Podiatry income across professions

This forum made possible through the generous support of SDN members, donors, and sponsors. Thank you.
This is not true. I wish it were. It sounds fine in theory but just does not materialize.

99% of students not accepted at DMU, UTRio, AZPod, etc will simply be accepted at low level schools like NY or Kent podiatry with scholarship.
The low quality applicants will still be there, and many of them will graduate. The only reason KSU and LECOM and SMU pod and etc are not bigger classes right now is because they didn't have enough apps. The only reason app numbers for pod schools are higher than incoming/matriculant pod students is because many "pod" apps choose to go to MD/DO or SMP or Pharma or whatever instead.

That is how podiatry school is - and always has been. The accept rate is basically and effectively 100%.
As it stands, more pod apps simply equals more grads. More grads simply means even less jobs/pay and residency shortage and/or more bogus residencies stay open.

Now, if we somehow had 600 apps for 300 podiatry spots, then yes... I would agree, up the app numbers and keep increasing student/grad talent. However, it's not that way at all. We have far too many pod student spots, and we will suffer the fate of phamacy schools (schools close/reduce as job market and ROI get increasingly worse and people accordingly stop applying).


It all depends who you talk to.

The 'word of mouth' argument is not a good one. It has been tried again and again in podiatry. It makes no sense, as stated above... that any MD/DO specialty, AA, nurses, CRNA, etc all have tons of good jobs posted and podiatry has very very little. There are a few - but there are not a plethora - of hidden or secret handshake good pay or good quality podiatry jobs. We are saturated.

Yes, top podiatry grads/residents, can sometimes almost backdoor their way into doing work of an ortho F&A (although at half the pay). It will be different for people, such as yourself, who got top training and network which comes with it. Our training has technically improved in that way. Some podiatry training programs are more integrated with ortho than years past. I agree. The top training is better than ever, and that's a very good thing... but we're talking about maybe 20-25% of DPM residencies. It is myopic to think that it's that way for all podiatrists. It would be like if I was saying "just tap into the 100+ alumni network at your program" or "just start your own office and you'll make more money" when those things are simply not available to most average DPMs.

Many of our average and lower residencies are still junkers... many residencies have been diluted to accommodate new schools or for attendings to spin cases off to make fellowship spots. This is evidenced by the low board pass, low incomes, very few jobs, increasing saturation. To the public, we are all "three year foot and ankle surgeons." An extra year or more cases just doesn't overcome simple supply and demand.

In income terms, for most DPM grads, podiatry is as bad as it has ever been.
When I finished, it was rougly $200k student debt and taking 80-120k jobs. That is rougly 2:1 ROI for tuition: income.
Now, it's roughly $400k debt for jobs $125-150k. That ROI of 3:1 or worse (many even add 8th fellowship year with interest piling on).
In private practice, where most DPMs work, the reimbursements are basically stagnant despite inflation, labor, and supplies going steadily up.

The rare bright spot for pod pay is probably more spots and better (parity) pay at VA jobs. The VA pay scale is one MDs still avoid like leprosy... yet DPMs now fight very hard to get hired for that wage. Again, the fact that we covet VA/IHS jobs that MD/DO hardly give a passing glance to tells you about all you need to know about the income and job option gaps.

What are your solutions to these problems? There are obviously issues for a few in the profession, but I don’t hear any solutions.

I truly have never met a Podiatrist in real life (and I know hundreds) who aren’t happy with their choice. I go to many national conferences, local meetings, etc.

Where do you guys practice that are unhappy? Just curious.

Members don't see this ad.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
To the pre-pods reading this, please be very aware of how contentious things gets when people start identifying misrepresentation of stats contrary to what admissions and leaders want peddled.

To the attendings saying people are in their situations simply because they didn’t do enough…

How dare you insult the hard work of so many residents busting their butts, students studying all day everyday trying to reach the carrot you’ve disingenuously dangled in front of them for years? To ignore the undeniable damage done to the field by opening two new schools despite current field saturation and it’s effect on salaries, low volume of jobs that aren’t associate level and then say you’re financially doing well bc “oh I’m high and mighty bc I worked harder and networked” blah blah

Prepods, those are the people who are supposed to be teaching and mentoring you in this field. Embarrassing bunch of grifters
 
  • Like
  • Love
Reactions: 7 users
I think one of the biggest barrier to income is where you're willing to move to. Frankly, I don't mind moving to an extremely rural place to rake in money. I simply don't care.

However, I've met so many people who adamantly refuse to move out of high saturated areas, despite being incredibly skilled, due to things like wife and kids.

If you don't play the game, you can't expect to win. If you want to work in an area where there is a podiatrist on every block, then go for it.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
Members don't see this ad :)
Am I wrong?
You’re correct. The dissatisfaction stems from admin and people glorifying the specialty, hide that fact. Kind of like an open secret that people refuse to openly discuss bc the financial fall off for admin and schools would be too much so they keep up the charade(kinda like rn).

How can we claim we care/do right by our patients when we lie to our own incoming/current students then dump on fresh out residents? It’s a hoax. People just want honesty
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users
It could be the case that we're all correct, just talking about different things. Although I too take exception to the statement: "the successful people aren’t in here." PodPatrol seems like a nice guy but that's punching down.

It's a fact that a lot of offers straight out of residency are bad.

It's also a fact that many of us attendings on SDN have very high incomes. I don't know anyone who's 5-10 years out from residency who is still languishing.

This alludes to something I've posted about before, the podiatry wage curve. You start off low pay and end up better. But what's it look like really? How many years of underemployment should you expect after residency before you reach your real income potential? I think it's a pretty interesting question, and if I were a university professor I would want to investigate this in a rigorous way across disciplines with someone from a school of business. Of course I've never seen a thread not get derailed whenever I bring this up, so go ahead friends and do what you do best...
 
