Sokanu rates Podiatrists with a D employability rating, meaning this career should provide weak employment opportunities for the foreseeable future. Over the next 10 years, it is expected the US will need 3,300 Podiatrists. That number is based on 1,400 additional Podiatrists, and the retirement of 1,900 existing Podiatrists.
Demand for Podiatrists
Job growth and demand in the podiatry field will be limited by the small size of the occupation and by the fact that most podiatrists practise for between forty and fifty years. While these factors mean that there is generally little movement of patients from one practitioner to another, some opportunities will occur on a consistent basis.
As populations increase and age, the number of mobility and foot-related problems will grow. Rising rates of chronic conditions, such as diabetes and obesity, may lead to poor circulation in the feet and result in greater demand for podiatrists. In addition, a generally more active population will incur more injuries requiring podiatric treatment. The U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention have reported that more than thirty million children in the U.S. participate in youth sports, many of them in ‘hyper-competitive and repetitive play.’ This has led to a significant increase in adolescent sports injuries, of which foot and ankle injuries are especially common. Employment of podiatrists would likely grow faster if not for sustained emphasis on controlling the costs of specialty health care. Insurers are expected to continue to balance the cost of referring patients to podiatrists against the cost and availability of general practitioners and physical therapists.
Increasingly, podiatrists are forgoing solo practices and choosing to work along other health professionals in group practices, clinics, and health networks. Ongoing growth of outpatient podiatric surgery should create some additional openings. A small number of podiatrists transition into teaching, research, or administrative positions in hospitals or colleges of podiatry. In the United States, earning board certification in a specialty area from the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery (ABFAS) typically yields greater employment options. Establishing a practice will be most challenging in the geographic areas surrounding colleges of podiatric medicine, where podiatrists are concentrated.
Supply of Podiatrists
The Podiatrist industry is not particularly concentrated in any state.