Podiatrist (DPM current students or graduates)
What do podiatrists do?
Physicians are medical professionals who diagnose and treat conditions of the lower leg, ankle, and foot, most frequently of the ankle and foot. They perform both trauma surgery and surgeries to correct abnormalities. They may practice in clinics along with physicians or in stand alone clinics.
What training is required?
Podiatrists complete a four-year DPM (Doctor of Podiatric Medicine) followed by residency training. DPM programs consist of didactic (coursework) and clinical training.
How do I best prepare for admission to a program?
Coursework: While some schools admit students who have completed all of the prerequisite courses and have 90 credits, most entering students have earned a Bachelor degree. In addition to prerequisite courses, the MCAT (Medical College Admissions Test) is required. All of the courses required for entrance to a DPM program are part of the Genetics curriculum so every graduate with a 3.0 GPA (some programs accept a 2.7) meets the minimum requirements for admission. We recommend selecting Psychology 101 and Sociology 134 among your social sciences choices because these subjects are tested on the MCAT https://students-residents.aamc.org/applying-medical-school/taking-mcat-exam/.
You should have completed these, your Statistics (101 or 104) choice, the 300 level Biology and Genetics classes, Chemistry and Biochemistry sequences through BBMB 405, and Physics 111 and 112 before taking the MCAT, typically in the summer after your Junior year if planning direct entrance after graduation. Courses to consider for advanced science electives include Microbiology 310 (Medical Microbiology), Biology 335 (Principles of Human and Other Animal Physiology), Biology 350 (Comprehensive Human Anatomy), and Genetics 340 (Human Genetics) among others. Kinesiology 355 (Biomechanics), while not an accepted advanced science elective, may also be helpful as may additional coursework in Psychology, Microbiology, and Medical Terminology.
GPA: You should attempt to achieve a cumulative GPA equal to or exceeding the mean GPA of successful applicants to the DPM schools you are considering. These are generally available on the schools’ websites. The mean GPA’s are in the 3.5 range which is much higher than the minimum for eligibility.
Other Recommendations: Research can develop organizational, problem-solving, analytical, and communication skills and a close relationship with mentors who can then provide meaningful letters of recommendation. Teaching experience (as a tutor, undergraduate TA or LA, peer mentor, or SI leader) will be valuable in developing communication skills and learning how to interact with a variety of individuals. While no specific number of patient contact hours are required, you will need to volunteer in a hospital or clinic, job-shadow podiatrists, complete EMT or CNA training, or become a medical scribe to get some patient contact and learn whether this profession is for you. Also consider joining the Pre-Medical Club and meeting with the pre-health advisors in the LAS College office (102 Catt Hall). They will have the latest updates on relevant opportunities and admission requirements.
Education: BS, Genetics, ISU 2016; Doctor of Podiatric Medicine Program Des Moines University, Des Moines, Iowa, 2020
Current Position: Podiatry Resident, Swedish Medical Center Foot and Ankle Surgery Department, Seattle Washington.
The genetics program at Iowa State University was critical to my success in my career path. I can’t stress how beneficial the rigorous coursework was for me in preparation for my Doctor of Podiatric Medicine degree at Des Moines University. The upper level genetics courses, and biochemistry courses that the genetics degree requires helped me stand apart in the application process. Taking the MCAT was a breeze for me after the tough coursework at Iowa State University, which helped me get accepted to every podiatry program I applied to in the United States. I have now started my three year surgical residency training program at one of the top residency programs in the world at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle. My outstanding resume and GPA from my postgraduate education allowed me to excel in the residency interview process, and I had many options including the Harvard and Yale affiliated residencies. I am so grateful for the fantastic foundation that the genetics program at Iowa State University provided me with, I highly recommend it to any motivated students.