  • Like
Reactions: 3 users
I think one of the biggest barrier to income is where you're willing to move to. Frankly, I don't mind moving to an extremely rural place to rake in money. I simply don't care.

However, I've met so many people who adamantly refuse to move out of high saturated areas, despite being incredibly skilled, due to things like wife and kids.

If you don't play the game, you can't expect to win. If you want to work in an area where there is a podiatrist on every block, then go for it.
You routinely miss the point of everything people say on here. The point is that in the MD/DO world they don’t have to play some game to WIN. Just because it’s your preference to live in a rural area doesn’t mean that it’s right that someone HAS to do that to make a good living after spending 11 years in school. Think before you speak about stuff because it’s giving immature on all levels.
 
  • Like
  • Love
Reactions: 6 users
You’re correct. The dissatisfaction stems from admin and people glorifying the specialty, hide that fact. Kind of like an open secret that people refuse to openly discuss bc the financial fall off for admin and schools would be too much so they keep up the charade(kinda like rn).

How can we claim we care/do right by our patients when we lie to our own incoming/current students then dump on fresh out residents? It’s a hoax. People just want honesty
You are one one today and I’m loving it.!
 
  • Haha
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users
You routinely miss the point of everything people say on here. The point is that in the MD/DO world they don’t have to play some game to WIN. Just because it’s your preference to live in a rural area doesn’t mean that it’s right that someone HAS to do that to make a good living after spending 11 years in school. Think before you speak about stuff because it’s giving immature on all levels.
Another big problem is how podiatry is compared to only MD/DO and not to careers as a whole.

Podiatry is not MD/DO.

In most careers, you have to make some level of sacrifice to earn higher incomes.

In many careers, that's location. Podiatry isn't too different.
 
Another big problem is how podiatry is compared to only MD/DO and not to careers as a whole.

Podiatry is not MD/DO.

In most careers, you have to make some level of sacrifice to earn higher incomes.

In many careers, that's location. Podiatry isn't too different.
Reasons for comparing podiatry to MD/DO vs other careers are length of time in school and amount of loans. I don't know why that's a hard concept to grasp
 
  • Like
  • Love
Reactions: 5 users
A much softer way of me saying the same thing (saturation, job market, ROI etc) is in podiatry you are looking for that one opportunity or often need to make your own. For some it comes as their first job in a location pretty close to their desired location and for others it comes later in their career and is farther away.

Compromising on location and/or also running a small business are not uncommon in this profession.

I will agree most I know eventually make good or very good money. Does that mean everyone? No.

There are lots of things to consider when choosing a career. Certain healthcare careers have such insane demand right now that it actually makes it hard not to find a job. Podiatry is not one of those careers with insane demand, but most find a way to make it work.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users
Members don't see this ad :)
Keep it clean.

There is truth to both sides. Good jobs do exist with people who do make enough. Saturation exists. Low quality applicants exist. Bigger applicant pool with higher % of better applicants is better overall than limited pool to pick from.

Snide comments usually come out when posters think it is a black and white issue and are unwilling to understand where the other side is coming from.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users
Reasons for comparing podiatry to MD/DO vs other careers are length of time in school and amount of loans. I don't know why that's a hard concept to grasp
Not saying it shouldn't be compared ever, but I don't think it should always be the gold standard of comparison either.

If not for the comparisons, I'm sure parity would be worse than it is now.

But in terms of just comparing careers, I don't know why podiatry is ONLY compared the MD/DO.
 
Not saying it shouldn't be compared ever, but I don't think it should always be the gold standard of comparison either.

If not for the comparisons, I'm sure parity would be worse than it is now.

But in terms of just comparing careers, I don't know why podiatry is ONLY compared the MD/DO.

MD/DOs are the natural comparison because of training, tuition cost, and daily activity (patient care/medical professionals). Our entire educational model is based off the MD design with the added emphasis of LE focus. I'm really not sure why/how you would want to compare us to other careers? Can we at least agree that MD/DO>>DPM?

Any comparison is also difficult because do we use the high end pod (MGMA) or the lower end pod (nursing home pod)? I suppose we can try:

Dentist- no residency, still make more money but probably higher tuition (maybe)
PT- no residency, comparable tuition, less income. Less responsibility/stress(?), more loan forgiveness options
PA- less schooling cost (time and money), but make more than low end pods. more loan forgiveness options
nurse- less schooling cost, less income, more loan forgiveness options
plumber- less schooling cost, many years of work while pod in school. Lower income. Both deal with ****, pod's are just attached to diabetic's leg
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: 4 users
Reasons for comparing podiatry to MD/DO vs other careers are length of time in school and amount of loans. I don't know why that's a hard concept to grasp
Exactly! It’s literally the field that the APMA is trying to get parity with! The White Paper… they literally begged the AMA to allow podiatry students to take the USMLE….HELLO IS ANYONE UPSTAIRS 👈
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
Yes, MD/DO is better than DPM, and if you have the grades for it then of f*cking course go do it.

The unspoken truth, that we all know, is that most (all?) DPM students didn't have the grades and/or willingness to wait and reapply for MD/DO schools, so they chose DPM, a career in which still allows them to help people and make a decent living.

I'm so f*cking tired of people keep on trashing this profession. Is it as good as MD/DO? No. I know this, you know this, we all know this. The people who keep on repeating this fact daily is not doing anything other than circlejerking one another.

