To become a registered podiatrist you will need to study and achieve a BSc (Hons) Podiatry Degree. Whilst there are only 13 university degree programmes for podiatry across the UK you should be able to find one that is accessible to you as there is a wide geographical spread. Below is the current list:
Universities offering podiatry degrees
|Edinburgh||Southampton (this is the only Russell Group University in the UK to offer a BSc (hons) Podiatry degree)|
Most universities have a September start date for undergraduate students. However, some do offer a January start for Podiatric Medicine. View here to see the universities that have a January intake.
What are the university entry requirements for a podiatry degree?
To apply to universities for Podiatry, you should have, or be working towards achieving a relevant Access to HE Diploma in Health Science. Or alternatively, 3 A Levels with at least one in a science area. Universities can advise on their particular entry requirements and they also publish these on the UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) web site.
With the A Level route you may also be expected to have a minimum of 5 GCSEs. With the Access to HE Diploma route you are normally only required to have 2 GCSEs in English and Maths at Grade C or above. Access to HE Diplomas are normally aimed towards adults 18+ returning to education or wishing to change to a new career. There are no upper age limits. The Diploma qualification is viewed as being equivalent to 3 A Levels. Access to HE can be studied from home via distance-online learning or at a local college/academy.
There are other issues to consider whilst studying for your level 3 qualification. For example, by gaining relevant knowledge of the profession through shadowing a podiatrist. This will give you first-hand experience and enable you to find out more about the role from someone who is qualified in this expert field of work.
Is there a difference between a podiatrist and a chiropodist?
The simple answer is no especially in the UK as both titles mean that you are a fully trained professional in the diagnosis and treatments that come under the same specialism. The title of chiropody has been replaced, for the most part, by the title podiatry. Many people might believe podiatry or chiropody is just about treating foot problems like in-growing toenails but, in fact, these professionals diagnose and treat far wider symptoms, from painful (but often embarrassing) bunions to a variety of lower limb pain somethimes associated with diabetes, arthritis or sports injuries. It is a specialist area of medicine for the diagnosis and treatments of conditions affecting the foot, ankle, and structures of the leg. Unlike other areas of health, podiatry covers all age ranges from young children to the elderly.
The main aim of podiatry is to give the best possible chance of improving mobility, help people live independently and improve their quality of life - which all in all shows how important and rewarding this specialism is.
What career progression opportunities are available?
If you decide to train as a podiatric you will undergo a 3 year programme of study which will include a balance between theory and clinical practice. The practical element can be undertaken in both NHS and Private clinics. Once qualified you can register with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). Your qualification could also be recognised by the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists. There are opportunities to work in the NHS, private sector, establish your own private practice or take your skills further afield to assist those in less developed countries. You can also undertake further training and become a podiatric surgeon.
What are the pay and working condition like?
As a general guide, once you are qualified and registered the salary currently starts at nearly £22,000 per year. On top of this you can earn more through overtime and other payments. There are incremental pay increases as you progress through continual professional development and further training. You can also choose to work full or part-time.
What annual leave are podiatrists entitled to?
Within the NHS annual leave is quite generous, up to 27 days per year, which on average exceeds the amount of paid holidays in private sector companies. On top of this, you’ll get 8 general and public holidays.
How is the course funded?
As this is a pre-registration course you can apply for the standard student support package in the form of a student loan. Scholarships, bursaries or grants may also be available through the university or your place of work.
More information on Careers in Podiatry