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Chiropody or Cardiac Perfusion?

Discussion in 'Podiatry Students' started by hijinxx7, May 11, 2007.

  1. hijinxx7

    hijinxx7 Junior Member 2+ Year Member

    Jul 3, 2006

    I am an engineering student that graduated last year from the University of Waterloo here in Canada. I graduated from the mechanical engineering program with a specialization in biomechanics (where I took extra courses in occupational biomechanics, anatomy, physiology, bioengineering, etc).

    I have recently applied to cardiac perfusion programs as well as chiropody programs and have interviews coming up this month. The perfusion program is 14 months whereas the chiropody program is 3 years.

    I would love to open up my own clinic and be self employed here in Ontario, and chiropody would allow me to do that, but I have been receiving varying responses as to the profitability of the field, which is a bit discouraging. I have heard salary ranges from 50K - 200K+, and that it takes many years to get established as a chiropodist starting out.

    I feel that there would be more prestige in being a cardiac perfusionist but what discourages me is the demand that is out there for them. I would be worried that I wouldn't be able to find a full time perfusion position at a hospital afterwards.

    Hospitals seem to pay perfusionists ALOT more than they pay chiropodists. I have researched ALOT about both professions but I am sort of stuck at a crossroad between what to do.

    Anybody in either of these fields or have colleagues in either of these field feel free to input?

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  3. Feli

    Feli ACFAS Member 5+ Year Member

    Feb 1, 2007
    Clarkston, MI
    I actually was thinking along those lines at one time too. Both are great fields and very interesting if you like physiology (I love cardiovascular physio). I applied to both and got accepted to both here in US, but I ultimately pursued podiatry.

    Perfusion is great, but open heart surgery just isn't as quite as needed as it was years ago. With interventional cardiology research improving non-invasive (read: pharmacologic) and minimally invasive techinques, people are taking Lipitor and getting half a dozen angio + stents. There just aren't as many CABGs...

    Things just change so fast with surgical advances. I don't have my surgery notes handy, but it wasn't even 100 years ago that a famous surgeon was frustrated with heart surgery pioneers who were failing and said, "any man who attempts to operate on the human heart should lose the respect of his colleagues." Today, we have most of those procedures down pat, but we are evolving past them due to their invasive nature.

    In the end, it's up to you. The fields are fairly different (and I'm not totally sure how similar chiropody in Canada is to US pod), but they have their similarities. Perfusion is great right now and pays well, but you have to consider long term job security and lack of variety. I shadowed a few perfusionists during CABG, and their job is fascinating to me. They mentioned "octopus" machines, the declining open heart surgeries, and other factors which could pose a long term threat, though.

    I was accepted to Ohio St MS perfusion program, but I chose pod in the end due to job security and my personal nature of liking variety in my work. I'm still interested in cardiovascular physio, and I might eventually carve out a niche in podiatric non-invasive vascular testing and limb salvage...

    Good luck at whichever you choose... things are different here since most decent DPMs make more than most good perfusionists.
    It sounds like you have a lot of info about what both fields are like in Canada, so Im sure you'll decide correctly.
  4. jonwill

    jonwill Podiatrist Podiatrist Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Sep 21, 2005
    Podiatry in the USA is a 4 year program followed by a 3 year surgical residency, this after 4 years of undergraduate work. They function as regular doctors (write for prescriptions, hospital privileges) and foot/ankle surgical specialists. I'm not familiar with chiropody in Canada and have no idea what they make. I'm guessing it is palliative care, orthotics, shoes, etc. I do know of a few podiatrists that graduated from US schools and are doing well in Canada.
  5. Podman

    Podman Senior Member 2+ Year Member

    May 6, 2006
    Cleveland, Ohio
    hi vince,

    you've posted here before about chiropody inquiries - but as jonwill eloquently explained, our education and training is different from that of the chiropody model in your province. For that reason, no one is in any position to give you an honest/accurate feedback about that program. My sincere and honest advise for you is to contact chiropodists (which I think you have), ontario DPMs (which you may have as well), and contact the chiropody school (michner institute?) and maybe ask if you can do a campus visit and adress your questions to the students over there?

    But posting Ontario-based questions here on this forum specifically will not be very fruitful for your cause - simply because none of us (so far) practice in Ontario, or attend a chiropody program (which is mostly pallative care, as jonwill mentioned)
  6. znl343

    znl343 Guest

    Feb 27, 2007
    From my research I found that the chiropody program really limits where you can practice and what you can do. Where as with the DPM your scope of practice is much greater, you can practice just about anywhere in Canada and your earning potential is much higher, as it should be with the ~4 or more years of education requried for the DPM over the chiropody. Thats what made me go towards DPM in the states.

    I also didnt like the way michener handles their business but thats another story.
  7. gsrimport

    gsrimport Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Sep 15, 2004
    Perfusion is a great field here in the west part of the United States. Many cardiovascular perfusionist in AZ work 30 hour weeks and almost all of them are contracted with the hospital or part of a surgical group. 30 hour weeks may not seem a lot but they make anywhere between 100k-200k. It also gives you more time to enjoy life as well. There aren't that many graduates from perfusion programs in the United States either and there are even fewer graduating with a masters degree. In California, the UCLA hospital is constantly recruiting.

