, but I believe I can gain acceptance to an osteopathic school especially if I apply early. For me, I like the lifestyle of a pod and I would enjoy implementing the broad ranges of treatments from surgeries, dermatology, radiology, wound care, etc. I haven't really researched enough about DO and would like to get opinions from people here.

    Right now my plan is to apply to podiatry schools now since I have everything I need already and shadow a DO to gain a better understanding. If I really like it I'll just take an extra year off school.

    So what are your thoughts? If you could opt for a life as a DO would you do it? Any advantages you see other than a probable higher income and what most view as a more "prestigious" field?
  2. luckyfeet

    luckyfeet

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    You should really only apply to podiatry school if you have NO DOUBTS about it. If you are not so sure about podiatry and you end up doing it, just know this is something you are going to be putting A LOT of work into and as a career youll be doing it for the rest of your life. The reason I am going into Podiatry (hopefully, if I gain acceptance for fall of 2013), I love the variety of things you can do, as you mentioned, surgeries, dermatology, radiology, wound care, etc. The things with MD/DO, if you want to do surgery generally it IS VERY DIFFICULT to gain acceptance into a surgical residency, whereas, with Podiatry, all residencies have some sort of surgery involved.
  3. MindtheGlottis

    MindtheGlottis

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    It should go without saying that I truly like the field and I don't expect it to be a walk in the park by any means. I am fully prepared for that. I just started contemplating the benefits being an osteopathic doctor would have over a podiatrist. Thanks for your response though.
  4. unitix

    unitix

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    This is going to be your career/life. If you have any doubts, you owe it to yourself to take time and be sure.
  5. MindtheGlottis

    MindtheGlottis

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    Uh you're right. What a hard decision it's going to be!
  6. fivescrew

    fivescrew

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    My 2 cents: if you aren't absolutely sure you want to be a DPM then do one of two things: go for the DO or wait and think it out. Take a vaction, more classes etc. No rush for such a big decision.
  7. amaprez

    amaprez

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    The biggest thing about allo/osteo is that you have the option of choosing what specialty's residency you want to pursue. Few people will end up in the exact specialty they thought they would (unless they do well enough to be competitive for the one they want). If you want to do orthopedic surgery (which I suppose is the specialty that shares the most in common with podiatry) then you better be a rockstar in DO school and kill your boards because it's a very hard track to land, especially as a DO (vs an MD student). Obviously with podiatry you'll be locked in to podiatry and you can't change your mind midway if you want to be another type of doctor. You don't want to decide halfway through school that you really want to be an Internal Medicine doc or a Pediatrician. Best to get those doubts out of your system now.

    As far as osteopathy....lettuce be real: you will learn osteopathic manipulation methods (OMM) in your first two years of DO school, then you will most likely not use it again during residency and beyond. So in the long term, that difference is not really something to worry about.
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2012
  8. fivescrew

    fivescrew

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    There are doctors that use OMM in their daily practice of medicine. My wife's gynocologist has made a real name for himself around these parts for his use of it to help severe cramps and things like that which I've been made to understand is a growing trend with osteopaths. That's all second\third hand of course so not sure on the validity.
  9. amaprez

    amaprez

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    Yeah...exceptions and anecdotal stories aside....I promise you that an overwhelming majority are not like that. Almost all DO's take the USMLE's in addition to their COMLEX boards so they can apply for the more sought after allopathic residencies (where they won't be doing OMM).
  10. fivescrew

    fivescrew

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    You are right but still it's an important distinction between the two degrees that shouldn't be dismissed off hand as hurdle to get over and nothing more in my opinion.
  11. bobdolerson

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    Why did you want to be a DPM in the first place?

    Do you like feet or something? :)
  12. AttackNME

    AttackNME

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    A little part of me will always want the prestige of an MD or DO just for my ego's sake. My hobbies have always involved doing something with my hands, be it arts/crafts, or computer gaming, and I've shadowed around enough to know that I want to be using my hands in my profession. I chose podiatry for the security, knowing that I will be trained as a surgeon and foot care specialist which includes minor in-office procedures which also involves practicing with my hands.

    I feel you have your sights set on podiatry, but a part of you still seek prestige. I assure you, with everything else in life, hard work will bring you prestige. With podiatry, the sky is the limit.

