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. Podiatrists work with patients every day to help improve their care and their lives.

Podiatrists work with people’s feet and legs. They diagnose and treat abnormalities and offer professional advice on care of feet and legs to prevent foot problems. Podiatrists see many patients at high risk of amputation, such as those suffering from diabetes. Many patients fall into high risk categories such as those with diabetes, rheumatism, cerebral palsy, peripheral arterial disease and peripheral nerve damage.

Download Podiatrist job role, job descriptions and case studies


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A BSc degree in podiatry is required to work as a Podiatrist in any setting.

Primary care First Contact Practitioner training developed by Health Education England (HEE) must be completed for an Podiatrist to work in primary care. This can begin 3-5 years after the completion of the postgraduate degree.


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The payband for a Podiatrist is usually AfC Band 7.

From April 2020, this role will be reimbursed at 100% of actual salary plus defined on costs, up to the maximum reimbursable amount of £53,724 over 12 months.

What does a Podiatrist do?

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.

In the Health Education England video below Podiatrists what it is like to be in the profession.

The video playlist below produced by the College of Podiatry explains more about working as a Podiatrist.

How to become a Podiatrist

To practice as a podiatrist, you must be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). In order to register with the HCPC, you first need to successfully complete an approved degree (BSc) or Masters programme (MSc) in podiatry.

Degree courses take three or four years on a full time basis or four and a half years part time. Courses differ but all involve a lot of practical work with patients. To get onto a podiatry degree course you usually need:

  • three A levels, including a biological science, along with five GCSEs (grades A-C), including English language, maths and science
  • or alternative qualifications, including
    • BTEC, HND or HNC which includes biological science
    • relevant NVQ
    • science-based access course
    • equivalent Scottish or Irish qualifications
    • a previous degree or a full practising qualification in a related area.

Masters programmes (MSc) usually take 2 years and like the degree programmes, involve clinical practice and academic study. You’ll usually need a relevant degree to be able to get onto the masters programme. 

However, each institution sets its own entry requirements, so it’s important to check carefully. Wherever you study, you will need to show that you have an understanding of podiatry and how it benefits patients. It is a good idea to spend some time with a registered podiatrist to see what the work is like.

University courses in podiatry

The University of Salford offers a BSc (Hons) Podiatry and MSc Podiatry (Pre-registration).

Use the Health Education England course finder to find Podiatry courses at Universities outside of Greater Manchester.

Degree apprenticeships in podiatry

A degree apprenticeship standard in podiatry has been approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). To get onto a degree apprenticeship, you will need to apply for an apprentice position with a health care provider. You can search for vacancies on the NHS Jobs website and the Find an Apprenticeship website.

Once you’ve successfully completed a programme approved by the HCPC, you are then eligible to apply for registration with the HCPC. Once registered as a practitioner, you’ll be required to retain your name on the register by keeping your knowledge and skills up to date and paying an annual retention fee.

How to become a Podiatry assistant

Podiatry assistants treat and care for people whose feet and legs have been affected by injury or illness. Their work helps people live full and independent lives.

odiatry assistants are sometimes known as footcare assistants and treat people of all ages with a variety of conditions. For example:

  • children with lower limb pain or problems walking
  • diabetes sufferers with circulation problems who may be at risk of amputation
  • elderly people
  • people with sports injuries
  • dancers whose long hours of rehearsing and performing put stress on their feet causing injury
  • people needing minor procedures such as nail surgery or laser treatment, using local anaesthetic
  • people wanting advice about footwear or foot health

As a podiatry assistant, your work will include:

  • cutting, filing and drilling toenails
  • applying dressings and treatments
  • booking appointments and other admin work
  • taking insole templates
  • advising patients and their carers on foot health and footwear 

Entry requirements

There are no set entry requirements to become a podiatry assistant. Employers expect good literacy and numeracy and may ask for GCSEs, or equivalent. They may ask for an NVQ, BTEC or equivalent qualification in health and social care or healthcare.

Training and development

You will get the training you need to work as a podiatry assistant. This includes:

  • diseases and conditions of the skin and nails
  • anatomy and physiology
  • conditions of the feet and legs
  • nail operations

Some podiatry assistants join the College of Podiatry as associate members. They runs courses, conferences and seminars where podiatry assistants can update their skills and network with others doing similar work.

Employers often ask for relevant work experience. Even where this is not specified, it would be an advantage if you have worked in health or social care, either in paid employment or voluntary work.

Further information about Podiatry

Further information about Podiatry is available on the College of Podiatry and Institute of Chiropodists and Podiatrists websites.