To become a podiatrist, extensive formal education and training is required, starting with a bachelor's degree in a scientific or medical field, followed by an accredited 4-year program to obtain a degree as a doctor of podiatry and finishing with a residency program. After receiving a bachelor's degree, the first 2 years of a doctor of podiatry program are similar to the first 2 years of medical school, according to Study.com.
In the 3rd and 4th year of the doctorate program, candidates specialize in courses covering lower limb anatomy, podiatric trauma, radiology and podiatric surgery.
The field of medicine is extremely specialized, and once a degree in podiatry is earned, a podiatrist has unlimited and independent authority to diagnose and treat disorders of the lower extremities, feet and ankles, as noted by the New York College of Podiatric Medicine.
Some of the skills needed to effectively accomplish this job include advising and treating patients with bone, muscle, skin and joint disorders of the feet, prescribing medications, scheduling surgery to treat serious cases and recommending treatment and corrective devices for fractures, sprains and other orthopedic injuries. Podiatrists also make and fit prosthetic devices when needed. The national average salary for a podiatrist starts at around $120,000, as of 2015.