How do I get Started in Podiatric Medicine?

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  • Written By: Dee S.
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 12 September 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
    Conjecture Corporation
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Doctors of podiatric medicine examine, diagnose, and treat injuries, diseases, and disorders of the lower leg and foot. A podiatrist can prescribe medication, set bone fractures, and perform complex surgical procedures. To get started in podiatric medicine, a person must be licensed and have received adequate education and training.

Before anyone can be admitted into a college of podiatric medicine, she must complete at least 90 hours of undergraduate study. In addition, she must have a good grade point average, especially to become accepted into the most prestigious podiatric schools. Biology, organic and inorganic chemistry, and physics must be taken during college for consideration in by most medical schools. In addition, most medical schools across the globe require some form of admission test, such as the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) in the United States, the Undergraduate Medicine and Health Science Admission Test (UMAT) in Australia, or the National Medical Admission Test (NMAT) in the Philippines.

Podiatric medicine is a relatively small field. There are only a handful of podiatric medicine schools across the globe. They are primarily found in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand. Podiatric medicine is not recognized in many countries, such as India.


The podiatric schools offer a four-year curriculum similar to that of most medical schools. During the first two years, the students receive basic classroom instruction on subjects such as, anatomy, pathology, chemistry, and pharmacology.

During the next two years, students participate in clinical rotations. The rotations can be in hospitals, private practices, or clinics. Throughout the rotations, the students learn how to perform examinations, take patient histories, read tests and x-rays, and make diagnoses.

After they have finished their fourth year, students become Doctors of Podiatric Medicine (DPM). The next step is to complete their residency program in a hospital. Most residency programs are two to four years in length. During that time they learn how to perform surgery and other medical processes such as anesthesiology or radiology. Someone interested in a career in podiatric medicine must also decide if she wishes to focus on a specialized field, such as sports injuries, diabetic foot care, geriatric or pediatric foot care, or surgery. In those cases, additional time in residency may be necessary.

To practice podiatry, a license is required. In the United States, licenses are granted for a single state; however, many states offer reciprocity with other states. In order to receive a license in podiatry, written and oral tests must be passed. Again, the exact testing method varies from place to place.



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