The fact of the matter is that Podiatry gave you and I a lifeline when other professions did not. It's still a decent profession, and with the plethora of repayment options, the ROI is not as bad as it once was. Instead of constantly repeating the same rhetoric to criticize the field, it would be more beneficial to advocate for better teaching curricula and to demonstrate the value of podiatrists, thereby justifying higher compensation.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
...The fact of the matter is that Podiatry gave you and I a lifeline when other professions did not. It's still a decent profession, and with the plethora of repayment options, the ROI is not as bad as it once was. Instead of constantly repeating the same rhetoric to criticize the field, it would be more beneficial to advocate for better teaching curricula and to demonstrate the value of podiatrists, thereby justifying higher compensation.
This is incorrect thinking that has been disproven many times over:
Better training does not counteract saturation and suddenly increase demand/wages.

Look at pharmacy: training is at an all time high (residencies, better schools), but they have far too many PharmDs and schools... their ROI and income relative to tuition are at all time lows. Chiro has the same issues of oversupply and low demand basically forever... ditto for counseling.

If there were 100k or 50k orthopedists and not ~25k of them, their incomes would accordingly suffer... doesn't matter how many fellowships they do. They'd have lower pay if they were easier to find/recruit and lower reimburse if more ortho options for insurance. Same for derm or uro or any specialist type.

...People are rightly upset with the greed of the pod schools, the fact that they keep creating seats for however many applicants they can get, we have many "approved" laughable residency programs, and the resulting complete flood of podiatry job applicants. It drives demand and income down from employer groups, from employer hospitals, from insurances, etc. There is no way podiatrists should have to go to Texarcana to find a decent job and still make roughly half per RVU as MD/DO colleagues and get lower rates from major insurances. But they do. Bottom line.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users
This is incorrect thinking that has been disproven many times over:
Better training does not counteract saturation and suddenly increase demand/wages.

Look at pharmacy: training is at an all time high (residencies, better schools), but they have far too many PharmDs and schools... their ROI and income relative to tuition are at all time lows. Chiro has the same issues of oversupply an low demand basically forever.

If there were 100k or 50k orthopedists and not ~25k of them, their incomes would accordingly suffer... doesn't matter how many fellowships they do. They'd have lower pay if they were easier to find and more options for insurance. Same for derm or uro or any specialist type.

...People are rightly upset with the greed of the pod schools, the fact that they keep creating seats for however many applicants they can get, we have many "approved" laughable residency programs, and the resulting complete flood of podiatry job applicants. It drives demand and income down from employer groups, from employer hospitals, from insurances, etc. There is no way podiatrists should have to to to Texarcana to find a decent job and still make roughly half per RVU as MD/DO colleagues and get lower rates from major insurances. But they do. Bottom line.
The situation is not mutually exclusive. We can advocate for better teaching (not necessarily more training) AND reducing number of schools to address saturation.

Constantly criticizing the profession, rather than advocating and highlighting its positives and our potential contributions to patient care, won't persuade policymakers to change their stance or improve our insurance compensations.
 
I'm so f*cking tired of people keep on trashing this profession. Is it as good as MD/DO? No. I know this, you know this, we all know this. The people who keep on repeating this fact daily is not doing anything other than circlejerking one another.

The fact of the matter is that Podiatry gave you and I a lifeline when other professions did not. It's still a decent profession, and with the plethora of repayment options, the ROI is not as bad as it once was. Instead of constantly repeating the same rhetoric to criticize the field, it would be more beneficial to advocate for better teaching curricula and to demonstrate the value of podiatrists, thereby justifying higher compensation.

Did I miss the extensive criticism that podiatry faces outside of SDN? Have ACFAS, APMA, or the myriad of other organizations come out and identified flaws that a potential student may want to know? I view SDN as a counter to the overt positivity produced for student recruitment and social media. For example, when someone suggests that most podiatrists are making more than 278k. Yes, the profession has positives, but for potential students there is a dearth of information regarding the drawbacks to this profession. This is critical when prepods are deciding whether to potentially spend 7 years worth of training time and invest 300k worth of loans (not including the opportunity cost).

The plethora of repayment options include: PSLF (minority of positions), repayment of the loan, or income base repayment (20-25 years worth of payments). The SAVE plan certainly will help reduce loan growth during residency, but is facing lawsuits from the GOP. Did I miss others?

Constantly criticizing the profession, rather than advocating and highlighting its positives and our potential contributions to patient care, won't persuade policymakers to change their stance or improve our insurance compensations.

Ignoring the negatives associated with this profession won't improve the situation either. In general the regulars on this forum highlight legit concerns they have with the profession. We are happy to discuss your point of view but just because the majority of posters disagree with you doesn't mean its a circlejerk.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: 3 users
The situation is not mutually exclusive. We can advocate for better teaching (not necessarily more training) AND reducing number of schools to address saturation.

Constantly criticizing the profession, rather than advocating and highlighting its positives and our potential contributions to patient care, won't persuade policymakers to change their stance or improve our insurance compensations.
There’s a saying “when people show you who they are, believe them.”

The ONLY thing that’s moved the needle for APMA/schools and something they took action was the “student crisis” bc it directly affected THEIR pockets. So much so that heavy hitters like Shapiro, DeHeer, DRitchie (lol) came on here to defend podiatry and then stopped responding bc they couldn’t refute any argument other than “try harder” ( that’s the gist of it)

How much money has been spent collectively for RECRUITMENT vs. making the field better their it’s practitioners? Ask pods in NY, ask pods who THIS YEAR IN 2024 in Mississippi still at war with the AMA to let them do ankles, ask pods in NC, MA, UT and their slavery to ortho, ask pods who do fellowships simply for jobs (openly talked about in dean’s chat), ask pods whatever happened after the white paper debacle, asks pods what happened after ABOS published their study dumping on pods (I know it was trash but still)

“Wah wah BuT Do YoU HaVE AnY SoLuTiOnS?”

