Doctors of podiatric medicine diagnose and treat conditions associated with lower legs, feet and ankles. They may prescribe medication and orthotics for corrective treatment. Specific ailments treated by podiatrists include corns, heel spurs, injuries, and issues related to cardiovascular problems or diabetes. Podiatric medicine program levels include certification programs as well as bachelor's programs and doctoral degrees in podiatry. Online courses and programs are available depending on the school.
Podiatry training programs require 90 credit hours of undergraduate work and potentially a bachelor's degree for admission. In addition, a 2-3 year residency might be needed in order to be eligible for licensure. Students can expect a doctoral program to take 4 years to complete.
Doctor of Podiatric Medicine Degree
Entrants to podiatric programs must have completed a minimum of 90 credit hours of undergraduate work, and most have earned a bachelor's degree. Coursework should include inorganic and organic chemistry, physics and anatomy. Additionally, students are expected to take the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) and must submit letters of recommendation and a personal statement when applying.
The coursework within a podiatric medicine program is very similar to a pre-medical education. The initial two years are focused on basic science coursework, followed by two years of clinical training. Specific classes include:
Clinical rotations include:
- Emergency medicine
- Internal medicine
- Podiatric surgery
Employment Information and Salary Outlook
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov), a job growth of 14% is expected for podiatrists between 2014 and 2024, a faster than average rate when compared to other career fields. Podiatrists earned a mean annual wage of $136,180 in 2015.
Following degree completion, a 2- or 3-year residency training program is required in order to be eligible for professional licensure. DPM graduates who successfully complete residency training are eligible to sit for the certifying examination offered by the American Board of Podiatric Surgery. Upon successful certification, graduates can apply to be Fellows of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS) in the areas of orthopedics, primary care or surgery.
Students interested in a career in podiatry must complete an intricate amount of education, residency training, and board certification in order to practice. Graduates of doctoral programs are prepared to work as podiatrists once a residency is finished.