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Podiatric Physician

Podiatric physicians diagnose and treat ailments, diseases, deformities, and injuries of the human foot and ankle. Their goal is to help patients prevent foot-related disorders.

Also Known As

Doctor, Foot Doctor, Foot Surgeon, Podiatric Surgeon, Podiatrist

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Doctors of Podiatric Medicine (3123.1) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Other Professional Occupations in Health Diagnosing and Treating (D023) 
  • 2011 NOC: Other professional occupations in health diagnosing and treating (3125) 
  • 2016 NOC: Other professional occupations in health diagnosing and treating (3125) 
Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Doctors of Podiatric Medicine

2006 NOC: 3123.1

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group
INNOVATIVE

Interest in mentoring patients by providing treatment of disorders and proper foot care using braces, casts, shields, splints, physical therapy and medications, and by performing surgery on the bones of the forefoot and subcutaneous soft tissues of the foot

METHODICAL

Interest in co-ordinating information obtained through tests and X-ray examinations to diagnose conditions including tumours, ulcers, fractures, skin and nail diseases and deformities of the foot

OBJECTIVE

Interest in precision working with surgical tools and mechanical and electrical techniques to treat conditions such as corns, calluses, ingrown nails, foot imbalance and flat feet

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 

It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective, and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes for this NOC group is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn About Interests

Abilities

Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

Duties
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Podiatric physicians are health care professionals who are most concerned with patients’ feet and ankles. This is similar to dentists’ concerned with patients’ mouths and optometrists with patients’ eyes. Podiatrists deal with all types of foot disorders, including:

  • Ingrown toenails
  • Tumours and cysts
  • Bunions and bone growths
  • Warts, corns, and calluses
  • Deformities from birth or neglect
  • Sprains and fractures
  • Abnormalities of gait and posture
  • Skin disorders
  • Open wounds and infections
  • Diabetic foot care
  • Disorders requiring surgical correction or amputation
  • Limb salvage surgery
  • Sports injuries

In general, podiatric physicians assess, diagnose, and treat foot problems. They assess and diagnose by observing signs and symptoms, reading X-rays and other diagnostic images, and interpreting test results. These could include blood tests, urinalysis, and micro-organism cultures. They treat foot problems by prescribing orthotic devices, providing palliative care, and sometimes prescribing medication.

Podiatric physicians also do research.

With training and experience, podiatric physicians can become podiatric surgeons. They perform surgery on soft tissue and bone. Their practice includes being on call and doing minor surgery in outpatient clinics. They may also do surgery in hospital operating rooms as part of a medical team.

Podiatric surgeons also focus on diabetic foot ulcers, limb preservation surgery, elective foot and ankle surgery, and forefoot trauma surgery. They collaborate closely with physicians in other medical specialties. These can include orthopaedic surgery, vascular surgery, internal medicine, and infectious disease.

Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2020
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg

Most podiatric physicians are self-employed and set their own hours. That most often translates into regular office hours. For patients’ convenience they may work some evenings and weekends. They must also be on call for hospital emergencies.

Podiatric surgeons provide care in hospital settings. This includes being on call and working in outpatient clinics and main operating rooms.

Doing examinations and treating patients means some standing. The rest of a podiatric physician’s workday is spent at a desk, consulting with patients and doing paperwork.

Traits & Skills
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Podiatric physicians need:

  • An interest in helping people
  • An aptitude for science
  • Manual dexterity
  • Physical strength
  • Good eyesight

They should enjoy working with people and following a routine. They should be comfortable using instruments and equipment for precision tasks.

Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2020
  • Minimum Education 8+ years post-secondary

To practice in Alberta, a podiatric physician must graduate from a college of podiatric medicine in the United States. The college must be approved by the Council on Podiatric Medical Education. The candidate must pass the required examinations and complete an approved 3-year residency.

Typically, a podiatric physician has 8 years of university education. This includes a 4-year undergraduate degree followed by 4 years of podiatric medical education. This will give them their Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) degree.

In general, applicants must have a bachelor of science (B.Sc.) or a bachelor of arts (BA) degree and successfully complete the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) to be considered for admission.

The first 2 years in podiatric medical school consist of classroom instruction and laboratory work. Studies include sciences such as anatomy, microbiology, biochemistry, physiology, pharmacology, and pathology. The final 2 years emphasize clinical practice and practical experience in all departments including surgery. Some residents may pursue a fellowship. For example, they may specialize in limb salvage of the diabetic foot, wound care, sports medicine, or trauma.

Podiatric physicians must take continuing education courses to keep up with developments in podiatric medicine and foot surgery.

Alberta recognizes the following schools in the United States:

To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2020
  • Certification Provincially Regulated

Podiatric Physician

Podiatric physicians diagnose and treat ailments, diseases, deformities, and injuries of the human foot and ankle. Their goal is to help patients prevent foot-related disorders.

Legislation

Under Alberta’s Health Professions Act [pdf] and Podiatrists Professional Regulation [pdf], registration with the College of Podiatric Physicians of Alberta (CPPA) is mandatory if you meet identified competency requirements and provide professional services directly to the public, teach the practice of the profession to members or students of the profession, or supervise registered members who provide services to the public. Registered members, who are authorized by the College, provide restricted activities specified in the Regulation. Only registered members of the CPPA may use the protected titles and designations of Podiatrist, Podiatric Surgeon, Doctor of Podiatric Medicine, Podiatric Physician, and D.P.M.

For information on what you need and other details, visit the certification profile Podiatric Physician.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Most podiatric physicians set up a general practice, either alone or with a group of colleagues. Podiatric surgeons have hospital privileges and must spend time in hospitals or clinics.

Advancement comes with being recognized as an expert in specific types of foot problems or treatments.

Podiatric physicians are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 3125: Other Professional Occupations in Health Diagnosing and Treating. In Alberta, 96% of people employed in this classification work in the Health Care and Social Assistance [pdf] industry.

The employment outlook [pdf] in this occupation is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Trends and events affecting overall employment, especially in the Health Care and Social Assistance industry
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation

In Alberta, the 3125: Other professional occupations in health diagnosing and treating occupational group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 20% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 20 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Note
NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

Alberta’s need for podiatric physicians is steadily growing. This means prospects for a career as a podiatric physician in Alberta are fairly high.

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Podiatric physicians’ earnings vary depending on:

  • Personal ability and reputation
  • Efficiency of practice management
  • Years of experience
  • Size and location of the practice
  • Government limits on expenditures for podiatric services

Podiatrists are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 3125: Other professional occupations in health diagnosing and treating.

According to the 2015 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans in the Other professional occupations in health diagnosing and treating occupational group earned on average from $36.08 to $47.98 an hour. The overall average wage was $43.63 an hour. More recent data is not available.

Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Health Care and Medical Sciences
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Canadian Podiatric Medical Association (CPMA) website: www.podiatrycanada.org

College of Podiatric Physicians of Alberta website: www.albertapodiatry.com

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 31, 2020. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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