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Study Podiatry, why & how to study

Podiatrists provide treatment and care for people suffering from problems with their feet and legs. See what it’s like to study the area, and if the career is for you.

CONTENTS

  1. What’s Podiatry?

  2. What Podiatry degrees can you study?

  3. What do you need to get onto a Podiatry degree?

  4. What topics does a Podiatry degree cover?

  5. How will you be assessed?

  6. Why study Podiatry?

  7. How to become a podiatrist

  8. What do Podiatry graduates earn?

  9. What jobs can you get as a Podiatry graduate?

  10. What are the postgraduate opportunities?

  11. Similar subjects to Podiatry

  12. Have any questions?

What’s Podiatry?

The study of Podiatry looks at injury and illness of feet and legs. Podiatrists diagnose, treat and care for people, helping them have better mobility and quality of life. Also known as chiropodists, podiatrists specialise in helping patients maintain health and wellbeing through treatment, surgery, orthotics, education and exercise.

Podiatrists deal with a variety of lower limb issues, for example:

  • Children with problems walking
  • Diabetes patients with circulation problems
  • Sportspeople and dancers who put too much pressure on their feet

What Podiatry degrees can you study?

Undergraduate degrees in Podiatry include: 

  • Podiatry BSc
  • Podiatric Medicine BSc
  • Podiatry MPod

Options include an integrated foundation year or integrated master’s. Accelerated degrees are also available. Courses may include up to 1,000 hours experience in clinical placements.

What do you need to get onto a Podiatry degree?

Typically, entry to an undergraduate Podiatry degree requires between 96 –120 UCAS points. Qualifications may include:

  • A Levels: BBB–CCC
  • BTECs: DDM–MMM
  • Scottish Highers: CCCCCC–BBBC (Advanced Highers: BBB–DD)
  • International Baccalaureate: 28–25
  • Universities will usually ask that you have studied: an A Level or Higher in a science subject, preferably biology

Other good subjects to have studied include:

  • Chemistry, human biology, PE/sport, physics or psychology
  • Some universities do not accept general studies A Level

Experience that would look good on your application:

  • Work or volunteering in a care or healthcare environment, giving you the chance to evidence your interpersonal skills with a range of different people
  • Shadowing a podiatrist or visiting a podiatry department – contact your local NHS service or any local private podiatrists to see if you can arrange an observation session
  • Independent research to find out more e.g. on the Royal College of Podiatry website

Other requirements for this subject include:

  • Pass in the practical element of science taken at A Level
  • Interview
  • Due to the nature of this work, you’ll need to complete Disclosure and Barring Services (DBS) checks (PVG scheme in Scotland)

What topics does a Podiatry degree cover?

Typical modules for courses in this subject include:

  • Complex patients
  • Enterprise in podiatry
  • Gait, footwear and orthoses
  • Human anatomy and physiology
  • Musculoskeletal conditions
  • Person-centred care
  • Podiatric pathology
  • Podiatric pharmacology

How will you be assessed?

Assessments can be varied, and may include:

  • Case reports
  • Essays
  • Portfolios
  • Presentations
  • Reflective assignments
  • Research project or proposal
  • Written and clinical exams

Why study Podiatry?

Study Podiatry, and you’ll learn how to make a positive difference to people's health and wellbeing. There’s a growing need for podiatrists because of the improved care now available. It’s also vital for the care of those with chronic diseases like diabetes.

Career-specific skills:

  • Ability to manage a range of lower limb musculoskeletal conditions, including prescribing medication and fitting or modifying foot orthoses
  • Patient-centred skills, such as being able explain concepts to patients
  • Competency in diagnosing conditions and applying your learning to real-life scenarios across a range of conditions and patient groups

Transferable skills:

  • Empathy and interpersonal skills
  • Effective oral and written communication
  • Independent learning
  • Leadership and decision making
  • Problem solving
  • Reflective and critical thinking
  • Research and IT literacy
  • Team working

Professional accreditation: 

  • Degrees must be approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)

How to become a podiatrist

The typical way to become a podiatrist is after getting a qualification in Podiatry, either at degree level or through a degree apprenticeship.

You’ll need to register with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) before practising professionally.

What it's like to work as a podiatrist

Podiatry is a varied profession. Your day could involve:

  • Diagnosing and treating injuries of the lower limbs
  • Talking to and advising patients and groups
  • Carrying out minor surgeries using tools, medicines and anaesthetics

You could be based in a GP practice, visit clients at home, or work at a health centre or hospital. Generally, you’ll work alongside other professionals in healthcare, such as GPs, nurses, physiotherapists and dieticians.

After qualifying, you’ll have Continuing Professional Development (CPD) check-ins, where you talk about your career and future goals. You can become a member of organisations such as the College of Podiatry, where you can take courses, network and attend events.

A working week is typically 37.5 hours, and you may have to work evenings and weekends. Salaries for podiatrists are on the Agenda for Change system (the NHS staff grading and pay scale), usually on band 5. With the NHS, you’ll have access to generous pension schemes, holiday allowances and health service discounts.

Most podiatrists have a good work-life balance. Unlike many other healthcare roles, you’ll be able to work flexible hours and, after building up your experience, choose to be self-employed. You could also rent treatment rooms in environments such as sports injuries centres, retail outlets or beauty salons.

Is a podiatrist role right for you?

Podiatrists often have to work with people in discomfort and need to be comfortable with exposure to bodily fluids such as blood and pus. You’ll have to feel comfortable in these situations and be able to make sure your patients feel relaxed around you.

You may spend a lot of time working independently. A lot of travelling may also be involved if you visit patients in their homes. But it can be a very rewarding role, as you’ll be working to improve people's health and wellbeing and make them more comfortable.

What do Podiatry graduates earn?

Podiatry graduates can expect an entry-level salary of around £25,500. 

If you continue to work within the NHS and specialise in surgery, your income could range from £47,000–£90,000 as a podiatric surgeon or specialist registrar (NHS Band 8a–8d). Or you could opt for self-employment, where salaries are more variable but you’re in charge of your own practice.

What jobs can you get as a Podiatry graduate?

A degree in Podiatry is highly vocational. After qualifying, you could work as an NHS or private podiatrist. You could also further your training and become a podiatrist surgeon or move into teaching or management.

Specialisms include:

  • Diabetes
  • Forensic podiatry
  • Children
  • Sports injury

What are the postgraduate opportunities?

If you have a first degree in another science discipline, you can take a graduate-entry pre-registration course at undergraduate level to qualify as a podiatrist. If you’re already qualified, a postgraduate degree could enable you to specialise in a particular area or enter research, for example:

  • Podiatry MSc
  • Advanced Podiatry MSc
  • Theory of Podiatric Surgery MSc

Similar subjects to Podiatry

Other subject areas that might appeal to you include:

Have any questions?

If you’ve got any questions about studying Podiatry, you can email our experts at ask@thecompleteuniversityguide.co.uk. We’ll be happy to hear from you!

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