    PhysioChick likes this.
  13. 347932

    347932

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    :thumbup::thumbup:

    I never took you for an artsie-fartsie:D.
  14. flyhi

    flyhi

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    I personally would not opt for DO over podiatry. I think podiatry is a diamond in the rough and what you see is what you get. I could see myself doing another specialty (OB/gyn), but there is no guarantee that you will match with what you want, especially if you are going for a more competitive specialty. And to end up in something that is not your first choice, would be weird for me.

    As far as the pay, I have not researched DO much, except to poke around on SDN, but I feel like podiatry the better income potential overall. This is especially true if most DO's end up in FP and the really lucrative specialties are very difficult for DO's to land. Prestige... again, I'm not sure outside of the academic bubble if the public would perceive a FP DO more prestigious than a DPM? Typically a 'surgeon' is seen as more prestigious in the public eye than a FP, which as we know a lot of DO's end up. I also have yet to meet someone who is not involved in medicine who really knows what a DO is compared to MD, yet most people seem familiar with or have been to a podiatrist.

    This is just my experience, but I have found it interesting the :confused: look I get when I mention DO. I've only done this when I've been asked 'why not MD?' and I've had to explain that I would not have gone MD anyways, but DO.....and then the educating begins.

    I think the biggest advantage of DO to podiatry is the fact that you do have options. With podiatry, there is no changing your specialty once you are in. Other than that, I think it's hard to compare because your lifestyle could be so different as a DO depending on what you end up doing.

    It sounds like you have a good grasp about podiatry, but there is that little DO bug in your ear that has put some doubt as to which would be best for you. You said you were going to shadow and even take a year off, if necessary, which says a lot about your commitment to make the right decision.
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2012
  15. AttackNME

    AttackNME

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    lol, the last line was borrowed from Dr Harkless during my interview with him at Western U. He's a very inspiring and positive man

  16. MindtheGlottis

    MindtheGlottis

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    Both of you hit the nail on the head on how I'm feeling about this decision. Seems like you both might have had similar contemplations before applying to schools. I'm starting to side with podiatry because I too don't like not knowing what specialty I will be practicing for a large portion of my life. To think of being in FM does not sound appealing to me. The prestige might be something to think about, but just because I can get into a DO school, doesn't make it the right decision.

    I really appreciate everyone's insights and I still plan on shadowing a DO to ensure I don't have something to regret for the rest of my life. I'll make a point to follow my gut and try to dismiss the doubts my brain keeps feeding me about prestige and the possible financial benefits that might accompany a DO career. I was never one to care for those things anyway, but damn my brain doesn't shut up!
  17. bobdolerson

    bobdolerson

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    In any field there will be prestige, and there will be people who think you're lesser than them. You can only do so much to change the views of other people.

    Take the best mechanic you can imagine; a beast of a technician that works on Ferrari's all day. He still might deal with douchebag millionaires on a daily basis that think he's gum on a shoe.

    This sort of thing isn't less prevalent in MD/DOs, I don't think...you can find threads throughout this forum about how one specialty is "less of a real MD" than others. (Everyone knows dermatologists are...ahem...lesser ;-))

    What's the solution? Find your own self worth and be a dominant force in whatever field you choose. It doesn't really matter what you end up doing with your life, the overall course is the same for everyone. You live, then you die. It's all about finding contentment in what you're doing, and for me a lot of that comes from being especially good at the things I work hardest in.

    Lebron James may be one of the best basketball players that's ever lived, but let's see what sort of MCAT score he gets.

    Find something you would enjoy doing, and do it. Other people be damned. As the great Jimi Hendrix once said, "I'm the one who's got to die when it's time for me to die, so let me live my life the way I want to."

    Caring too much about what other people think will cause problems, regardless of what field you choose. Best bet is to just be a kick ass "whatever".
  18. MindtheGlottis

    MindtheGlottis

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    You have a good point bobdolerson, albeit a bit dark. "You live, then you DIE!" Haha, but you are right. Sometimes I and probably other people forget to define our own self worth and let other people's opinion blur our values. I just feel podiatry garners more of that negative reaction, "ohh you want to work with feet?! Why!?!" compared to other medical fields. Then again, it's not a field for everybody and I'm glad it's not.

