How to Become a Podiatrist
Podiatrists are licensed medical practitioners who perform medical treatment on the feet and the lower part of the legs. They work with patients who have a variety of symptoms and diagnoses making sure they leave with the best use of their feet as well as the best mobility. These professionals are also referred to as Doctors of Podiatric Medicine (DPMs) and are considered specialists on these parts of the body.
The majority of Podiatrists treat patients with foot and lower leg symptoms and disorders in private practices and clinics. A private practice can include doctors who are in business together. Podiatrists are less likely to handle emergency cases than other types of doctors and can rely on scheduling their patients in order to treat them.
Someone who wants to become a Podiatrist may find the foot to be an intriguing part of the body and can base their work on the importance of taking care of this body part. After all, the feet help people get around and its purpose is of upmost importance since the time someone begins to walk.
Education Requirements to Become a Podiatrist
Students interested in making the steps to become a Podiatrist will need to follow the typical medical student route. A lot of time has to be spent in furthering their education, completing a residency and securing licensure in order to begin their practice which, on average can take over eight years to complete.
In order for a candidate to get into a Podiatric college program, they must maintain a high undergraduate grade point average, complete a Bachelor's degree and have a competitive score on the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). In addition, candidates must assure they have completed classes in sciences. These classes include 8 hour credits in the following: Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Physics, Biology and a minimum of two classes in English.
During the first two years in a Podiatric program, candidates will learn an extensive amount regarding the basic sciences including anatomy, pathology and chemistry. During their fourth year, students are required to participate in clinical rotations. Throughout this time, students will learn how perform a physical exam, study the results and take a patient's podiatric history. Students will earn a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) after completing their program.
Every state has different requirements for licensing Podiatric Doctors. However, every state including the District of Columbia does require a candidate to acquire a license. All applicants need to complete a Podiatric program at and accredited institution and pass a written and oral exam. Podiatrists must maintain their licensure and are required to renew every few years and take continuing education classes in order to do so.
Podiatrist Job Description
Podiatrists are responsible for diagnosing and treating disorders or diseases affecting a patient's foot. A Podiatrist will take a patient's general and foot health information and determine the source of worry for a patient. After determining a diagnosis, a Podiatrist will choose the best treatment plan to treat any ailments.
Some symptoms and disorders that Podiatrists are able to diagnose and treat include the following:
- Ingrown toenails
- Foot Injuries
- Symptoms associated with Diabetes that distress the foot
- Other diseases that affect the foot
Podiatrist Salary and Career Path
This profession is expected to grow at an average pace with an increase of 9% through the year 2018. This slight increase can be attributed to the fact that some people are becoming more active, the growth of the older population and the increase of people being diagnosed with diabetes and obesity that ultimately affect foot health.
A medical student who wants become a Podiatrist can expect to earn a very healthy wage. Podiatrists who own a private practice in conjunction with another professional is likely to earn more because of the lower costs associated with running a practice alone. However, the national median wage for all podiatrists is approximately $113,500 according to figures from bls.gov in 2008. Podiatry Management Magazine performed a survey and came up with a similar estimate at $114,750 per year.
*Salary Information provided by the Bureau Of Labor Statistics