Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) is a doctor specializing in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of foot disorders resulting from injury or disease. Podiatrists make diagnoses of foot ailments, such as tumors or ulcers, fractures, skin or nail diseases, and congenital or acquired deformities; treat deformities, such as flat or weak feet and foot imbalance; treat conditions such as corns, calluses, heel spurs, ingrown toenails, arch problems, shortened tendons, cysts, bone disorders, and abscesses; fit corrective inserts called orthotics; design plaster casts and strappings to correct deformities; design custom made shoes; design flexible casting for immobilization of foot and ankle fractures, sprains, or other injuries; design mechanical devices to correct walking patterns and balance to promote overall mobility; provide individual consultations to patients concerning continued treatment of disorders and preventive foot care; refer patients to other physicians when symptoms observed in the feet indicate disorders such as diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, or kidney disease.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the best majors for podiatric medicine?
Podiatry schools do not require a particular major. Most students major in one of the sciences. Biology is the most common major followed by chemistry and physics. You will take either the MCAT or GRE in order to apply. About half of podiatry schools will accept either the MCAT or the GRE and half only accept MCAT scores. Contact the schools of your choice for specific requirements.
What kind of GPA and MCAT do I need for admission to podiatry school?
The average GPA is 3.1. The average MCAT score is 21. Ninety percent of the students that apply to Podiatry school submit MCAT scores but most school will accept the GRE general exam and GRE science subject exam.
What kind of courses will I be taking at a typical college of podiatric medicine?
The course of instruction leading to the DPM (Doctorate in Podiatric Medicine) degree is four years in length.
First & second year:
- Gross Anatomy
- Infectious Diseases
Third & fourth year:
clinical sciences such as general diagnosis (history taking, physical examination, clinical laboratory procedures, and diagnostic radiology), therapeutics (pharmacology, physical medicine, orthotics, and prosthetics), surgery, anesthesia, and operative podiatric medicine.
When can I apply to the colleges of podiatric medicine?
AACPMAS, the centralized application process for all podiatry schools, begins processing admission applications immediately after Labor Day every September for fall admission the following year. Applicants may send their completed application to AACPMAS in August for review to guarantee their application will be in the first mailing of applicant files to the colleges in September. Application forms are available for download at the AACPM career website.
Deadline Dates are as follows: For priority consideration April 1 of each year for the upcoming FALL admission. The final AACPMAS deadline date is August 15 of each year for FALL admission of the same year.
What are the selection procedures for admission?
Potential podiatric medical students may be evaluated on the basis of their grade point average (GPA), performance on the MCAT or GRE, extracurricular and community activities, personal interview, professional potential, etc. Admission criteria may vary slightly by institution, therefore contact the colleges of your choice for specific requirements.
What are characteristics of applicants to podiatry school?
Approximately 500-700 applicants apply to podiatric medical school each academic year, of which usually 85% are accepted. First year enrollment totals range from 600-700 per year.
About 98% of the applicants to podiatric medical colleges hold bachelor degrees, with 43% majoring in biology. An additional 20% major in other physical sciences and 5% are prehealth majors.
Is there a demand for doctors of podiatry?
Yes! Injuries sustained by an increasing number of men and women engaging in exercise and fitness have created a great demand for doctors of podiatric medicine. Ailments of the foot are among the most widespread and neglected health problems in our nation today. Additionally, the number of older Americans is increasing almost three times as fast as the rest of the population, and subsequently adds to the demand for podiatric physicians. Studies on manpower in the health professions indicate the need to increase the number of practicing podiatrists in the US.
What are the licensing and board certification requirements?
National boards are taken in two parts while in podiatric medical school. Part I covers basic science areas and is generally taken at the conclusion of the second year. Part II covers clinical areas and is taken in the spring of the fourth year, prior to graduation. Satisfactory completion of Parts I and II of the national board is one of the requirements for state licensure. Most states will also require a written and/or oral examination prior to licensure. Podiatric physicians are licensed in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico to treat the foot and its related or governing structures by medical, surgical or other means. State licensing requirements generally include graduation from one of the seven accredited colleges of podiatric medicine, passage of the national board exams, postgraduate training and written and oral examinations.
Podiatrists may also become certified in one of three specialty areas: orthopedics, primary medicine, or surgery.
National podiatric specialty boards grant certification to qualified podiatrists who have completed the specified educational requirements and who successfully complete written and oral examinations.
Is residency training required?
After completing four years of podiatric medical training, the podiatrist is required by almost all states to complete at least one year of postgraduate residency training in an approved healthcare institution where residents from other disciplines may also be training. The training program consists of a number of rotations, such as anesthesiology, internal medicine, radiology, infectious disease, surgery orthopedics, emergency room and pediatrics to provide an interdisciplinary experience.
Podiatric medical students may select either nonsurgical or surgical-based residency programs. Nonsurgical residencies are generally one year in one of the following areas: a rotating podiatric residency (RPR), providing an interdisciplinary exposure; a primary podiatric medical residency (PPMR), emphasizing primary care and family medicine; or a podiatric orthopedic residency (POR), concentrating on the preservation and restoration of function of the lower extremities. Surgically-based residencies (PSR-12, 24, or 24+) vary in length from one to three years depending on the degree of expertise one wishes to develop in the surgical arena. Very often students complete both nonsurgical and surgical residency programs.
Students and residency programs are brought together through a matching program similar to that of allopathic medicine. Students may apply through the Centralized Application Service for Podiatric Residencies (CASPR) in order to save time and money during their residency search. For additional information about residency programs call AACPM’s Graduate Services Department at 1-800-443-3514.
Once I’m a DPM, how do I keep up with new developments in the profession?
The professional association for practicing Podiatrists is the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) which has component societies in every state. Because most all of the states impose continuing podiatric medical education requirements for license renewal, educational programs and seminars are developed and presented each year by the colleges as well as the state associations and the national podiatric medical association.
Where can I find colleges of podiatric medicine?
- Barry University School of Graduate Medical Sciences (Miami, FL)
- California College of Podiatric Medicine (San Francisco, CA)
- Des Moines University College of Podiatric Medicine (Des Moines, IA)
- Dr. William M. School of College of Podiatric Medicine (Chicago, IL)
- New York College of Podiatric Medicine (New York, NY)
- Kent State University College of Podiatric Medicine (Cleveland, OH)
- Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine (Philadelphia, PA)
What do Podiatrists earn?
The work hours of a podiatric physician vary from less than 40, to 50 hours or more per week. In general, the practice of podiatric medicine lends itself to flexible hours and is therefore comfortable for individuals who want to make time for family, friends and other involvement's that characterize a balanced lifestyle.
Earnings of podiatrists engaged in private practice depend upon factors such as location, size of their practice, their ability, professional reputation and length of time in practice.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the yearly median pay for podiatrists was $116,440 in 2012.