How to become a podiatrist is not in the minds of young people who want to be in the medical field. A podiatrist is not as popular as a pediatrician, oncologist or cardiologist. Who goes for a foot check-up when it is in pain or if it has an infection? Do you directly go to a podiatrist because you know that he is the doctor of foot ailments? No. At first, you will have your foot checked by your family doctor who will then refer you to apodiatrist. But for some, especially athletes, podiatrists are a household name.
The Doctor of Podiatric Medicine or DPM is a professional who specializes in foot injuries and diseases. Everything concerning the foot, he is the doctor to go to. He is an expert in preventing, diagnosing and treating various foot concerns. The DPM performs medical and surgical assistance to people who has problems with their foot, ankle and lower leg.
What are the duties of a podiatrist ?
When a patient comes in for a check-up, the podiatrist will firstask the patient about the problem. Then, he will assess the foot and physically examine the injury or infection. The DPM will then diagnose the condition and he may prescribe a treatment or ask for laboratory tests to be done. He may also push for surgery if needed and may refer the patient to other doctors who specialize in specific fields, for example, a diabetic. Foot injuries are sometimes manifestations of serious health problems like diabetes or obesity.
Find out more about What is a podiatrist.
How can one get a degree in Podiatric Medicine ?
How to become a podiatrist is somewhat similar on how other aspiring medical practitioners study to be, let us say, a neurologist or gynecologist. First, a 4-year pre-medical program must be finished by the student in a Podiatric Medicine recognized institution. There is no required 4-year course except that there must be Biology, Chemistry, Physics and English subjects finished. After earning the pre-med degree, the student must take the MCAT or the Medical College Admission Test. The student must pass the MCAT before he can be admitted to Podiatric Medicine studies.
As of 2012, 9 colleges in the U.S. have that Podiatric Medicine program accreditation. This accreditation is from the Council on Podiatric Medical Education. The medical proper on Podiatry Medicine takes four years to finish. The first two years is comprised of the basic medical courses but after that, subjects are podiatry-specific. These include biomechanics of the lower extremities, anatomy of the lower limbs and trauma on the foot, ankle and lower leg. They will also do some clinical rotations as supervised by their professors.
After successfully passing the DPM program, the student will now be referred to as “doctor” already. He has to undergo a residency of three years in a hospital for experience which is also supervised by a seasoned practitioner. There are actual podiatric patients there who will require medical and surgical procedures. Specialized podiatric areas are also available if the doctor wants to pursue some more.
To practice Podiatric Medicine, a state- imposed license needs to be secured first. The doctor needs to pay a fee and take a written examination given by the National Board of Podiatric Medical Examiners. There may be oral examinations as well. The license or certificate depends upon the state requirements or where the doctor wants to practice Podiatric Medicine. Workshops, seminars and continuing education are all mandatory.
Read more about What does a podiatrist do.
How much does a podiatrist earn ?
In 2011, the Bureau of Labor Statistics declared that DPM’s receive around $120,000 per annum. The surgical podiatrists are earning more than the medical podiatrists. In average, they rake in $170,000.
If you want to know how to become a podiatrist and the related costs to it, you can search for the 9 accredited schools online. Their fees vary. Just be prepared to spend $27000 to $32000 each year for your doctorate studies. This amount does not include your living expenses, books and other fees. It may be a long road ahead since you have to work hard for 11 years but it will all pay off if you have the heart and the longing to be a podiatrist.