Job Description of a Chiropodist

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    Identification

    • Chiropodists are specialists who are now usually called podiatrists. These specialists are able to diagnose problems that occur with the feet and perform treatments that are designed to relieve foot problems, cure foot diseases and prevent future foot ailments. Chiropodists treat dermatological problems including corns, callouses, verrucas, in-grown toenails and fungal infections. For foot illnesses that cannot be cured, the chiropodist provides long-term care. Some chiropodists perform minor surgery in order to correct foot problems. Other chiropodists analyze an individual's walk and provide advice on how to change walking habits in order to correct foot problems.

    Conditions

    • Chiropodists usually work in small offices that are clean and comfortable. Some chiropodists work alone, while others have support from assistants and administrative personnel. Some chiropodists make house calls, traveling to patients when the patients cannot travel to the clinic. Many chiropodists work in their own private practice. The stress for a chiropodist is sometimes lower than other doctors because emergency surgeries occur less often. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, chiropodists work between 30 and 60 hours a week.

    Education

    • In the United States, chiropodists must attend a 3- to 4-year bachelor's degree program. Then they must complete a 4-year podiatric program. Finally, chiropodists must complete state and national examinations including the National Board of Podiatric Medical Examiners license. Canadian and British students must attend a 3-year college program. Effective chiropodists are good with science, work well with people and are good at working with their hands.

    Outlook

    • The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that chiropodists held 12,200 jobs in 2008, with 19 percent of these chiropodists being self-employed. The need for chiropodists is expected to grow by 9 percent between 2008 and 2018, which is the average growth expected of occupations in the United States. While an aging baby boomer population develops more foot problems, many dermatological foot problems are not covered by health insurance programs unless they cause problems with circulation. Therefore, only those who have disposable incomes usually see chiropodists.

    Earnings

    • The median annual salary for chiropodists in 2008 was $113,560 in 2008, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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