American Association of Colleges of Podiatric Medicine
 
 
 

Table of Contents

 


What is a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine?

A Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) is to the foot what a dentist is to the mouth, or an ophthalmologist to the eye --- a doctor specializing in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of foot disorders resulting from injury or disease. A DPM makes independent judgments, prescribes medications and performs surgery. The human foot has a complex interrelation with the rest of the body which means that it may be the first area to show signs of serious conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Since the podiatric physician is often the first to detect symptoms of these disorders, he or she becomes a vital and sometimes lifesaving link in the health care team.

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What does the Curriculum Consist of at the Colleges of Podiatric Medicine?

The course of instruction leading to the DPM degree is four years in length. The first two years are devoted to classroom instruction and laboratory work in the basic medical sciences, such as anatomy, physiology, microbiology, biochemistry, pharmacology, and pathology. There is some clinical exposure in the first and second year. 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), anesthesia and surgery.

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When can I Apply to the Colleges of Podiatric Medicine?

AACPMAS begins processing admission applications the first Wednesday in August for FALL Admission the following year. To complete the on-line web application to the colleges of podiatric medicine, visit our website at www.aacpm.org or go directly to the application's URL at https://portal.aacpmas.org. Call 1-617-612-2900 if you have any questions.

Deadline Dates are as follows: For priority consideration April 1st of each year for the upcoming FALL admission. The FINAL AACPMAS DEADLINE DATE is June 30th of each year for FALL admission of the same year.

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What are the Selection Procedures for Admission?

Potential podiatric medical students may be evaluated on the basis of their grade point average (GPA), performance on the MCAT or US DAT, extra-curricular and community activities, work or volunteering in a health care setting, shadowing a podiatrist, personal interview, professional potential, etc. Admission criteria may vary slightly by institution; therefore, visit the website of the school or college of your choice to obtain specific information.

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What are Some of the Characteristics of Entering Students?

Approximately one thousand applicants apply to podiatric medical school each academic year. First year enrollment totals range from 500-600 per year.
  • In 2009-10 minority students constituted almost 45% of all applicants: Asian applicants totaled 24%, African American applicants totaled 8% and Hispanic applicants totaled 7% of the total applicant pool.

  • Approximately 97% of applicants in 2010-11 held a bachelor's degree or higher.
     
  • Academically, the average undergraduate GPA and MCAT Scores of
  • Matriculants have remained about the same in past years. In 2009, the overall GPA was 3.3 and the average science GPA was 3.1. Average MCAT scores for Matriculants also remained relatively constant in all categories over the previous year: Verbal Reasoning went from 7.1 to 7.3; Physical Science scores stayed the same at 7.1; and Biological Sciences increased from 7.5 to 7.7 over the previous year.

  • First-year enrollment for the 2010-11 entering class was 671, of which 41% (278) were female.
     
  • Total enrollment at AACPM's nine member educational institutions of podiatric medicine totaled 2424 in 2010-11.
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How Many Students Graduate from Podiatric Medical School Each Year?

In 2011 the eight schools and colleges of podiatric medicine graduated 543 Doctors of Podiatric Medicine (DPMs), of which 44% or 226 were females and 36% (197) were minorities.

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Is there a Demand for Doctors of Podiatric Medicine?

YES! The future for a podiatric physician is bright. The demand for podiatric services will increase dramatically for several reasons, including burgeoning issues related to diabetes and obesity, sports medicine/injury issues and an aging population that is not satisfied with slowing down.  It is important to note that a 2007 Workforce Study from SUNY-Albany notes that the podiatric medical profession needs to be graduating three times the current number of graduates each year to meet future practitioner needs. 

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What are the Benefits & Income Potential for a Podiatrist?

The work hours of a podiatric physician vary from less than 40 hours a week to 50 hours or more per week. In general, the practice of podiatric medicine lends itself to flexible hours and is therefore comfortable for individuals who want to make time for family, friends and other involvements that characterize a balanced lifestyle.

