Qualifications needed to Become a Podiatrist

Podiatry is a relatively new field, particularly in the UK where it has only recently become an established medical practice in its own right. Practitioners of podiatry are known as podiatrists, and these are professionals trained to deal with a variety of different conditions and problems that affect the feet.

Our feet are absolutely vital to our day to day mobility, and because of how much we use them, they can be susceptible to a plethora of different problems and complications, each affecting our day to day lives. They can be as simple as corns or bunions, or as complex as circulatory problems caused by a disease like diabetes. Regardless of why we have a problem with our feet, getting the help we need to go about our day to day lives free of pain and discomfort is invaluable, and this is why podiatry has grown as a field in recent years. In this article we look at the roles podiatrists play and what qualifications they need to work in their field.

Podiatrists and their work

A qualified podiatrist has a number of different important roles, and all of these have to do with maintaining the health and function of the foot, ankle, and lower limb as a whole. This can include dealing with skin problems and corns, or correcting anatomical abnormalities like flat footedness.

Qualification and licensing in the UK is overseen by The Health and Care Professions Council, a regulatory body responsible for making sure that standards are met by practitioners across the country. After receiving the necessary qualifications, podiatrists in the UK need to be licensed and registered with The Health and Care Professions Council.

Podiatrists in the UK can work in a number of different roles. They can work privately, offering their services for a fee at clinics that have been appropriately registered the HPC, or work for the NHS providing hospital and home services to people in dire need of foot care. In this sense, podiatry is not unlike other disciplines like physiotherapy, where upon qualification and licensing, a practitioner has the choice of pursuing a career in the NHS or as part of a private practice.

What qualifications would you need to become a podiatrist?

Podiatrists need a university degree in the practice, and to get into such a course some GCSEs and A-levels are needed. Most universities will ask for good GCSE marks in core subjects like English, Maths, and one of the sciences. These will also be needed for entry into A-levels, which is usually the requirement for university entry. Many course will look for at least 2 good A-levels, one of which should be in a science. The actual requirements will vary from university to university, and if you are looking to pursue the qualification yourself you should look into each institution’s particular requirements.

Once you have gotten into the course, you will need to successfully complete a degree in a recognised School of Podiatry. Once you have met the degree requirements, you will need to register with the Health and Care Professions Council (or HPC) and usually join a professional body like the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists.

After the degree there are a number of post-graduate courses and career development programmes available which can expand on the scope of practice allowed by a degree in podiatry. What that means is that if a podiatrist gains these qualifications, they can safely and legally practice extra procedures and treatments that they deem necessary for their client.

Ultimately becoming a podiatrist involves the education and training you need to safely practice an important medical discipline. Podiatry helps to improve the quality of life for people from all sorts of backgrounds, and this is why it has grown as a practice in recent years.

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