Podiatry is a branch of medicine focused on treatment of the feet. Podiatric surgeons spend eight years in school, followed by three years' residency and usually surgical fellowships. They perform corrective and reconstructive surgery on feet.
Surgical podiatrists in the U.S. earned a median yearly salary of $232,121, as of 2009, according to a survey by the American Medical Group Association. This is higher than the median income of all podiatrists, which was $119,250 in 2011, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The median is the point at which half earn more and half earn less.
About 11 percent of respondents to a survey by the American Association of Colleges of Podiatric Medicine earned $75,000 or less per year in 2008, and 14 percent earned between $76,000 and $100,000. The largest single group, 30 percent of the total, earned between $101,000 and $150,000. Another 21 percent earned $151,000 to $200,000, with the remaining 23 percent ranging from $201,000 to more than $300,000 per year. The AMGA data suggest podiatric surgeons' salaries fall into these higher ranges.
The AMGA salary survey further broke down the incomes of podiatric surgeons by four regions. The East had the lowest median income, at $163,164. The South offered better salaries, at a median of $180,204. Podiatric surgeons in the North reported significantly higher salaries, at a median income of $240,759. This was just slightly behind the West, which boasted the highest median salaries of $241,593.
The BLS projects demand for podiatrists will grow by 20 percent between 2010 and 2020, faster than the average for all occupations. The bureau points to population growth and the aging baby boomers as factors increasing demand. It also anticipates good employment prospects based on the limited number of podiatric students. There are only a handful of podiatric schools, and a 2008 report by the American Podiatric Medical Association projected they would need to triple the number of podiatric students to meet demand by 2014. These factors should combine to provide excellent prospects for podiatric surgeons beginning practice.