Yeah it’s called telling the truth on SDN
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users
There’s a saying “when people show you who they are, believe them.”

The ONLY thing that’s moved the needle for APMA/schools and something they took action was the “student crisis” bc it directly affected THEIR pockets. So much so that heavy hitters like Shapiro, DeHeer, DRitchie (lol) came on here to defend podiatry and then stopped responding bc they couldn’t refute any argument other than “try harder” ( that’s the gist of it)

How much money has been spent collectively for RECRUITMENT vs. making the field better their it’s practitioners? Ask pods in NY, ask pods who THIS YEAR IN 2024 in Mississippi still at war with the AMA to let them do ankles, ask pods in NC, MA, UT and their slavery to ortho, ask pods who do fellowships simply for jobs (openly talked about in dean’s chat), ask pods whatever happened after the white paper debacle, asks pods what happened after ABOS published their study dumping on pods (I know it was trash but still)

“Wah wah BuT Do YoU HaVE AnY SoLuTiOnS?”

Yeah it’s called telling the truth on SDN
Still firing on all cylinders… comeback king 👑
 
Also really eye opening that everyone on here who comes to the defense of podiatry can’t really refute any claim. They just ignore it.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
The summary of this thread:

1) Podiatrists on average do not make MGMA median salary
2) We are saturated
3) Leadership asks community to come up with solutions with no solutions of their own for saturation
4) We are saturated but two new schools were opened for unknown reasons
5) Apparently everyone makes a good salary in podiatry despite new grads coming on here saying job offers are in the 100-150K range
6) ROI is bad due to saturation
7) We are seeing our "fellowship trained orthoplastic reconstructive foot and ankle surgeons" join private practices which again points to saturation
8) All the champions of podiatry blame SDN as a cesspool but literally have zero answers for the criticisms of saturation

Please see post above for a CRNA getting paid 322K salary or $155 per hour in San Diego. This is a product of DEMAND for ones services in one of the highly desirable places to live in USA. This does not exist in podiatry.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 6 users
I think no one realizes that the microscope could be on CPME for solutions, they create the bylaws that govern podiatry schools, residency, and fellowship, and it’s a small group with a lot of power, but it’s also a thankless volunteer job. It’s cool that SDN brings issues to light, now we need change makers. I’m already doing volunteer work for one of the other organizations, I don’t think we can be board members across multiple organizations.. can we?
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users
I think no one realizes that the microscope could be on CPME for solutions, they create the bylaws that govern podiatry schools, residency, and fellowship, and it’s a small group with a lot of power, but it’s also a thankless volunteer job. It’s cool that SDN brings issues to light, now we need change makers. I’m already doing volunteer work for one of the other organizations, I don’t think we can be board members across multiple organizations.. can we?

Can us residents join CPME?
 
Can us residents join CPME?
No. You can apply to be a (residency) site reviewer towards the end of your residency. Cpme seats are all deans, faculty, resident directors, etc... with a few 'public members.'

There have been some good ppl on Cpme or as residency site reviewers or policy consultants, but the org is in bed with Apma. It's a conflict of interests... through and through. Nothing meaningful will get done. We will continue to see bad residency programs re-approved, new pod schools opened whenever there is any surplus of applicants to accept, schools with low board pass or match quality re-accredited.

Applicants and podiatrists will vote with their feet (and wallet) as the ROI continues on the degree to drop and DPM job market gets more saturated.... just like pharmacy. We are basically 10-20yr behind pharmacy (adding needless schools, job market toughens and ROI drops, adding to length of training, job market gets very saturated, "admission crisis," etc).
 
Last edited:
  • Care
Reactions: 1 user
If you can't guarantee me 250k-300k starting base salaries, I'll keep my ~300k tuition and spend my next 7 years elsewhere. Some will say you'll eventually make a lot, but you can't sell high potential salaries having that much on the line. Maybe even put that money into real estate or other investments, and watch it grow.
 
  • Like
  • Love
Reactions: 6 users
If you can't guarantee me 250k-300k starting base salaries, I'll keep my ~300k tuition and spend my next 7 years elsewhere. Some will say you'll eventually make a lot, but you can't sell high potential salaries having that much on the line. Maybe even put that money into real estate or other investments, and watch it grow.
Tuition for podiatry used to be more reasonable pre-covid.

I think post-covid tuition is just too much for the field. Plus I don't understand how anyone could live in high COL places like New York or Cali for podiatry school.

I paid less than 1k per month for my COL in podiatry school. I know people that were doing 3-4k easily.
 
  • Hmm
Reactions: 1 user
Tuition for podiatry used to be more reasonable pre-covid.

I think post-covid tuition is just too much for the field...
That is true, but the DPM job market has also become increasingly saturated. We have grossly overshot the supply for "foot and ankle surgeon."

Mainly, in about 2005 (four pod schools ago), you used to be able to do a good podiatry residency and phone some hospitals, network with some alumni, and find a good organizational job. You could cold-call ortho groups. You could talk to MSGs. Most would be responsive and at least set up a call or reply they weren't in the market for a podiatry doc. You could look at ACFAS. Good programs would get letters from MSG or ortho or hospitals with a DPM who were adding another one and encouraging the program's senior residents to apply. One way or another, most graduating residents at top programs had multiple good offers to choose from in terms of good organizational jobs. They could just pick the best offer in terms of pay or their choice area.

