How do I get Podiatry Training?

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  • Written By: D. Jeffress
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 18 January 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
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Podiatrists are licensed doctors who specialize in diagnosing and treating foot injuries, congenital disorders, and numerous other problems that affect the feet and ankles. Extensive podiatry training is necessary for an individual to provide expert care for patients. Professionals in most countries are required to earn specialized doctoral degrees, pass licensing exams, and participate in residency programs that can last up to five years.

Undergraduate students who want to pursue podiatry training usually choose to major in premedical studies, biology, or human physiology. Upon the completion of a four-year bachelor's program, they can seek admittance into accredited podiatry doctoral schools. Most podiatry schools take about four years to complete, and include intensive classroom studies that detail the structure and function of the feet. Students learn about medical terminology, foot disorders, diagnostic equipment, and the latest trends in treatment. Earning a degree often requires the completion of a dissertation paper that features independent research and analyses of recent podiatry studies.

After receiving a doctoral degree, a graduate typically pursues a one-year internship or residency at a general hospital to gain hands-on podiatry training. By working under the supervision of experienced doctors, new doctors receive expert podiatry training and become familiar with working in a medical setting. Internship and residency programs at hospitals expose individuals to the various duties of doctors beyond providing direct care. Participants learn about keeping patient records, reviewing medical and insurance forms, writing prescriptions, and scheduling appointments.


After the yearlong program, most new podiatrists enter more specialized residencies at a foot clinic, private practice, or hospital. These residencies, which typically last two to four years, allow new doctors to work directly with patients under the supervision of established podiatrists. They are exposed to many different foot conditions and disorders, and gain firsthand experience with diagnosis and treatment. Near the end of a residency, a new podiatrist can take a national or state licensing exam to gain full credentials and begin working independently.

Licensing tests are usually administered by government-affiliated organizations, such as the Health Professions Council in the United Kingdom or state-specific podiatry boards in the United States. Doctors must demonstrate the knowledge and skills they have gained through podiatry training in order to pass written and practical exams. In some locations, doctors who want to perform surgical procedures must pass a series of additional licensing tests. Many professionals choose to take additional, voluntary national certification exams to further build their credentials and improve their chances of starting successful practices.



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