Podiatry

What is Podiatry?

Podiatrist – medical specialists who help diagnose and treat conditions of the foot & ankle.


Let's talk about Podiatric Medicine, the study of the foot and ankle. Podiatrists are some of the most hardworking, dedicated, and amicable professionals that devote their lives to restoring proper health to the lower extremities. I love this profession, and more students need to know about this field because it is 'the hidden' of medicine. 

  • A podiatrist is a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM), also known as a podiatric physician or surgeon, qualified by their education and training to diagnose and treat conditions affecting the foot, ankle, and related structures of the leg.

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. Within the profession, podiatric physicians can specialize in a variety of areas such as surgery, orthopedics, or public health. Besides these certified specialties, podiatrists may practice a subspecialty such as sports medicine, pediatrics, dermatology, radiology, geriatrics, or diabetic foot care. Podiatric physicians are the only doctors to receive specialized medical and surgical training, and board certification in the care of the lower extremity.

Things to Consider When Searching for a Podiatry School:

Doctorate of Podiatric (DPM) Program Search:

  • School Reviews:

    • There are several sites online, including Students Review, where you can read candid advice from other students about both the school and the course to give you an honest and open insight.

  • Accreditations:

    • The Council on Chiropractic Education has a list of accredited courses on its site, so you can check whether the course is reputable and has the necessary accreditation.

  • Tuition: 

    • Any professional school can be extremely costly but it is very beneficial to look at the cost of the school you plan to attend. You want to make sure you can pay for tuition especially if you plan on paying out of pocket. 

    • Chiropractic school within the U.S. charges the same amount whether you are in-state or out of state.

    • International fees and tuition are important as they differ from U.S. citizens' tuition and can be expensive due to U.S. funding varies at each school.

    • Financial aid and scholarships are important, which is why you check to see what type of aid and scholarships your school offers and do you qualify.

  • Location: 

    • It’s always important to consider proximity when it comes to choosing where you would like to live for the next 3 to 4 years.

    • You want to make sure you are not just looking at the school you plan to attend but the surroundings as well or even distance. For example: How far home is from where you will be attending school? Traveling can add up and become costly, if you plan on being far from home you may want to add that in your budget. 

    • On-campus or off-campus living is something every student should look at because the last thing you want is to move somewhere you have never seen in person. Your environment is important and you do not want to have any disruptions when it comes to studying for classes.

    • You want to make sure you live in close proximity to school because that's where the majority of your time will be spent.

  • Diversity:

    • If you would like to attend a multicultural chiropractic school take a tour and see what all do they have to offer when it comes to educating other ethnicities on the culture within the healthcare field.

    • Chiropractic is a healthcare profession that lacks diversity but is starting to become a field that is capable of evolving to be more diverse. According to a 2012 study found that the chiropractic profession has yet to achieve diversity proportionally with the U.S. population, and; chiropractic educational institutions are not meeting diversity proportional to their local communities. The authors concluded, “[t]he chiropractic profession urgently needs to develop and implement strategies to address issues of diversity and cultural competence in order to prepare for inevitable changes by the year 2050.

    • While the United States is an increasingly diverse nation, according to the U.S. Census in 2018, the Black/African American population in the U.S. was 13.8 percent, Hispanic or Latin was 18.3 percent, and in 2014, more children in the United States under the age of five years of age were minorities rather than white. The chiropractic profession continues to lack diversity.

    • Racially, the profession continues to be overwhelmingly white (92%), with just 2.3% Black. The profession is also underrepresented by Hispanic, Asian, and Native Americans. 

  • Dual-Degree Opportunities: 

    • Attending chiropractic school offers various collaborative dual-degree opportunities for students interested in diversifying their training. These combined degree programs usually allow chiropractic students to complete an additional degree at a lower cost and in a shorter duration. The most common dual-degree programs offered by chiropractic schools include earning a bachelor of science degree in biology in three years, while transitioning into the Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.), Masters in Sports Health Science, Clinical Nutrition, or Positive Psychology.

    • Clubs/Certifications: 

      • SABCA ( Student American Black Chiropractic Association 

      • Hispanic club 

      • ICPA (International Chiropractic Association) 

      • Gonstead 

      • Upper Cervical 

      • Activator 

      • AMED 

      • APPLIED KINESIOLOGY 

      • Acupuncture 

      • Sports chiropractic 

  • Other Factors:

    • It is important to explore the structure of the curriculum, national ranking, accreditation, and class-size. In addition to the program overview, the program’s website gives access to school tours, orientation leaders, and student ambassadors addressing various topics for prospective students. Questions to consider in evaluating program curriculum: 

      • Does the curriculum seem innovative and/or progressive? When was the last time there was a change in curriculum?