    Podiatry seems like a constant uphill battle to explain your choice to other people. Someone says I want to be an MD and gets congratulated. Same person wants to be a pod and gets questioned, why feet? You like feet or something, hehehe

    I'm not saying this is how every reaction is or that it's something I'll experience my whole medical career (I hope not when I actually become a dr), but it's the part of the reason I'm hesitating towards DO. Ultimately, I'll be happy if I can bring smiles and relief to many people throughout my life. Isn't that the point of life anyway?
  19. Ankle Breaker

    Ankle Breaker Senior Member

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    If you are hesistant about DPM, because you don't want to be questioned, then you might as well go DO. You will be questioned by others no matter how mainstream podiatry becomes. I'm simply a student but it happens to me on a regular basis. It never bothered me in the first place, since I do enjoy what I'm working towards but I'm NOT oblivious that it happens. I was working in the clinic last week and my patient was actually a graduate student in one of the other programs at my school. The first thing the patient says to me is "do you guys simply study the foot? Do you have to know what goes on in the rest of the body?" I explained our education and training and then carried on with my business.
  20. bobdolerson

    bobdolerson

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    It's easier to just tell people you have a foot fetish and bask in their awkwardness.

    I always wonder if OB/GYNs get the same kinds of questions...
    the-doc! likes this.
  21. josebiwasabi

    josebiwasabi NYCPM

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    i kind of wonder the same thing about proctologists lol
  22. MaxillofacialMN

    MaxillofacialMN Osteopathic Foot Dentist

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    Not Relevant to Thread: Everytime i see "MindTheGlottis" username out of the corner of my eye I see "GimlisonofGloin" and I get terribly spooked! Anyone else??! We need a good troll like him back for a while....
  23. Dharma

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    OP, how about a dropping a post in the pre-osteo forums? The fact that you came to DPM thread to ask this question without posting at all in the DO section says something about the answer you want to hear.

    Prestige? That comes from hard work. Prestige based on your title is superficial. Get over what other people think about this. (BTW the whole "the public doesn't know what a DO is" thing is so overblown, by premeds, basic-science yrs med students and non-MD/DO, and should not be a reason to avoid the pursuit of becoming a physician. If you don't want it enough, then this minor inconvenience will keep you from this path; same goes for the DPM path).

    And for any assumptions made regarding the income potential of a DO, your best bet is a quick search of average salaries in your general area of interest. (DO's do not all end up in FP; ~50% will end up in primary care, but this includes internal medicine as well. That said the average FP salary is ~180K in most places of the country, and FP is a speciality where loan forgiveness is general applicable. Oh and you can find a job just about anywhere in the US, so it's not exactly picking from the leftovers of the healthcare food chain. Take a trip on over to the FP forums and pick their brains with questions if you're interested).

    I agree with the above poster who mentioned how most students will change their mind about their field of interest. I would personally choose the path that allows exploration of the various fields and offered different options should my interests pull me in another direction. (Such a scenario is far from the exception).

    Lastly, to basically reiterate what I mentioned earlier, if you want information about the DO path you will find more accurate information from those on that path already. Go drop a thread in that realm if you want a DO take on the DO path. Whichever choice you make, make sure it's the one that is true for you. Best of luck.
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2012
  24. Dharma

    Dharma

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    Amen to that! Well said.
  25. 347932

    347932

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    Well...I'm not so sure about that.

    When starting out and as you progress in your chosen field, you HAVE to care about what others think about you, to a point. Sad, but true. You can be the best _____ in the world, but if you are arrogant about it and get that reputation, good luck finding work. It's a fine balance between being humble and portraying excellence without arrogance. Not so easy sometimes.
  26. Dharma

    Dharma

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    I believe bobdolerson said "caring too much about what other people think will cause problems." There was no mention of not caring at all. I think it goes without saying that balance is the goal...
  27. G0dFather

    G0dFather

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    become a DO it will be better for you
  28. MindtheGlottis

    MindtheGlottis

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    It seems I might have overemphasized my feelings regarding prestige and podiatry. These are things I think about, but it's not significant enough to deter me from the field or make me feel bad about my possible choice. I would hope these thoughts I have aren't unique to me. The idea of prestige has sparked some good conversations here that are making me reevaluate my definition of the word. Certainly it's helping me make a decision that is truly right for me by identifying outside influences that should be kept to a minimum.