Now, present day, the same efforts are unlikely to even generate interviews for good hospital/MSG gigs - much less offers or jobs.
There are just way too many "surgical" DPMs perpetually searching postings and cold-calling and looking for better pay and work.
Fellowships were added, and even many of those grads obviously end up in basic PP associate jobs.
The podiatry job market has really dried up with over a decade of basic podiatry DPMs retiring and being replaced by twice as many "3 year foot and ankle surgeon" grads (and more of same to come). Most hospital HR and recruiters are absolutely innundated with DPMs looking for better jobs. Most job listings are closed within a week due to hundreds of DPM apps. They often don't even bother to reply to cold calls/email anymore. This is the result even for fairly experience and ABFAS cert docs (although their response rates or interview %s will be significantly higher).

It's good if pod students/residents think they can find good podiatrist jobs by going rural or being flexible on state/location or doing pus/wound (giving up bone/joint surg) or whatever, but it is a rough market overall... hard to find quality jobs, even harder to find fair pay at them. It gets increasingly worse with pent-up demand from past DPM grads who are underemployed (money, job type, or both). The often-mentioned "wake up call" on SDN of the pgy2 or pgy3 podiatry job search is not a joke. At all. That's plainly evident in searching. The publicly posted good jobs are bombed with apps, and the good non-posted (word of mouth or only sent to good residency programs) positions almost always know they have their pick of candidate options... therefore little compensation negotiation power for the DPM(s) offered the job. 🙃
 
Last edited:
  • Like
  • Hmm
Reactions: 2 users
I don’t have any magical solutions other than to say almost everyone I know has a great job (ortho groups, MSG, residency director, hospital employee), so my experience is that it is very possible and those jobs are out ththere.
Jeff, first of all, I listened to an episode of Pod Patrol and enjoyed it. Jaffe was one of my favorite professors so I'm anxious to see where the podcast goes.

I'm going to have to give an alternate view to your assertion here. You went to a top (probably the top) residency and nearly everyone you associate with is in your same tier. Congrats, I've got nothing but excellent things to say about your training. I remember rotating there and a resident said off hand that none of their grads go on to make less than 250k starting out. I think for the top quarter to third of podiatry the opportunities are endless. For another decent chunk, they'll likely have to adjust their expectations hard, work somewhere they don't love or get paid crap, and then they'll find that great opportunity by just being in the area and keeping a great reputation. However, for a large percentage of grads (I'd wager half of all grads) they will be forced to do nursing homes or PP associate mills.

I hate your statement that the best jobs are never posted. That's my experience too. I'd prefer not to doxx myself by giving too much information, but I'm personal friends with a few posters and I know a lot of very skilled, motivated, and personable podiatrists that haven't been able to land decent jobs. I personally had to grind at nursing homes and then a crappy associate job before landing on my current job that pays over MGMA as well. It's my experience that very few podiatrists get the opportunity to live in the city of their choice without taking a poor to decent job. How many MD or DO friends do you have that feel trapped by their degree where they can't move where they please due to job scarcity? Outside of SDN, everything a prospective student hears is from the successful, happy podiatrists. I joined SDN because I do feel there needs to be a balanced perspective.

Again, good luck on the podcast.
 
  • Like
  • Love
Reactions: 8 users
Jeff, first of all, I listened to an episode of Pod Patrol and enjoyed it. Jaffe was one of my favorite professors so I'm anxious to see where the podcast goes.

I'm going to have to give an alternate view to your assertion here. You went to a top (probably the top) residency and nearly everyone you associate with is in your same tier. Congrats, I've got nothing but excellent things to say about your training. I remember rotating there and a resident said off hand that none of their grads go on to make less than 250k starting out. I think for the top quarter to third of podiatry the opportunities are endless. For another decent chunk, they'll likely have to adjust their expectations hard, work somewhere they don't love or get paid crap, and then they'll find that great opportunity by just being in the area and keeping a great reputation. However, for a large percentage of grads (I'd wager half of all grads) they will be forced to do nursing homes or PP associate mills.

I hate your statement that the best jobs are never posted. That's my experience too. I'd prefer not to doxx myself by giving too much information, but I'm personal friends with a few posters and I know a lot of very skilled, motivated, and personable podiatrists that haven't been able to land decent jobs. I personally had to grind at nursing homes and then a crappy associate job before landing on my current job that pays over MGMA as well. It's my experience that very few podiatrists get the opportunity to live in the city of their choice without taking a poor to decent job. How many MD or DO friends do you have that feel trapped by their degree where they can't move where they please due to job scarcity? Outside of SDN, everything a prospective student hears is from the successful, happy podiatrists. I joined SDN because I do feel there needs to be a balanced perspective.

Again, good luck on the podcast.
Thanks for your kind words and perspective. I believe that there are pods out there that struggle and don’t have great jobs. It’s multifaceted: saturation, poor training, predatory job creators, and some people (in every job field) are downright unlikeable and not hireable.

I’m just so against the broad podiatry-bashing on here though. It’s such a minority of the real world but this site makes it seem so commonplace. I’m basing my perspective on meeting the hundreds of students, residents, and pods who are happy and love their job. I’ve yet to meet an unhappy pod (in real life). Perhaps they don’t attend conferences, meetings, state board meetings, etc??

Anonymous keyboard criticism doesn’t do anything, so if someone has some constructive suggestions that are actually possible, I’d love to discuss this and help in some way. I for one believe that certain schools accept WAY too many matriculants in the name of $$$, which is the most direct cause of over-saturation. These issues sometimes have a way of sorting themselves out, as I would anticipate a school or two to close in the coming years. CPME holding schools accountable and decreasing the number of spots at about 3 schools would be a good start. Any other thoughts?
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
... I believe that there are pods out there that struggle and don’t have great jobs. It’s multifaceted: saturation, poor training, predatory job creators, and some people (in every job field) are downright unlikeable and not hireable.