    However, the bad side is that you are working in a VERY HIGH risk job and many times, the perfusionist gets blamed for anything that goes wrong even though its not related.

    It's going to be pretty hard to shadow one if you are not enrolled in a perfusion college but you should really think about what you really want to do.
  8. doclm

    doclm Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Mar 22, 2005
    Farmington Hills, MI
    Mayo Clinic AZ has the perfusionist training, and the starting pay is 80K. As a perfusionist, you sit at this machine to monitor the blood products for hours as the patient is on bypass. There is no comparision from this to being a doctor. Its all about what people find satisfying in their lives. Also, most don't make anywhere near 200K. The pay is lower than a CRNA.
  9. gsrimport

    gsrimport Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Sep 15, 2004
    Yeah, that is true but I just gave a range that was given by the faculty here. Great profession nontheless if you don't want to go through 4 years of school and residency.
  10. jefguth

    jefguth Senior Member 5+ Year Member

    Oct 11, 2004
    British Columbia
    I really don't think that chiropody, or cardiac perfusion will be as financially rewarding as engineering. I honestly don't know anything at all about cardiac perfusion, but I did look into chiropody a few years ago when I was also still at Waterloo. The impression I got was that chiropodists really don't make all that much. Sure some website says there is potential for 200K/yr. but I don't think it's very likely. Part of the problem is that many hospitals offer free foot clinics while private practice chiropodists cannot bill OHIP, so their patients have to pay cash. That's great if you have plenty of patients cash in hand, but if not it could really limit your practice growth.
  11. powerade


    Nov 6, 2009
    One of my friend works in Ontario as a perfusionist. New perfusion grads in Ontario are making anywhere from 75,000$ to 85,000$ (not lower than 70) and the experienced perfusionists are all making 90,000+. Many of them are able to make 100,000+ (below 110,000 though). Basically the pay scale for perfusionists in Ontario is the same as pharmacists.

    This money is much better than what engineers are making in Ontario. In fact nursing grads in Ontario are making more than engineering grads according to government stats (maybe in a long run engineers will win but RNs in Ontario do make 80,000$ base pay after 8 years of practice, I doubt most senior engineers are able to make more than 90,000$). And from what I read online, BC offers even lower salaries.
  12. dropfoot

    dropfoot 5+ Year Member

    Mar 26, 2009
    Pittsburgh, PA
    This thread was originally opened in 1939. Since than the OP went on to win the Noble prize in biomechanics (1946), and also had a hand in developing the internal combustion engine.:laugh:
  13. CPB99


    Mar 29, 2010
    I am a perfusion student and I absolutely love it. Many of the threads on this website about perfusion are not always accurate. People believe that this is a "high risk" profession due to job security, but this is not necessarily true. It may be true in some areas, but where I'm from (Pittsburgh) this is completely false. While everyone is entitled to their opinions, perfusionists do not have a boring job, this is a common misconception. Perfusionists perform many other tasks besides running the CPB machine. They also run the cell saver and mps machines simulataneously. Perfusionists also run ECMO machines and do isolated limb or chemo perfusions. They run blood gas labs, monitor patient arterial and venous pressure, give most of the medications administered during the surgery via the pump, run act's and build and prime the pump. The schooling is fairly challenging, but very exciting! If you do not perform well under pressure, this is not the job for you. If you make one small mistake, such as an air bubble in the pump or improper pump connections, you will kill the patient. Perfusionists do not have to pay any malpractice insurance though. My brother and friend are perfusionists. My friend works in North Carolina and makes 170K/year. She moved to North Carolina because she was working at a hospital in Pennsylvania that was requiring her to work 75+ hours a week. Perfusionists are in very high demand in many areas, this is the reason the pay is so high. The program I am in guarantees 100% job placement, as long as you're willing to move if need be. The pre-requisites for my program were a bachelors degree in biology/pre-med/nursing/etc. I did an accelerated option to earn my bachelors in 3 yrs instead of 4 and my perfusion schooling is a 17 month clinical. I am 20 yrs old now and will be done with all of this schooling by the time I am 21. It is a very short time period of schooling considering the potential amount of money you can make. It's a profession that many people have never heard of or know little about, but I love what I do and I find it very rewarding.
  14. cmdma17


    Mar 11, 2017
    It looks like it has been awhile since anybody has been on here. I just wanted to know if international students can pursue studies in cardiovascular perfusion since it is a competitive program to get into. Also, if anyone can suggest ways to obtain shadowing opportunities with perfusionists, it would be greatly appreciated. I don't know any perfusionists personally, so it is a bit challenging to know where to start. I am also based in Toronto, Canada, so if there are any local perfusionists who are willing to provide some insight or provide a potential shadowing experience, it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!
  15. Mad Jack

    Mad Jack Critically Caring Gold Donor Classifieds Approved 2+ Year Member

    Jul 27, 2013
    4th Dimension
    Your best bet would be contacting a few Canadian perfusion programs

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