      • Do you prefer traditional lectures, online learning, break-out workshops, case studies, or another method? Does this curriculum offer a learning style that works for you? (Keep in mind that your learning style may change throughout chiropractic school, as this is a rigorous program.) 

      • Do you prefer to work/study independently or to work with classmates on projects? (Programs aim to distribute learning evenly among both methods, but ultimately utilize one more than the other at various stages in the curriculum.) 

Tips for Prospective Students

  • Being a Strong Applicant: 

    • PCAT Prep: While there are numerous prep materials, Dr. Collins PCAT Prep Class is a great study tool—the practice questions are very similar to the actual PCAT, and the information is presented concisely. Some of the practice questions can also be found on Quizlet. 

    • While PCAT scores and GPA are important factors, being a well-rounded applicant plays a more significant role (community involvement, extracurricular activities, work, and life experiences, in addition to academics). 

    • Letters of Recommendation (LORs): Having STRONG LORs is important—the content of your LOR is just as important, if not more than the title of your reference. Be sure that your references can advocate for you strongly and positively speak to your experiences.

    • Pharmacy Experience: While having previous experience as a pharmacy technician is preferred, it does not exclude you as an applicant. Shadowing in various pharmacy disciplines is another option to gain experience, make sure that these are experiences you can confidently speak to (bonus if you can shadow over an extended period of time to build a network). The takeaway here is that interviewers want to see that you have explored the profession to make an informed decision and you are motivated to pursue a pharmacy degree program. 

    • Social Media: Be mindful of how you utilize social media. Believe it or not, programs do check sometimes. If you use your social media to follow pharmacy-related accounts and wish to engage with them, be sure to keep it professional (this includes current students, organizations/associations, official program accounts, etc). 

      • Dose of Melanin is a social media platform highlighting Black pharmacists and student pharmacists. 

    • Be Informed About the Profession: There are various ways to be informed—this doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to know everything pharmacy. Ultimately you should keep up with topics that interest you and “hot” topics in the profession. Some podcast suggestions are listed below:  

      • Brown Skin Stories: highlights Black Women Pharmacists practicing in various fields of pharmacy (Season 2 focuses on the field pharmacy)

      • Pharmacy to Dose: discusses various topics related to Critical Care Pharmacy

      • Talk to Your Pharmacist: presents current healthcare topics and leadership stories from industry leaders

      • TED Talks related to pharmacy 

  • The College of Pharmacy’s financial aid office is often the best resource for inquiries about loans, grant, and scholarship programs. Pharmacy colleges may offer scholarships provided by local or state pharmaceutical associations, practicing pharmacists, drug manufacturers, and wholesalers, memorial funds and foundations, alumni associations, etc.

  • Furthermore, you can independently search to find if individual drug manufacturers, insurance companies, and pharmacy associations offer scholarships, internships, or other forms of financial aid.

  • Top Degrees Online is another great resource; this is a list of 25 scholarships available to current pharmacy students.

Financial Aid &  Scholarships

Financial Aid &  Scholarships

  • The College of Pharmacy’s financial aid office is often the best resource for inquiries about loans, grant, and scholarship programs. Pharmacy colleges may offer scholarships provided by local or state pharmaceutical associations, practicing pharmacists, drug manufacturers, and wholesalers, memorial funds and foundations, alumni associations, etc.

  • Furthermore, you can independently search to find if individual drug manufacturers, insurance companies, and pharmacy associations offer scholarships, internships, or other forms of financial aid.

  • Top Degrees Online is another great resource; this is a list of 25 scholarships available to current pharmacy students.

Additional Resources

  • Pharmacy is Right for Me: an educational campaign that aims to inspire and foster the next generation of pharmacy leaders in the United States. Provides interactive tools, resources, and first-person testimonials that give insight into the exciting and diverse career opportunities that exist within the field of pharmacy

  • National Pharmaceutical Association (NPhA)

  • Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP)

  • American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP)

  • American College of Clinical Pharmacy (ACCP)

  • American Pharmacists Association (APhA)

  • American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP)

  • College of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacists (CPNP)

  • National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA)

  • Society of Infectious Diseases Pharmacists (SIDP)

Contributions by: Sawada Nageye, PharmD and Ariana Chambers, PharmD Candidate