Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) is to the foot what a dentist is to the mouth, or an ophthalmologist to the eye - 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; Treats deformities, such as flat or weak feet and foot imbalance, using mechanical and electrical methods; Treats conditions, such as corns, calluses, heel spurs, ingrown toenails, arch problems, shortened tendons, cysts, bone disorders, and abscesses, sometimes by surgical methods; Fits corrective inserts called orthotics, designs plaster casts and strappings to correct deformities, and designs custom made shoes; Designs flexible casting for immobilization of foot and ankle fractures, sprains, or other injuries; Design mechanical devices to correct walking patterns, and balance, and to promote the overall ability to move about more efficiently and comfortably; Provides individual consultations to patients concerning continued treatment of disorders and preventive foot care; Refers 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 is the best major of 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 have to take either the MCAT or GRE in order to apply. About half of the Podiatry School will accept either the MCAT or the GRE and half only accept MCAT scores. Get in contact with the schools you are interest in for more information.
What kind of GPA and MCAT do I need to get into 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 and Second year:
- Gross Anatomy
- Infectious Diseases
Third and 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 centralize application process for all Podiatry Schools, begins processing admission applications immediately after Labor Day each 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 of download at the AACPM career website.
Deadline Dates are as follows: For priority consideration April 1st of each year for the upcoming FALL admission. The FINAL AACPMAS DEADLINE DATE is August 15th 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, extra curricular and community activities, personal interview, professional potential, etc. Admission criteria may vary slightly by institution; therefore, contact the college(s) of your choice to obtain a copy of its catalog for specific requirements.
What are some of the characteristics of entering students?
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 a bachelors degree, with 43% majoring in biology. An additional 20% major in other physical sciences and 5% of this group are pre-health majors.
First-year enrollment for the 1999 entering class ranged from 50 to 115 per college for a total of 606 enrollees, of which 210 (35%) were female. Total enrollment for all seven colleges of Podiatric medicine in 1999-2000 was 2,258.
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 for the upcoming millennium.
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 which provide an interdisciplinary experience.
Podiatric medical students may select either non-surgical or surgical-based residency programs. Non-surgical 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 non-surgical 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)
- Ohio 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 a recent survey conducted by the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA 1998 Podiatric Practice Survey), the average NET incomes of full-time (30+ hours/week) podiatric physicians in 1997 was $110,600.