Careers In Podiatry
One of the great benefits of working as a Podiatrist is the flexible and varied employment opportunities. A Podiatry degree can lead the way to a wide range of roles providing full and part time opportunities.
As a qualified Podiatrist the following are all possible:
- NHS employee working as a hospital or community clinician or in a management role
- Business owner running a private practice
- Medical sales representative
- Lecturer or researcher working in a university
- Self employed locum working in private practices and private hospitals
- Clinician working overseas
- Representative or technician working with one of the associated trade organisations
- Clinician working in retail outlets
- Specialist practitioner working with the police as a forensic Podiatrist
Many practitioners work in a combination of these different roles to give them greater job satisfaction and flexible working hours to suit their home life!
Another great benefit of being a Podiatrist is that many of the roles provide very clear career progression. For example the following shows the structure of NHS Podiatry and a potential career path. This structure is also used in a number of other clinical working environments.
- Entry level Podiatrist (band 5)
- Specialist Podiatrist (band 6)
- Team leader, Advanced Podiatrist (band 7)
- Specialist Registrar in Podiatric Surgery
- Surgery (band 8 a – d)
- Consultant Podiatrist in Podiatric Surgery (band 9)
Scope of Podiatry
As with most jobs there is a lot more to Podiatry than many people realise. Most Podiatrists start their professional life working in general foot care clinics. As their careers in Podiatry progress and their clinical skills develop, many identify areas of clinical practice that really interest them and focus their development in these areas.
“Podiatry is now the term used by a majority of practitioners.”
Maybe one of these areas of clinical practice would interest you:
- Wound care
- Paediatric biomechanics
- Sports injuries
- Gait and pressure analysis
- Orthotic manufacture
- Nail surgery
Working in the UK
Click a box to read the case study
Podiatry Practice Owner
I qualified with a degree in Podiatry in 2007. In my time at university I think I learnt many life skills as well as enjoying studying Podiatry immensely. I got my first job as a Podiatrist within 3 months of qualifying which was great.
With a Podiatry degree so many avenues are open to you. Since qualifying I have worked in a private practice were I have been able to carry out routine Podiatry as well as doing nail surgery using local anaesthesia. I have also got a place with Lloyds pharmacy who are very proactive in trying to get Podiatry into their pharmacies.
Now with my Podiatry degree I have been lucky enough to set up my own Podiatry company with a fellow Podiatrist. We run a private clinic in North West London which is going well and we are currently looking to grow it.
Podiatry as a profession is changing all the time and I believe a Podiatry degree is a key to an exciting future.
Podiatry Practice Owner
I came to Podiatry as a mature student at 28; I had previously been a Prison Officer among other things. I discovered Podiatry by accident, and it captured my interest straight away.
I am very fortunate that my working life is now very varied and rewarding, more than I could have imagined. I have my own practice, which is a multidisciplinary clinic. I work alongside physiotherapists at my clinic, and have a caseload which includes palliative care, sports injuries and everything in-between.
Every day is different in practice; you never know what is going to come into your clinic next from an elite athlete with a sports injury, to a child with a verruca.
Since qualifying last year I have been working in an NHS Podiatry clinic having been given a post-graduate mentorship contract. I am able to use the many skills I learned at university and build my confidence as a practitioner.
This opportunity was great as it helps with the transition from being a student to a professional practitioner.
Podiatry is a very rewarding profession as you are able to improve the comfort, agility and independence for patients of all ages, from infants to elderly. No two patients are the same which keeps the job interesting.
You have to constantly rely on good diagnostic skills when dealing with abnormalities in the lower limb.
A degree in Podiatry can be a ticket to some great adventures all round the world and many Podiatrist spend some of their career working overseas.
While there are some limitations on the transferability of your qualification to various countries there are still plenty of opportunities for you to use your Podiatry degree to work overseas.
After graduating, I secured a job in New Zealand working for Foot Mechanics Podiatry. There I had the opportunity to utilise the latest technology in digital gait analysis to assess and treat sporting injuries and other biomechanical issues.
I have also had opportunities to attend a technical fitting session with Adidas and the New Zealand Under 17 rugby squad, where I was responsible for fitting the players with the correct footwear, and have recently written an article for Rugby New Zealand.
Ultimately Podiatry has given me the opportunity to fulfil my career goals as well as fulfilling my ambitions in Rugby.
While working as a lecturer teaching Podiatry I was lucky enough to be given a sabbatical to go to Nepal and spend four months in a small leprosy hospital. My time was mostly spent in the out patients department teaching the nursing staff wound care and nail surgery skills.
Even though I was helping them learn new skills, my own clinical skills developed enormously. Being faced with large numbers of foot ulcers every day and having very little in the way of equipment or dressings you become very resourceful and creative with treatment plans.
Nowhere I have ever worked has used my clinical Podiatry skills to such great effect. Spending time in such close contact with hundreds of very poor and stigmatised leprosy patients was a very humbling experience and something I will always remember.
Shortly after qualifying I was appointed to a post at the ‘Foot Care & Limb Design Centre’ in Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Singapore. Singapore has a high prevalence of diabetes and from the beginning I was involved with treating high risk patients with ulceration.
Working in this multidisciplinary and multicultural department has enabled me to develop strong clinical skills in wound management and offloading. It has also increased my depth of knowledge and made me aware of the importance of understanding the patients’ culture and beliefs.
Singaporeans are responsible for paying for their health care and I have to think ‘outside the box’ for alternative treatments if the patients have financial difficulties.