I’m just so against the broad podiatry-bashing on here though. It’s such a minority of the real world but this site makes it seem so commonplace. I’m basing my perspective on meeting the hundreds of students, residents, and pods who are happy and love their job. I’ve yet to meet an unhappy pod (in real life). Perhaps they don’t attend conferences, meetings, state board meetings, etc??

Anonymous keyboard criticism doesn’t do anything, so if someone has some constructive suggestions that are actually possible, I’d love to discuss this and help in some way. I for one believe that certain schools accept WAY too many matriculants in the name of $$$, which is the most direct cause of over-saturation. These issues sometimes have a way of sorting themselves out, as I would anticipate a school or two to close in the coming years. CPME holding schools accountable and decreasing the number of spots at about 3 schools would be a good start. Any other thoughts?
You are a couple of decades late to the party, sir.

The answers are very VERY easy.
Most of the SDN regulars have been suggesting for many years that podiatry have less schools/seats. The job market is saturated, and we have only a finite number of truly good residencies (you or I are the "lucky ones," but most are not). You would probably be surprised how many people on SDN did good or even elite residency training. It takes a fair interest in podiatry and its goings-on to take your free time; SDN is not a group of VA and NYC residency alums just clipping toenails and failing ABFAS by any means. The people posting in that SDN thread link above are 90% no longer active as that was over 15yrs ago (3 pod schools ago) - although I do still talk to a couple of them, and they did elite training, work good jobs, and were still looking out for the profession overall simply because they care. Those were even in the days when any decent surgical residency DPM grad could pretty easily find an ortho/MSG/hospital job (3yr surgical was fairly new/rare) and the pod debt was under half what it is now, yet they still easily saw the writing on the wall and the saturation coming.

A decreased supply of DPMs would improve matriculant stats. Board pass rates would be better. It would improve job demand and incomes. It would improve quality/capability of the average DPM and respect for the profession. There is just no way in the world we need as many DPMs as orthopedists (total) at roughly 20k and 24k right now. We could close/reduce pod schools performing poorly and eliminate joke residency programs. In case the schools get greedy, there is also a limitation at the residency level (which should be independently controlled!). There are only so many match spots for ortho, for neurosurg, for plastics, for ophtho, for rad, etc. This is the MD school formula, and it works. People want the MD student seats, schools get top talent, the post-grad training is almost uniformly good, and incomes and demand are very good. Easy.

However, that logical solution won't happen in podiatry. It would threaten the money and the power of people in power. Pigs get fat and hogs get slaughtered. In podiatry, the same hogs control the APMA, CPME, AACPM, etc. The slaughter is not the "leaders," it's average DPMs, so why should they care? Their money and power comes from more tuition, corp sponsors, and associate mill owners' "donations" and "contributions." Anyone with their eyes open know this. Podiatry schools and orgs and council of deans have proven again and again they will do whatever's good for them. Any pod school performing terrible on boards/grads which you think might get probation simply gets re-approved. Residencies with low numbers and little true trauma/ortho RRA get fully approved - or even add spots. Any time an overall podiatry residency shortage looms years ahead, it simply happens: people who spent 250k+ on school are left high and dry and/or programs are watered down to accommodate the grads.

If any DPM grads complain of lack of good jobs, lack of location choices, or anything, the 'leaders' and fluffers can use your same brow-beating attempts like "need to try harder" and "there are plenty of success stories," "everyone I know does fine," or "you probably didn't study hard" and "I don't get why you can't succeed too." Making podiatry income/job exceptions appear to be the norm ('the whole genius idea of this thread, which is rightfully flamed down) is not helpful. That stuff is not only unhelpful; further, it naturally increases frustration. It's like telling a guy in the minor leagues he should 'just train harder' to make it to MLB because I know a few MLB all stars and they make good money.

Again, the variances in incomes and training and aptitude and job types for podiatry is huuuge... because we're accepting anyone, residencies are great to terrible, and we're badly saturated. Saturation hurts the top (tons of colleagues will do your job cheaper), and it absolutely hurts the bottom (few good offers, need to take the ok/crap contracts). Even if we closed all pod schools besides Western, Scholl, and Temple immediately and limited pod school seats to 300/yr total, we'd STILL be saturated for decades to come. We'd still have nowhere near the pay or demand of MD/DO specialties. That is how bad it is. Podiatry alternate boards and bad pod residencies and crap associate jobs and our create-your-own-luck job market exist because we produce a glut of grads all branded as the same "DPM three year foot and ankle surgeon."

The only natural conclusion is pod schools close, seats reduce, and student applicants vote with their feet (and DPMs vote with their money/memberships). It won't be in the way you seem to expect it (schools closing on their own volition or via CPME wisdom), but it'll instead be in the way of pharmacy schools: job market worsens to the point more and more practicing docs complain... and ROI for tuitions gets so bad the applicant pool dips lower and lower. It won't be a voluntary thing. All healthcare tuition has exploded to make the ROI questionable, but podiatry and pharmacy and OD and chiro are the worst ROIs. We have seen this movie already with PharmD jobs, pay, and schools... read their forums (or OD).

...also, don't expect replies on weekends. Most ppl on SDN don't work weekends.
Remember: "the successful people aren’t in here." ;)
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: 5 users
The real key is just to marry someone who is a high income earner
 
  • Like
  • Haha
Reactions: 5 users
Thanks for your kind words and perspective. I believe that there are pods out there that struggle and don’t have great jobs. It’s multifaceted: saturation, poor training, predatory job creators, and some people (in every job field) are downright unlikeable and not hireable.