    I'll continue to research osteopathic medicine because I don't know nearly enough as of today.

    And to G0dFather, why are you suggesting DO? You're actually a pod student so I'm curious to your reasoning.
  29. unitix

    unitix

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    I dont know if you shadowed because I refuse to read all the past posts due to laziness, but shadowing both a DO and DPM will give more insight than anyone's words here.
  30. fivescrew

    fivescrew

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    Pay attention to potential earnings while you research both.
  31. janV88

    janV88

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    Do you want to work with your hands?

    I think this is ultimately what it boils down to. The thought process, pathology, etc. between the two is pretty much the same. Remember...podiatry is ultimately a medical specialty. We practice medicine. The biggest factor, IMO, is how we treat patients. Because of the nature of Podiatry, being that it is the foot and ankle, we do a lot of hands on treatments. We do a lot of biomechanical modifications whether that means padding, orthoses, or surgery. We also do a lot of injections, sharp debridement, etc. ~90% of new complaints will be treated by doing something to the patient. In most other medical (non-surgical) specialties, this is not the case. But ultimately the thought process, the anatomy, the pathology, is gonna be comparable between DO and DPM.
  32. Madura

    Madura

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    The reality is a decent chunk of people who go to a podiatric medical school do so b/c they can't get into an MD or DO program. An equal, if not bigger, reality is that DOs go to osteopathic medical school b/c they can't get into an MD program. I say this is a bigger reality b/c the only things that seperate a DO from an MD is less prestige, a significantly decreased chance at specializing, higher tuition (all DO schools are private) and manipulation (OMM). I highly doubt there are that many people out there who are so interested in OMM that they would sacrifice said benefits to becoming an MD. So if you like podiatry, I would not recommend going DO when you still will have to answer the "why not MD" question your whole life, yet good luck giving a believable answer. At least with podiatry, you can explain it is it's own thing (similar to optometry or dentistry) yet fully integrated into general health care teams in every health care setting (a doctor, surgeon and specialist) with a physician's training of the whole body, which appealed to you. I had a 4.0 and 27 MCAT in undergrad, but I chose podiatry and am not looking back. Forget the whole prestige thing ... it is very subjective if you're not an MD. IMO a podiatric surgeon handling all the lower extremity surgeries in a well-respected orthopedic practice says "success" more than the dime-a-dozen DO family practioner.
    pinkplayer and Silent Cool like this.
  33. frankcfromny

    frankcfromny

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    Excellent post.
  34. 347932

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    So if you don't end up in an well respected orthopedic practice, you won't consider yourself successful? Interesting definition.

    One thing to remember is that every branch of medicine is important. That's my feeling at least. Dime a dozen or not. I worked with a DO Vascular Surgeon who was beyond brilliant. I don't think it mattered to him that he was a DO.
  35. Madura

    Madura

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    That isn't my point. My point is that status, especially when comparing DPM to DO, is all subjective and relative, so don't dwell on it to the point that you base your career on it. The vascular surgeon you speak of has my upmost respect, especially being that he beat the odds and landed in a specialty field as a DO. I'm not knocking DOs (my FP is one) but just having DO behind the name doesn't automatically make you more respected than a DPM in my mind. You are judged by your performance.

    And no, working in an orthopedic group isn't the only way to judge success in podiatry either. Success is also subjective and personal, but said positions are the most competitive in podiatry at the moment so I used that as an example. And while all of podiatry is important, we cannot deny that surgery is the main appeal for people getting into the profession right now.

