Podiatrists are health-care professionals working with the foot, ankle and lower leg, diagnosing illness and injuries, and performing surgery. They often detect serious health issues such as diabetes, arthritis and heart and kidney disease, as symptoms for these ailments typically originate in the feet.
Like other fields of medicine, the schools and colleges of Podiatric Medicine accept students from any major, provided they have completed course work that fulfills the science prerequisites. The minimum requirement for admission is completion of three academic years (90 semester hours) of study at an accredited college or university. The vast majority of students entering a podiatric school have completed a bachelor’s degree.
For more information on a career as a Podiatrist, visit http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/podiatrists.htm
Pre-Health Professions Advising
“Podiatric medicine is a branch of the medical sciences devoted to the study of human movement, with the medical care of the foot and ankle as its primary focus. A doctor of podiatric medicine is to the foot what a dentist
is to the mouth or an optometrist to the eye – a specialist who has undergone lengthy, thorough study to become uniquely well-qualified to treat a specific part of the body.
A Doctor of Podiatric medicine often detects serious health problems that may otherwise go unnoticed because of symptoms first expressed in problems of the lower extremity such as diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, or kidney disease. These doctors are educated in state-of –the-art techniques involving surgery, orthopedics, dermatology, physical medicine and rehabilitation.
Podiatrists work in general or group practices and are free to develop a practice specialty such as pediatrics, geriatrics, or sports medicine. In addition to private practice, they serve on the staffs of hospitals and long term care facilities, on the faculties of schools of medicine and nursing, in the armed forces as commissioned officers, in the U.S. Public Health Service, and in municipal health departments.”*
*Health Professions Admissions Guide, Strategy for Success. National Association of Advisors for the Health Professions, Inc., Carol Baffi-Dugan & Robert E. Cannon, 7th Ed. 2007.
Program of Study
Like other fields of medicine, the schools and colleges of podiatric medicine accept students from any major provided that they have completed course work that fulfills the science prerequisites. The minimum requirement for admission is completion of three academic years (90 semester hours) of study at an accredited college or university. The vast majority of students entering a podiatric school, have completed a bachelor’s degree.
The minimum course requirements for admission to the colleges of podiatric medicine are as follows:
8 semester hours --------- Biology
8 semester hours --------- General Chemistry
8 semester hours --------- Organic Chemistry
8 semester hours --------- Physics
6 semester hours --------- English
All science courses must include laboratory work. These courses should be completed by the end of the junior year, as they are good preparation for the MCAT. Also recommended are courses in cell and molecular biology, genetics, anatomy, physiology, microbiology, and biochemistry to strengthen premedical background knowledge.
While currently there are eight podiatric schools of medicine in the U.S. states, most Loras graduates are accepted and enrolled at Des Moines University, www.dmu.edu, or Dr. William Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine, in North Chicago, IL, www.rosalindfranklin.edu.
For a listing of other podiatric schools visit www.apma.org
Beyond the Classroom
Students interested in podiatric medicine should arrange to job shadow with a trained podiatrist. While there is no specific number of hours needed for acceptance into podiatric schools, it is highly recommended students spend several hours with job shadowing, working or volunteering in a clinic or hospital specializing in podiatric medicine.
The DPM Mentor Network is a network composed of approximately 500 practicing DPMs and students enrolled in colleges of podiatric medicine. This is great way to learn firsthand information and receive personal guidance into this field of medicine. Sign up now!!!!
The American Association of Colleges of Podiatric Medicine controls the application service called AACPMAS. This service processes and distributes applications to its member colleges. Students need only submit one application and this service will handle the rest. Podiatric schools require no supplemental application forms or fees.
Interested students should go directly to www.e-aacpmas.org for more information.
Because the pre-podiatric student’s requirements strongly resemble the pre-medicine student’s requirements, students can find helpful information regarding the MCAT, personal statements, interviewing, application outcomes, health science club, four year advising plans etc. on the medicine webpage.
Podiatric Medicine Resources
American Podiatric Medical Association – www.apma.org
American Association of Colleges of Podiatric Medicine – www.aacpm.org
American Association of Colleges of Podiatric Medicine’s Application Service – www.aacpmas.org