I’m just so against the broad podiatry-bashing on here though. It’s such a minority of the real world but this site makes it seem so commonplace. I’m basing my perspective on meeting the hundreds of students, residents, and pods who are happy and love their job. I’ve yet to meet an unhappy pod (in real life). Perhaps they don’t attend conferences, meetings, state board meetings, etc??

Anonymous keyboard criticism doesn’t do anything, so if someone has some constructive suggestions that are actually possible, I’d love to discuss this and help in some way. I for one believe that certain schools accept WAY too many matriculants in the name of $$$, which is the most direct cause of over-saturation. These issues sometimes have a way of sorting themselves out, as I would anticipate a school or two to close in the coming years. CPME holding schools accountable and decreasing the number of spots at about 3 schools would be a good start. Any other thoughts?
I have met many unhappy podiatrists. Most are young and have lots of student debt with income less than 200,000. It's strange you claim to have never met an unhappy podiatrist. I think with time most people end up happy in this field. Unfortunately many have to wait until their 40s or later to get there. This will be more and more common in the years to come as the US is flooded with surgical podiatrists. The number of fellowship positions has at least tripled since I started school about 10 years ago. Where is the work for these people? I am overall happy but have never found the jobs I really wanted. They were never available in the areas I wanted to work. I don't make "mgma" but I am close. There are no opportunities with orthopedic, hospital, or multi specialty groups here. Once every 5-7 years a podiatrist gets hired into those types of positions in this area, and they never leave. I am glad you have found success and happiness, but you are in the suburbs of a small city in flyover country. That's often what it takes. To say otherwise is to stick your head in the sand.

On another note, to be a good surgeon you need to operate a lot. The more you flood a field with docs expecting to operate, the more they will push indications to reach the volumes they expect and need to be successful. That's not a good situation for anyone. If we can't agree that there are too many podiatrists in general, and that is driving down market value (this is so obvious, anyone who disagrees I really cannot take seriously), hopefully we can agree that graduating 500+ surgical residents and 100+ fellowship grads a year is a bad idea when we quite simply don't need that many surgeons. But surgeons always find surgery.
 
  • Like
  • Love
Reactions: 5 users
The real key is just to marry someone who is a high income earner
I don't know, as a guy I can't say I've had a better experience dating high income earners.

I dated a woman in a different specialty making 500k annually for a short time and it was downright miserable.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
I don't know, as a guy I can't say I've had a better experience dating high income earners.

I dated a woman in a different specialty making 500k annually for a short time and it was downright miserable.
Then maybe it’s just you bro.
 
  • Like
  • Haha
Reactions: 5 users
...also, don't expect replies on weekends.
For my part, I've come to enjoy my leisurely weekend SDN browsing over breakfast, gives time to write thoughtful replies instead of my usual troll posts.
I’m just so against the broad podiatry-bashing on here though. It’s such a minority of the real world but this site makes it seem so commonplace. I’m basing my perspective on meeting the hundreds of students, residents, and pods who are happy and love their job. I’ve yet to meet an unhappy pod (in real life). Perhaps they don’t attend conferences, meetings, state board meetings, etc??
I don't even know 100 people. You're not their therapist, so why would they be truthful to you about how happy they are? If I bump into you at a conference of course I'm going to tell you how great it's going for me, maybe a mix of boasting or just not wanting to look bad in front of someone who's legitimately successful. (Note to students: this is why blinding in medical research is important.) In person, I wouldn't tell you about how many late nights and weekends I put in to manage my practice. I'm not going to tell you about the mountains of keratin I scrape and grind away, day in and day out. I spend more time being hassled by medicare beneficiaries about their prescription shoes than I do using any of my surgical training. And by the way, I don't begrudge you for your success, at least one of us found it.

The problem is that podiatry isn't that bad; if it were, the solutions would be self-evident and we would all agree on them. A high income (not the only determinant of career satisfaction btw) is entirely attainable in podiatry. But dear God has it been a rocky road getting there. The juice ain't worth the squeeze.

<100% of people agree with this, but I do NOT believe that what happens on SDN has a tremendous impact on pod school applications. I've said it over and over, pre-health students are NOT dumb. They can crunch their own numbers without our help, and there are too many better options out there to spend your 7 years and $300k debt. If you think the negativity on SDN is causing the downtrend in applications, you are mixing up the order of causality. We're like Cassandra, we are posting warnings for the CPME and deans, we are telling you the consequences of your actions--disregard us at your peril.

Anonymous keyboard criticism doesn’t do anything, so if someone has some constructive suggestions that are actually possible, I’d love to discuss this and help in some way. I for one believe that certain schools accept WAY too many matriculants in the name of $$$, which is the most direct cause of over-saturation. These issues sometimes have a way of sorting themselves out, as I would anticipate a school or two to close in the coming years. CPME holding schools accountable and decreasing the number of spots at about 3 schools would be a good start. Any other thoughts?

1. This is another minority view on SDN, but I will keep pounding the table on this: we are overtrained for 99% of the podiatry services that are demanded of us. If you have a DVT, you will get an ultrasound study THAT YOUR LIFE DEPENDS UPON by a sonographer with an associates degree. But to perform a neurovascular screening and trim someone's toenails requires a doctorate and a surgical residency???

If we are to persist with this asininity, at least figure out a way to reduce the DPM to a 3-year degree. It's been a decade since I was in school, but I'm pretty sure it's still the case that nothing meaningful happens the 6 months following residency interviews. You could probably compress 3rd year into 6 months also. That's a 25% reduction in tuition and 7 years goes down to 6--the ROI becomes a lot more interesting. I wrote a post a year ago about how Australian DPMs are a 3 year doctorate. I don't feel 33% smarter than any of them.

