What does a podiatrist do?

“A podiatrist is a doctor of podiatric medicine (DPM), a physician and surgeon who treats the foot, ankle, and related structures of the leg … Podiatrists can specialize in a number of sub-specialties including surgery, sports medicine, pediatrics, wound care, and diabetic care” (Step Into Podiatry).

“A DPM is a specialist in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of lower extremity disorders, diseases and injuries. A podiatric physician works independently, utilizes x-rays and laboratory tests for diagnostic purposes, prescribes medications, orders physical therapy, sets fractures, and performs surgery. As part of a healthcare team, the DPM works closely with other health professionals to treat and control disease” (AACPM College Information Book, p. 8).

To learn more about this profession, visit the American Association of Colleges of Podiatric Medicine’s (AACPM) Career Center page on their website. Visit as well Why Podiatry? from Step Into Podiatry.

Choosing This Field

When figuring out if this profession is right for you, make sure to look at various resources to inform you about career paths in podiatry, engage in self reflection regularly, and seek out relevant clinical and service experiences.

To explore what your career could be in this field and what the right fit is for you, complete Step Into Podiatry’s Is Podiatry Right for Me? quiz and read their Testimonials. We also encourage you to explore the AACPM’s College Information Book and Student Brochure.

What is the required preparation?

There is no required major for pre-podiatry students—people are welcome to explore their major options

The prerequisite coursework is as follows (note that all science courses require a lab component):

  • Introductory Biology sequence
  • General Chemistry sequence
  • Organic Chemistry sequence
  • General Physics sequence
  • One year of English

Podiatry applicants are expected to take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), a seven-and-a-half hour exam that tests on understanding of foundational concepts and big ideas from science and social science coursework.

The typical podiatry program takes four years to complete. For information on podiatric education, visit the AACPM’s website here. For more information on the application process and how to prepare, visit the AACPM’s Admissions page.

Finding a Program

The AACPM hosts a list of Accredited U.S. Podiatric Medical Schools for individuals to explore. The CPME also offers a free, searchable List of Podiatric Medical Colleges. Step Into Podiatry also hosts their Find a School page.

Talk to the Pre-Medical & Pre-Dental Advising Office

Our office is here to support you as you explore health care pathways and careers! We welcome appointments to discuss your options with our pre-medical and pre-dental advisors. To schedule an appointment, visit our website.