Podiatrists, also known as doctors of podiatry, strive to improve the overall health of their patients by focusing on preventing, diagnosing, and treating conditions associated with the foot and ankle. They treat a variety of conditions and employ innovative treatments to improve the well-being of their patients.
Podiatrists treat corns, calluses, ingrown toenails, bunions, heel spurs, and arch problems; ankle and foot injuries, deformities, and infections; and foot complaints associated with diabetes and other diseases. To treat these problems, podiatrists prescribe drugs and physical therapy, set fractures, and perform surgery. They also fit corrective shoe inserts called orthotics, design plaster casts and strappings to correct deformities, and design custom-made shoes.
Due to the relationship of the foot to the body, podiatrists are adept at identifying early symptoms of serious diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Currently there are nine schools in the United States that have a nationally accredited podiatry program.
Tips for students interested in pursuing a degree in podiatry
- Podiatrists, need a Doctor of Optometry, which is obtained through completion of a 4 year program at an accredited school of podiatry. Due to a the importance of a strong science background in this field, many students choose a science major such as biology or chemistry for their bachelor's degree.
- Currently there are nine colleges of podiatry as well as over 200 hospitals and organizations that offer graduate training in podiatric medicine.
- Applications to any of the nine colleges of podiatry in the United States can be done through the American Association of Colleges of Podiatric Medicine (AACPM) website.
- Be aware of application submission dates. For the AACPM early registration can be completed up to April 1st for the upcoming Fall semester and the final deadline is June 30th for the upcoming Fall semester.
- Research the admissions requirements for the podiatric colleges or programs that you are interested and map out your classes for your undergraduate work. You can also meet with an advisor to assist you with this.
- Check with the admissions office of each school of interest in order to determine the school's specific prerequisites and admissions requirements. Complete specific prerequisite courses including two years of chemistry, one year of biology, and one year of physics.
- Prepare extensively for the entrance exam that is required for the specific graduate school. Most podiatric schools use the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) as their chosen entrance exam.
- Review the SLED Testing and Education Reference Center for MCAT test preps. You will want to choose Graduate Schools after clicking on Testing and Education Reference Center.
- Search out internships and job shadowing opportunities with local podiatrists.
- Get involved in the pre-med society they can be reached at www.uafpremed.org or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Courses Required by Most Schools for Admission**:
|General Chemistry with Lab||8|
Chem 105X, 106X
|General Biology with Lab||8|
BIOL 115X, 116X
Chem 321, 322
(also Chem 324 if lab requied)
|Physics with Lab||8|
Phys 103X & 104x or
Phys 211X & 212X
|English Composition||6||English 111X & 211X or 213X|
**Admission requirements vary by school. While this table was compiled by researching many podiatry schools and programs, it is important to check the admission requirements for each school that you are interested in to be sure that you will meet all of the prerequisites required by that school. A course listed as recommended here may be required by your school of choice.
Students attending UAF may be interested in degrees in Biological Sciences or BioChemistry since many of the prerequisites for podiatric school are required in these bachelor degrees. Though students are free to choose any bachelor's degree as long as they meet the prerequisites of the desired podiatry program. Students considering a career in podiatry should see an Academic Advisor or a departmental advisor for assistance with program advisement, exploration of professional schools and licensing requirements.