You’ve dreamed of becoming a doctor one day, and you’ve prepared yourself mentally for the rigors of undergraduate college, medical school, and internships. But have you thought about what you want to specialize in? One very interesting and rewarding profession is that of Podiatry. After all, our feet are very important parts of our body, as they are what keep us from falling over when we stand up. They have to support the whole weight of our bodies, and they really take a pounding when we run. And although the field may sound boring to some, it is anything but dull. The foot is a very complex structure, made up of 26 bones as well as blood vessels, nerves, muscles, and ligaments. And Podiatrists deal with problems with the ankle as well, which can be even more complex.
To start out on the road to Podiatry, you must first go to an undergraduate school and complete a Bachelor’s Degree, or complete at least 90 university-level semester hours at a minimum. Then, you must complete a second entry degree at a Podiatric Medical School. To be accepted into one of these programs, you must score well on the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), however some programs will accept scores from the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) or the Dental Admission Test. This degree consists of four years of study, and then a 2-3 year residency. The first two years of Podiatry School is very similar to Medical School in that the basic sciences are taught, including chemistry, pathology, anatomy, and pharmacology. The following two years have more emphasis on studying the foot and ankle, and students are often placed in rotations in hospitals, clinics, and private practices. Upon completion of this program, you will earn a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) degree.
Most new DPMs go on to a residency program in a hospital for two to four years, where they receive advanced training in podiatric medicine and surgery. In addition, a rotation in many different areas such as emergency medicine, internal medicine, orthopedic surgery, and anesthesiology is also typical.
Finally, before you can practice Podiatry on your own, you will have to become licensed in the state where you intend to practice. Although every state has its own requirements, they are all similar to each other, and many states will also grant a license to a Podiatrist who is already licensed in a different state. To be licensed, the applicant typically has to have a DPM degree and also pass several examinations, both written and oral. Also, many states will require the licensee to have a minimum of two years of residency training after completion of the DPM degree.
The road to becoming a Podiatrist is a long and difficult one, but the rewards are usually worth it to those who can complete the required education. Podiatry can be a lucrative career, both in money and the ability to help others in this challenging line of work.