Earnings of podiatrists depend upon geographic location, type of practice, number of patients seen per week, years of experience, etc.  According to a survey by the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA 2008 Podiatric Practice Survey), the average NET income of full-time (30+ hours/week) podiatric physicians in 2008 was as follows:

NET INCOME RANGE
(after practice expenses) in 2008

PERCENTAGE OF PODIATRISTS WITH THAT LEVEL OF INCOME

Less than $25,000

<1%

$25,000 - $75,000

11%

$76,000 - $100,000

14%

$101,000 - $150,000

30%

$151,000 - $200,000

21%

$201,000 - $250,000 8%
$251,000 - $300,000 4%
More than $300,000 11%

The average net income increased from an estimated $134,000 in 2001 and $154,000 in 2004 to $189,030 in 2006 and $190,670 in 2008.

Whatever way you measure success, podiatric medicine can meet the standard: the satisfaction of alleviating human suffering; recognition from the community; job security and financial opportunity.

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How Much will Podiatry School Cost?

The annual tuition for the nine member colleges of the AACPM for fall of 2012 ranges from $27,830 to $32,671. These amounts do not include fees, books, or room and board. For specific costs of fees and other charges, visit the website of the college of your choice.

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What do I as a Pre-Health Student Need to Know about Financing My Professional Education?

  • I need to plan ahead for financing my education just as I need to plan ahead for the application process.

  • I need to discuss my plans for funding my medical education with my family/spouse/significant people in my life.

  • I need to find out from podiatric medical schools I'm interested in what financial assistance they offer.

  • I need to investigate federal and institutional grant and loan assistance programs, service-obligated scholarships and other resources.

  • I need to find out from the institution financial aid office how to apply to these programs.

  • I must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident to qualify for most forms of financial assistance.

  • I need to limit my borrowing for my education so that repaying my loans will not jeopardize my future.

  • I need to set up a budget and stick to it.

  • I need to save as much money as I can.

  • I need to limit debts; pay off credit cards.

  • I must have a good credit rating to qualify for some student loans.

  • I need to obtain a copy of my credit report to check for errors and to correct any negative information.

  • I need to understand the consequences of student loan defaults.

  • I must understand my rights and responsibilities regarding financial assistance programs.

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What if I Need Financial Assistance?

Due to the increase in the overall costs of podiatric medical education, students are strongly urged to investigate possible sources of financial aid immediately upon acceptance. Accepted applicants should meet with the podiatric medical school's Financial Aid Officer as soon as possible after notification of acceptance to ascertain which of the following programs are available at their institution.

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What are the Licensing and Board Certification Requirements?

Podiatric physicians are licensed in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico to treat the foot and its related or governing structures by medical, surgical or other means. State licensing requirements generally include graduation from one of the nine accredited schools and colleges of podiatric medicine, passage of the National Board exams, postgraduate training and written and oral examinations.  National Boards are taken in two parts while in podiatric medical school. Part I covers basic science areas and is generally taken at the conclusion of the second year. Part II covers clinical areas and is taken in the spring of the fourth year, prior to graduation.

Podiatric physicians may also become certified in one or both specialty areas: primary care and orthopedics, or surgery.

National podiatric specialty boards grant certification to qualified podiatrists who have completed the specified educational requirements and who successfully complete written and oral examinations.

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Is Residency Training Required?

After completing four years of podiatric medical training, the podiatric physician is required by most states to complete postgraduate residency training in an approved healthcare institution and pass parts one and two of the National Podiatric Board of Medicine Examination. Three years of residency training are required for board certification. A residency provides an interdisciplinary experience with rotations such as anesthesiology, internal medicine, infectious disease, surgery, ER and pediatrics.

Residency training provides a combination of medical and surgical experiences that are competency-based. Podiatric medical graduates participate in a three year Podiatric Medicine and Surgery Residency (PM&S-36). This residency includes training in rear foot and ankle surgery.

All entry-level residency programs are required to participate in a national, centralized application and matching service such as CASPR. This matching program is similar to that of allopathic medicine. Students may apply through the Centralized Application Service for Podiatric Residencies (CASPR) in order to save time and money during their residency search. For additional information about residency programs call AACPM's Graduate Services Department at 301-948-9764.


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Once I'm a DPM, How do I Keep Up with New Developments in the Profession?

The professional association for practicing Podiatrists is the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA), which has component societies in every state including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Because these jurisdictions impose continuing podiatric medical education requirements for license renewal, educational programs and seminars are developed and presented each year by the colleges, as well as the state associations and the national podiatric medical association.

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