2. @shadesofgrey had a really good comment about nail techs above.

3. Let's have some truth in advertising. Don't lure students in saying they're going to be surgeons when most simple podiatry procedures are poorly reimbursed and the main income driver is scraping and grinding away bits of dead skin off people's feet and prescribing pieces of plastic. Don't post about MGMA salaries when there's a good chance you'll end up working for and/or owning a small business with all sorts of economic and governmental forces exerting downward pressure on your income. We need to be honest about what we really are. 🦞
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: 5 users
I’m just so against the broad podiatry-bashing on here though. It’s such a minority of the real world but this site makes it seem so commonplace. I’m basing my perspective on meeting the hundreds of students, residents, and pods who are happy and love their job. I’ve yet to meet an unhappy pod (in real life). Perhaps they don’t attend conferences, meetings, state board meetings, etc??
So as was already mentioned, not very many people will openly admit they're struggling. Whether pride, embarrassment, or just disinterest in a pep talk, I'd wager the majority of people upset at their current position would never tell you unless you're in their circle. I mentioned in another thread, but up until 2yrs ago, I'd have told you my biggest mistake in life had been to choose podiatry. I've since been blessed to find my niche, but it is still far from what I envisioned as an aspiring pre-med.

Consider if you spent 7 years becoming a podiatrist, busting your butt in school, rotations, then residency dreaming of the day you finally "make it". Then you get a 120k associate job with 400k in debt. After student loan payments, you're paid minimally over what you got in residency while working a similar amount of call and hours (I've known of guys expected to take 3 weeks per month of call). Now your family and friends consider you a "rich doctor" and you feel anything but... it's easy to see where there's a number of disgruntled podiatrists.
 
  • Like
  • Care
Reactions: 6 users
So as was already mentioned, not very many people will openly admit they're struggling. Whether pride, embarrassment, or just disinterest in a pep talk, I'd wager the majority of people upset at their current position would never tell you unless you're in their circle. I mentioned in another thread, but up until 2yrs ago, I'd have told you my biggest mistake in life had been to choose podiatry. I've since been blessed to find my niche, but it is still far from what I envisioned as an aspiring pre-med.

Consider if you spent 7 years becoming a podiatrist, busting your butt in school, rotations, then residency dreaming of the day you finally "make it". Then you get a 120k associate job with 400k in debt. After student loan payments, you're paid minimally over what you got in residency while working a similar amount of call and hours (I've known of guys expected to take 3 weeks per month of call). Now your family and friends consider you a "rich doctor" and you feel anything but... it's easy to see where there's a number of disgruntled podiatrists.
I think the worst is realizing you can’t live where you want to because you chose podiatry. Location is paramount
 
  • Like
  • Sad
Reactions: 5 users
I think the worst is realizing you can’t live where you want to because you chose podiatry. Location is paramount
Nomad Podiatrist, go where you're treated best
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
And when you try to tell friends and family about the struggles, none of them can comprehend how a doctor in America struggles this much compared to all of the doctors they've ever seen or talked to.
 
  • Like
  • Love
Reactions: 5 users
job market is a joke. Don't do it. Debt to income ration is not worth it.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
went to a program integrated w DO. It’s comical how different our job offers are. And before any pod defenders come to the rescue, yes even my internal/family med friends make substantially more than pod in way more desireable areas. That was a common argument used against going DO. “you’ll match family med though” turns out family med makes pretty good money
 
  • Like
Reactions: 4 users
I think one of the saddest things is how much you appreciate any money at all because you go so long making either no money through the school or minimum wage at residency.

My masters degree in a hard science STEM would be paying me much more than residency.

I had the fortune experience to get away with not having debt through my bachelors, masters, all the way until my 2nd year of podiatry school, and I'm extremely frugal (borderline cheap), and I still have way more debt than anyone should have for this career.

If I could manage 150k a year, I'd find that to be successful for this career. If I could manage 200k+ a year, I'd be mostly content. My complete goal would be to shoot for 300k, even if that's unlikely.

(In a low-medium COL area)
 
I think one of the saddest things is how much you appreciate any money at all because you go so long making either no money through the school or minimum wage at residency.

My masters degree in a hard science STEM would be paying me much more than residency.

I had the fortune experience to get away with not having debt through my bachelors, masters, all the way until my 2nd year of podiatry school, and I'm extremely frugal (borderline cheap), and I still have way more debt than anyone should have for this career.

If I could manage 150k a year, I'd find that to be successful for this career. If I could manage 200k+ a year, I'd be mostly content. My complete goal would be to shoot for 300k, even if that's unlikely.

(In a low-medium COL area)
You will do great! Get a quality residency program that will provide mentors to model your career after. Lots of opportunity. Reach out if you have questions.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
I think one of the saddest things is how much you appreciate any money at all because you go so long making either no money through the school or minimum wage at residency.

My masters degree in a hard science STEM would be paying me much more than residency.

I had the fortune experience to get away with not having debt through my bachelors, masters, all the way until my 2nd year of podiatry school, and I'm extremely frugal (borderline cheap), and I still have way more debt than anyone should have for this career.

If I could manage 150k a year, I'd find that to be successful for this career. If I could manage 200k+ a year, I'd be mostly content. My complete goal would be to shoot for 300k, even if that's unlikely.

(In a low-medium COL area)
It's rough, but it's not nearly as bad as you're making it out. Cheer up. Work hard, get a good residency, work harder, then get a good job. 150k jobs are not hard to find at all. 200k jobs are available with some cold calling or rural areas. 300k jobs are also out there, but not realistic straight out of residency without a connection or top tier residency.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
Top