"To find health should be the object of the doctor. Anyone can find disease."  —Andrew T. Still, MD, DO

"As a family physician, my job is listening to people's stories."
—Jon S. Hallberg, MD


Career Info

A Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) specializes in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of foot and ankle disorders resulting from injury or disease. A DPM makes independent judgments, prescribes medications and performs surgery. Specific job duties include diagnosing foot ailments, treating deformities of the foot, treating foot conditions, fitting of corrective orthotic devices, and referring patients to other physicians when symptoms observed in the feet indicate disorders such as diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, or kidney disease. Most podiatrists have a solo practice, although more are forming group practices with other podiatrists or health practitioners. Some specialize in surgery, orthopedics, primary care, or public health. Besides these board-certified specialties, podiatrists may practice a subspecialty such as sports medicine, pediatrics, dermatology, radiology, geriatrics, or diabetic foot care.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2022, the median annual wage for podiatrists was $148,720.

Colleges of podiatric medicine consist of a 4 year program whose core curriculum is similar to that in other schools of medicine. During the first 2 years, students receive classroom instruction in basic sciences, including anatomy, chemistry, pathology, and pharmacology. Third and fourth-year students have clinical rotations in private practices, hospitals, and clinics. Graduates are required to complete two years of hospital residency, including a year of surgery. Residency programs last from 2 to 3 years. Residents also serve clinical rotations in anesthesiology, internal medicine, pathology, radiology, emergency medicine, and orthopedic and general surgery.

More Information

Outlook: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/podiatrists.htm

O*NET: https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/29-1081.00

Program Requirements

A baccalaureate degree is strongly recommended prior to admission to one of the nine colleges of podiatric medicine, though a minimum of three years or 135 quarter units meets the minimum requirements for admission. Applicants must also meet minimum GPA and MCAT admission test requirements and have shadowed a podiatrist. Some programs will accept the DAT in lieu of MCAT. In 2021, the national average undergraduate GPA and MCAT scores of matriculants were a 3.4 overall GPA, 3.2 science GPA, and a 495 on the MCAT.

Course Requirements

Note:  Admission prerequisites vary by institution.  Some schools will not accept AP credit for prerequisites.  Check requirements carefully!

See below for an example of admission course prerequisites that may be required at CA programs. Please research professional programs for the specific admission requirements. If you need guidance on how to search for schools, please see the Peer Advisors during drop-in hours. 

Biology: Bio 161, 162, Mcro 221 or 224 
  • Note: Bio, Mcro, Msci, and Bchm majors should enroll in Mcro 224
General Chemistry: Chem 127, 128, 129
  • Note: Engineering & Physical Science majors should enroll in Chem 124, 125, 126
Organic Chemistry: Chem 216, 217/220, 218/223
  • Note: Biochemistry & Chemistry majors should enroll in Chem 216, 217/221, 218/324

Physics: Phys 121, 122, 123 or Phys 141, 142, 143, and Phys 125

  • Phys 125 is a 1-unit lab that corresponds to Phys 121 or 141 and is generally taken during your last year at Cal Poly. In order to get on the waitlist, please email prehealth@calpoly.edu with your name, major, health profession of interest, and Cal Poly email address. Permission numbers will be given out based on time of graduation. 

English:  3 quarters; proficiency in oral and written communication


Recommended classes

Additional Biology:
Genetics: Bio 351 or 303 or 302 (Upper-Div B)
Histology: Bio 410
Embryology: Bio 405
Immunology: Bio 426
Cell Biology:  Bio 452
Virology:  Mcro 402
Evolution:  Bio 414
Anatomy/Physiology: Bio 231, 232 (for all majors except Bio) or Bio 361, 406-409, & 426

Biochemistry: Chem 314 (previously known as Chem 313) or 369 (previously known as Chem 371)

College Mathematics: Math 118, 119; 141-143 or 161-162

Business: Bus 207, 212, Econ 201

Ethics: SCM 451; Phil 339



Foreign Language

Medical Terminology

Liberal Arts Electives

*Please come in to see us if you have any questions.

Last updated: 01/12/2022.

Professional Association Links

For more information, visit the American Association of Colleges of Podiatric Medicine at www.aacpm.org or the American Podiatric Medical Association at www.apma.org.

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