A podiatrist provides medical care for feet and ankles, including the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of foot and ankle conditions. They may treat a range of problems, such as arthritis, deformities, bunions, arch problems and heel spurs. In addition to earning bachelor's degrees, podiatrists are required to attend 4-year, podiatry schools followed by residency programs.
Essential Information :
Those interested in pursuing careers as podiatrists must first complete bachelor's degree programs. This is followed by application to an accredited college of podiatric medicine. Students may choose to further specialize and must be licensed in order to legally practice. Most podiatrists begin their educations by earning bachelor's degrees. While many students choose to major in science-related fields, it is generally not required. Students who hold unrelated bachelor's degrees may be asked to complete certain science courses before applying to podiatry school. A Doctor of Podiatric Medicine degree must be earned in order to practice as a podiatrist.
Program Levels in Podiatry: Doctoral programs
Program Length: 4 years for doctoral programs
Prerequisites: Have a bachelor's degree before entering a doctoral program
All podiatrists must be state licensed before they can legally practice. This involves holding a DPM degree from an accredited institution and passing an officially administered oral and written exam. Additional requirements may vary from state to state. A passing score on the National Board of Podiatric Medical Examiners (NBPME) exam may qualify podiatrists for licensing in some states. The NBPME exam consists of three sections that are generally taken in sequence.
Podiatry workshops are widely available and often address new technological advances. Sports medicine organizations and local universities may offer seminars on a variety subjects, including foot and ankle rehabilitation, neurological assessment in podiatry and radiology of the foot. Some workshops may address cost control techniques in podiatric care. Most states require podiatrists to complete a certain number of continuing education hours in order to maintain certification. Colleges of podiatric medicine may offer on-site or online courses on a variety of topics, including podopediatrics, functional orthopedics and dermatology. Podiatrists may also obtain specialty certifications that require advanced podiatry training, practical podiatry experience and additional competency testing.