Podiatry is an exciting and varied career. It offers you the chance to make a difference, a high degree of flexibility and excellent employment prospects. You’ll work with patients every day to help improve their care and their lives.
You will work with people’s feet and legs. You'll diagnose and treat abnormalities and offer professional advice on care of feet and legs to prevent foot problems. In the NHS, you'll see many patients at high risk of amputation, such as those suffering from arthritis or diabetes.
"The profession has moved on a long way and there are so many new and exciting things that you can get involved with. There’s definitely a lot more to it than people think!" Alex Townsend, Podiatrist.
What you’ll do as a podiatrist
You’ll see a huge variety of patients and help them with many different issues as podiatrist. Some examples of things you might work on include:
- helping children with lower limb pain or problems walking
- helping diabetes sufferers with circulation problems who may be at risk of amputation
- helping people with sports injuries and dancers whose long hours of rehearsing and performing put stress on their feet causing injury
Variety is one of the most exciting things about being a podiatrist. As well as seeing different patients and conditions you’ll also have the opportunity to work in a multi-disciplinary team in a range of settings from hospitals to community clinics to the homes of patients. Podiatrists work with other healthcare professionals such as dietitians, GPs, nurses and physiotherapists. Some also supervise the work of podiatry assistants.
How to become a podiatrist
To become a podiatrist you’ll need to train and study at a degree level. Entry requirements vary depending on where you’d like to study. You can find the podiatry course to suit you using our Course Finder tool.
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- Pay and conditions Expand / Collapse
Most podiatrists in the NHS work standard hours, which are likely to be around 37.5 a week. You may work some evenings. Your starting salary will be band 5 of the Agenda for Change pay rates.
Self-employed podiatrists’ hours of work depend on client needs. You may work evenings and weekends to suit private clients.
Some podiatrists have to travel between client appointments.
- Where the role can lead Expand / Collapse
In January 2018, there were 13,164 podiatrists registered with the Health and Care Professions Council.
Once qualified and registered with the HCPC, podiatrists often join the College of Podiatry. Registered podiatrists have to keep their skills and knowledge up to date with annual continuing professional development (CPD). The College of Podiatry runs courses, conferences and seminars where podiatrists can exchange ideas and update their skills.
You may choose to specialise in a particular area of practice such as sports injuries, diabetes, forensic podiatry or working with children. Other options include teaching or research.
You could also move into management, either within podiatry services or general management. As head of a local podiatry service you would be responsible both for a team of staff and for managing a budget.
Some podiatrists do further training to become podiatric surgeons. Others may decide to set up their own clinics, on their own or with other professionals.
There may be opportunities to work overseas.
- Job market and vacancies Expand / Collapse
The College of Podiatry says that 100% of all podiatry students who want a job are in employment within a year of graduation.
If you're applying for a role either directly in the NHS or in an organisation that provides NHS services, you'll be asked to show how you think the NHS values apply in your everyday work. The same will be true if you are applying for a university course funded by the NHS.
- Further information Expand / Collapse