How To Become A Podiatric Assistant
A podiatric assistant is a type of medical assistant, who works within the field of podiatry. These medical professional help patients who are having issues with their feet and ankles. They help in a clinical setting, as well as complete administrative tasks at the office. You do not need any official college training to work as a podiatric assistant, which makes this a great career choice for people who are eager to start a career in health care.
Why Become A Podiatric Assistant
Podiatry is a branch of medicine that specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of illnesses and injuries involving the foot and ankle. Many people are susceptible to illnesses and injuries in this region, especially the elderly and athletes.
Podiatry as a discipline involves a wide range of procedures. Patients often come to podiatrists for assistance with diabetic foot care, wound care, fractures, arthritis, tendonitis, fungal contaminations and plantar warts. Plantar fasciitis is a common ailment that is treated in a podiatry office. These are just a few of the medical conditions patients may have.
Podiatric assistants help as part of the medical team in a physician’s office. They work alongside the main podiatrist, helping with anything that may need to be done. An assistant may help perform tests and conduct foot treatments. They often help set up the examination room and clean it up after the patient has left. They clean medical equipment. They might develop x-rays for the podiatrist to look at. They may make castings of a patient’s feet. If surgery is necessary, a podiatric assistant often helps in the surgery room.
Not only do podiatric assistants help with clinical tasks, but they also help with administrative responsibilities in a podiatry office. They are responsible for answering phones, medical billing, checking patients into the office, filing paperwork, and other tasks as needed.
This is a good career for somebody who enjoys working directly with patients, enjoys the health care profession, is compassionate, knowledgeable, and caring.
Podiatric Assistants should have the following qualities and skills:
- Detail oriented
- Listening skills
- Customer service
- Administrative skills
- Manual dexterity
Podiatric Assistant Work Environment
Podiatric assistants treat patients who suffer from all kinds of foot related maladies. They most often work in podiatry offices, working alongside a podiatrist. They see many patients, including seniors who have foot and ankle illnesses and injuries.
This job involves working directly with patients. It involves standing and walking for long periods of time. Podiatric assistants often work long hours. They may be required to do administrative tasks, such as medical billing and answering telephones. They may be required to work weekend hours.
Podiatric Assistant Salary
The median annual wage for medical assistants was $31,540 in 2016, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. This category includes podiatric assistants.
Podiatric assistants with additional education or experience may be able to make more money. Although certification is not required for this position, those with certification often receive higher pay. Podiatric assistants typically work full-time and regular hours in physician offices.
Podiatric Assistant Career Outlook
Employment growth is expected to increase by 29 percent from 2014 to 2024 for all medical assistants, including podiatric assistants. This is a huge increase compared to other professions within the United States.
Health care will always be a necessary field. New health care laws have allowed more people to seek out medical professionals for their individual needs. Advanced technology has enabled people to live longer, healthier lives. The aging population will seek out more medical professionals to help them with their issues. Proper foot and ankle care will continue to be a concern for the senior populations. Podiatrists will employ podiatric assistants to help them treat patients in their offices.
Podiatric Assistant Degree
If you would like to become a podiatric assistant, read more below.
Step 1: Receive on the job training. There is no specific degree required to become a podiatric assistant. This makes this career an excellent choice for people who wish to enter into the medical field, but do not want to spend many years in college. As a podiatric assistant, you will be able to get started in your career right away.
Most podiatrist offices will hire you and train you while on the job. You should have relevant work experience, and knowledge of the medical field. Helpful experience includes working in the health care field, working directly with patients and doing administrative tasks.
Step 2: Receive certification. There is no requirement to become certified as a podiatric assistant. Anybody can be hired and work in this field, with a high school diploma. Some organizations have recently begun to offer certifications in this field to those who are interested. One such organization is American College of Foot & Ankle Orthopedics & Medicine (ACFAOM).
The organization offers a comprehensive training and certification program for those interested in becoming podiatric assistants. Online programs involve education and exam work. Participants will be required to complete an internship with a licensed podiatrist in a clinical setting.