How to Become a Podiatrist
Podiatrists are medical professionals who take care of injuries or problems relating to the foot, ankle and lower leg. They diagnose illnesses and provide treatment options for issues relating to the lower extremities.
What Does a Podiatrist Do?
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the following are the duties of podiatrists:
“Assess the condition of a patient’s feet, ankles, or lower legs by reviewing the patient’s medical history, listening to his or her concerns, and performing a physical examination
Diagnose foot, ankle, and lower leg problems through physical exams, x rays, medical laboratory tests, and other methods
Provide treatment for foot, ankle, and lower leg ailments, such as prescribing special shoe inserts (orthotics) to improve a patient’s mobility
Perform foot and ankle surgeries, such as removing bone spurs, fracture repairs, and correcting other foot and ankle deformities
Advise and instruct patients on foot and ankle care and on general wellness techniques
Coordinate patient care with other physicians
Refer patients to other physicians or specialists if they detect larger health problems, such as diabetes or vascular disease
Conduct research, read journals, and attend conferences to keep up with advances in podiatric medicine and surgery”
If you are interested in becoming a part of this field, the following article will be of use to you.
Should I Become a Podiatrist?
Podiatry is a huge field that impacts the lives of many. Feet are crucial for balance and mobility, therefore, their health and maintenance is an important medical concern. The following table provides a quick look at the basic career statistics for podiatrists in the US.
Doctoral or Professional Degree
Required by all States
3-Year Podiatric Medicine and Surgery Residency (PMSR)
Compassion, critical thinking, attention to detail, interpersonal skills, communication skills
Annual Mean Salary (2018)
Job Outlook (2018-28)
Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics
Career Outlook for Podiatrists
The job growth in this field is expected to be at 6%, which is as fast as the average growth for all occupations. As the population in the country ages, the number of people with problems relating to mobility and movement will increase. Growing rates of chronic illnesses, such as obesity and diabetes would also affect the number of people needing medical attention in this regard. Job prospects are expected to be good, even though there is a limited number of colleges of podiatry.
Steps to Become a Podiatrist
Step 1: Obtain a Bachelor’s Degree
This is the first step in the educational path to getting a podiatry degree. Even though there is no particular major requirement at this stage, students need to complete prerequisite courses such as biology, physics and chemistry.
Step 2: Clear the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT)
This standardized test’s scores will be used by medical college admission committees, along with interviews, GPAs and letters of recommendations to determine whether or not to admit you into a medical degree program.
Step 3: Complete a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine Degree
This four year degree would involve 2 years of classroom and lab training, whereas the third and fourth year will be focused on clinical rotations. Common coursework would include pathology, pharmacology, anatomy and biology. This degree would result in a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) credential.
Step 4: Complete a Residency
Following the completion of medical school, students will be required to apply and complete a 3-year long podiatric medicine and surgery residency (PMSR). This would provide the required amount of hands-on experience in a healthcare setting.
Step 5: Get Licensed
Podiatrists in the US are required to be licensed. They must pay the required amount of fee and pass all parts of the American Podiatric Medical Licensing Exam (APMLE), administered by the National Board of Podiatric Medical Examiners. Some states may also require candidates to clear a state-specific exam.