Podiatrists are independent healthcare providers, focusing on the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of conditions of the lower extremity, primarily the foot and ankle. Podiatrists are licensed to perform a complete array of medical and surgical services: perform lower extremity surgery, prescribe drugs, treat fractures, prescribe and fit orthotics and special shoes, order and perform physical therapy, and order and interpret imaging studies (x-ray, CT scan, MRI, etc) and laboratory tests. According to the American Podiatric Medical Association, 75% of all Americans experience foot or ankle problems, from birth through old age. In addition, many systemic diseases such as hypertension, heart problems and diabetes often involve the lower extremities in the early stages; podiatrists can detect these changes and refer the patient for further medical evaluation.

Doctors of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) are licensed in all 50 states. A career in podiatry typically offers regular working hours, minimal emergency duty, and geographic mobility. There is a growing demand for DPMs, due in part to the aging of the U.S. population and increasingly active lifestyles.

Most DPMs are in primary care practice, but there are opportunities to specialize in sports medicine, pediatrics, geriatrics, surgery, wound care, orthopedics, and biomechanics. It is also possible to pursue board-certification in podiatric surgery or primary podiatric medicine and orthopedics.

Most podiatry schools require at least 3 years of college work (90 semester hours) to be eligible to apply to the DPM program. However, the large majority (95%) of entering students have completed a bachelor’s degree. Following the undergraduate years, accepted students must complete 4 years of study at an accredited college of podiatry. After the 4-year DPM program, a 2 or 3-year residency program is required before a license to practice can be obtained.

There are 11 accredited schools of podiatry in the U.S. There are no schools of podiatry in North Carolina. For a complete list of U.S. podiatry schools, links, and other related information go to AACPM.

  • Arizona School of Podiatric Medicine at Midwestern University (Arizona)
  • Barry University School of Podiatric Medicine (Florida)
  • California School of Podiatric Medicine at Samuel Merritt University (California)
  • College of Podiatric Medicine & Surgery at Des Moines University (Iowa)
  • Kent State University College of Podiatric Medicine (Ohio)
  • Lake Erie COM School of Podiatric Medicine (Pennsylvania)
  • New York College of Podiatric Medicine (New York)
  • William M. Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine at Rosalind Franklin University (Illinois)
  • Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine (Pennsylvania)
  • University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Podiatric Medicine (Texas)
  • Western University of Health Sciences, College of Podiatric Medicine (California)
Recommended Core Courses

The following classes are recommended for completion of the basic pre-podiatry core at UNC Charlotte. The classes are recommended to cover the minimum basic requirements at the majority of podiatry schools and/or prepare you for the MCAT exam.

General Biology, with labsBIOL 2120+2130 
General Chemistry, with labs  CHEM 1251+CHEM 1252 
Organic Chemistry, with labsCHEM 2131+CHEM 2132 
BiochemistryCHEM 4165 
General Physics, with labsPHYS 1101+PHYS 1102  or PHYS 2101+PHYS 2102 
EnglishUWRT 1103 or 1104Schools require 6 hrs of English.  Some schools may require additional ENGL courses to reach at least 6 credit hours.
Cell BiologyBIOL 3111 
StatisticsSTAT 1220, 1221, or 1222 

Remember that each podiatry school establishes their specific prerequisites; always check the websites of the schools that you want to attend.

More Resources


Currently, there is no active student club for Pre-Optometry students.


American Association of Colleges of Podiatric Medicine

  • Information for prospective students
  • Links to all professional schools of podiatry
  • Find a mentor
  • AACPMAS application

American Podiatric Medical Association

  • Main professional organization
  • News and current events in the profession

National Board of Podiatric Medical Examiners

  • Information on licensure

Council on Podiatric Medical Education

  • Accreditation agency for schools, residencies, and board certification

Podiatry Today

  • Professional journal for podiatrists