    MindYourGlottis, you want respect? Imagine the face of the worried mother before you take her child to surgery for an achilles reconstruction. Then imagine the relief in her eyes when you walk back out and say the operation went well and her child is in recovery. Do you think that mother cares that you could have gotten into a DO school because your MCAT was slightly higher than the DPM average but still below that of an MD? No, but she will be forever grateful that you trained hard in the path you chose and helped her child walk again. Of course every area of medicine is important (good point KidsFeet), but I can't imagine getting that kind of reaction out of a mother bringing her child to me for a tetanus shot.
    pinkplayer likes this.
  36. unitix

    unitix

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    The amount of energy going into distinguishing titles is ridiculous and wasteful. Aren't we all in it to HELP people?
    MerickManual likes this.
  37. Hockeyfan23

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    I do agree that the end the letters after your name don't matter, it's what you do with them. However like the OP i am also struggling with DPM vs DO. I have done my research via google so I am not trying to ask annoying questions. I just wanted a little insight. The other day I talked to my friend who is currently in DO school. I was telling him what I think my options are (DO vs DPM vs SMP). I told him how I really want to get into ortho surgery and I would probably have a better chance getting into that type of surgery by going DPM. He agreed with me. However the one thing he told me is that he went into DO school wanting ortho surgery and now he wants neuro surgery. He said the one thing about pod school is that it cuts out ur options and you wont be able to changeur specialty half way through. My question I guess is, for those of you who decided on getting the DPM over DO/MD, how did you know you wouldn't change your mind once u were in pod school?
  38. FiveOVicryl

    FiveOVicryl

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    Shadowed multiple specialties to figure out what I wanted. No regrets here.
  39. kcw5x8

    kcw5x8

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    it ALL depends on the type of lifestyle you want to live and what you want out of a career as a practitioner.
  40. bunion123

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    I have spoken to 6 DPMs, 5 in the New York City area and one in Northern Jersey. Some more successful than others. They all told me podiatry is a great profession but their advice to me was to go the MD/DO route if I can. Their reasoning being along the lines of having more options and easier time obtaining hospital privileges.

    Just food for thought
  41. Ferocity

    Ferocity

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    Sounds like some people don't want competition.
  42. MaxillofacialMN

    MaxillofacialMN Osteopathic Foot Dentist

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    But... what if podiatry is what you want to do? Who needs options when you've already found the perfect career!
  43. the-doc!

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    so everybody here is making it seem like if someone becomes an "MD" they are automatically destined to be rich! and "cool"!!?? it doesn't matter what you become MD, DO, or DPM.. it all depends on how good you are..! and lets not forget that DOs were fighting to become MDs a long time ago as well. BUT things changed.. that's what "vision 2015" is for DPMs...DPMs are surgeons.. if you wanna become a surgeon as an MD or DO you better be on top of your class and kill your respective boards... and if that's not the case.. then make sure you prepare your self for internal medicine or family practice.. there is nothing wrong with that! BUT if that wasn't your goal.. well too bad.. AND lets not forget that DPM is a specialty so there aren't 1000ss of people applying to pod medical schools and preparing for DPM residencies.. so there is a relatively good number of spots for everyone (surgical residencies!!).. but for general medical school (MD or DO) that isn't the case.. for example last year about 1000 students (MD, DO) from the entire country DID NOT match.. !!!! and im sure most of you here are either medical students (MD, DO, DPM) or pre-meds so you all realize that I'm not just making this up! ... all this ^^ is just what the truth is.. I'm not taking any sides here.. just repeating the reality
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2013
  44. foot2foot

    foot2foot

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    Did you get in?
  45. Mad Jack

    Mad Jack Pre-119th Congress Gold Donor

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    A podiatrist may be a surgeon, and that is all fine and dandy, but their compensation is similar to a FP or IM physician. Neither will make you rich unless you are clever and offer a good deal of ancillary services and are quite savvy when it comes to business.

    Salary
    The national mean annual salary for podiatrists was $132,470 as of May 2012, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The top 25 percent of the profession earned at least $167,500 per year, while the bottom 25 percent made $81,880 or less. Wages for podiatrists vary significantly based on such factors as experience, geographic location and type of employment.


    Experience
    Salaries for podiatrists tend to increase with experience. Salaries for those just starting out with up to five years experience ranged from $55,000 to $153,610.00 per year as of 2013, according to the ALLP Podiatrist Salary Guide website. The annual salary range for those with more than 10 years experience was from $65,000 to $200,670. Podiatrists with more than 20 years in practice earned between $76,600 and $206,710 per year.


