What is a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine?
A doctor of podiatric medicine (DPM) specializes in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of foot disorders, diseases and injuries. The DPM works closely with other health professionals to treat and control disease. The podiatric medicine field includes treatment of sports injuries, diseases and the overall health of patients with emphasis on the foot and ankle.
The course of instruction leading to the DPM degree is four years in length. The first two years are devoted largely to classroom instruction and laboratory work in the basic medical sciences, such as anatomy, physiology, microbiology, biochemistry, pharmacology, and pathology. During the third and fourth years, students concentrate on courses in the clinical sciences, gaining experience in the college clinics, community clinics, and accredited hospitals. Clinical courses include general diagnosis (history taking, physical examination, clinical laboratory procedures, and diagnostic radiology), therapeutics (pharmacology, physical medicine, orthotics, and prosthetics), surgery, anesthesia, and operative podiatric medicine. After completing the four-year course and receiving the DPM degree, the graduate is eligible to take a state board examination to obtain a license to practice in about one-third of the states; two-thirds require an additional year of postdoctoral work before licensure.
There are eight colleges of podiatric medicine in the United States. All receive accreditation from the Council on Podiatric Medical Education and grant the degree of doctor of podiatric medicine (DPM).
Typically, DPM programs expect a BA or BS with the following undergraduate curriculum:
|1 year||Biology with lab*||BIOL 411-412|
|1 year||Chemistry with lab||CHEM 403-404|
|1 year||Physics with lab||PHYS 401-402 or PHYS 407-408|
|1 year||Organic Chemistry||CHEM 651-654 or CHEM 547-550|
*Dr. William M. Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine requires 12 semester hours of Biological sciences
Admissions requirements can vary somewhat from school to school. Research colleges at the American Association of Colleges of Podiatric Medicine (AACPM) to determine the specific requirements of the programs.
A number of factors are considered in admitting students to a college of podiatric medicine. Undergraduates with liberal arts backgrounds, as well as those with science majors, are encouraged to apply. Potential podiatric medical students may be evaluated on the basis of their grade point average (GPA), performance on the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) (or in some cases the GRE), extra curricular and community activities, personal interview, and professional potential.
Traditionally the MCAT has been the only standardized test required for admissions to the colleges of podiatric medicine. However, some colleges (Barry University School of Graduate Medical Sciences, California School of Podiatric Medicine, Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine, and Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine) have indicated their willingness to accept the Graduate Record Exam (GRE).
American Association of Colleges of Podiatric Medicine’s Application Service (AACPMAS), opens the first week of August for FALL admission the following year.
Other requirements for admission include Letters of Recommendation, Official Transcripts from all under-graduate and graduate institutions previously attended, which are to be sent directly to the colleges, as well as personal interviews.
A valuable source of information is the American Association of Colleges of Podiatric Medicine (AACPM) and the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA). Contact them at:
9312 Old Georgetown Road
Bethesda, MD 20814
Phone (800) ASK-APMA