    Based on data from the ALLP salary survey, as summarized here: http://everydaylife.globalpost.com/average-compensation-podiatrist-11587.html

    Compare this to FPs:

    Family Physician Compensation in 2012


    In 2012, family physicians earned a median annual income of $175,000, which represents an increase from 2011 -- a positive move in a rocky economy. Nevertheless, family physicians remain at the lower end of the earnings spectrum in Medscape's surveys, along with internists and pediatricians.


    About 7% of family physicians earn $300,000 or more; about 13% earn $100,000 or less.


    http://www.medscape.com/features/slideshow/compensation/2013/familymedicine

    And IM:

    Internist Compensation in 2012


    Physicians have done well in 2012, and internists have seen an increase in earnings. As far as compensation, internists are in the lower third of the ranks. Internists had a mean income of $185,000. Topping the list were orthopedists, cardiologists, radiologists, and gastroenterologists.


    Historically, internal medicine has been among the lower earning of the medical specialties. In both of Medscape's previous compensation surveys, internists placed in the bottom third of specialists.


    About 10% of internists earn $300,000 or more; about 16% earn $100,000 or less.


    http://www.medscape.com/features/slideshow/compensation/2013/internal-medicine

    Basically, your salary in what many view as the "worst case scenario" of FP or IM is similar to, but slightly higher than, podiatry. The only reason to pursue podiatry, as most have noted, is that you are dead set on podiatry and cannot see yourself doing anything else. You have more options going to DO route, so if you're on the fence, go DO, because if you change your mind on the pod road, there's no way out except starting over.
  46. MaxillofacialMN

    MaxillofacialMN Osteopathic Foot Dentist

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    Salary surveys and money in general is a funny thing with medical specialties. There are literally so many variables. If your goal is money, you can definitely get it in podiatry. If your goal is surgery, you can definitely get it in podiatry. If you want your own practice/be your own boss, you can definitely get it in podiatry. If you want to practice/learn strictly EBM, you will definitely do that in podiatry.

    I can understand where Mad Jack's post is coming from. However, I assure you that if money is the goal, you can make more than your run-of-the mill FP - it depends on how badly you want it, and what you are willing to do to get it. Personally, I wouldn't go DO unless you buy into OMM, but that's just my integrity speaking.
  47. FootAndAnkle

    FootAndAnkle

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    I've met quite a few D.O.s that aren't sold on OMM and went just because of the unrestricted license and not wanting to retake the MCAT. I don't see anything wrong with that, myself. It would certainly use up a lot of valuable study time unnecessarily if they don't end up finding some of it useful, though!
  48. Ankle Breaker

    Ankle Breaker Senior Member

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    There is nothing wrong with DOs not believing in or utilizing OMM in residency or when they practice post-residency. Absolutely nothing. It's comparable to podiatrists who do not focus on peddling custom made orthotics to treat every single foot deformity known to man. A lot of current pods just don't care about that stuff anymore and their patients do just fine.
  49. MaxillofacialMN

    MaxillofacialMN Osteopathic Foot Dentist

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    To clarify, when I say "buy into OMM" I mean that they believe it is an efficacious treatment, not necessarily that they practice it in their professional career.

    It's not the same as peddling orthotics, because peddling orthotics does not define the DPM degree. DO is defined by their utilization of OMM as compared to the traditional MD. I don't know how you can maintain your personal integrity if you personally believe OMM is bogus, yet you chose to pursue a DO degree instead of an MD.

    People believe that OMM helps, and to those people, I don't think they face any moral dilemma when pursuing that degree. However, if a person does not believe (i.e. "buy into") OMM as actual healing, I would think they would have a hard time convincing themselves to get a DO instead of an MD.
  50. CapCrunch

    CapCrunch

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    Except for the fact that the admissions criteria are slightly more lenient for DO programs as opposed to MD. You forget that many students are admitted to only DO programs. Many students don't choose to attend a DO program for the OMM- they choose it because it is functionally equivalent to the MD, and will allow them to practice all facets of medicine despite their academic shortcomings of the past. When choosing whether to study OMM (which they may or may not wholly believe in), or give up on the dream of medicine, I'd think that most sensible students would choose the DO route.

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