What does it take to become a podiatrist?
Are you interested in becoming a podiatrist? A podiatrist is a specialist health care worker that helps patients with conditions of the lower limbs and feet. Their job includes treating infections, relieving pain, and preventing and correcting deformity. As a podiatrist, it is likely that you will treat common problems such as sports injuries, bunions, athlete’s foot, corns and calluses, verrucae, and toenail problems, including ingrown toenails and fungal toenails. You will also give patients advice on how to look after their feet. If this sounds like the sort of job you would excel at, read on to discover more about what it takes to become a podiatrist.
Let’s begin by taking a look at the different skills you are going to need in order to be a podiatrist. You will need to be sympathetic and caring in nature, as people will be coming to you with problems that are potentially sensitive to them. You must have knowledge of science, especially chemistry, anatomy, and biology. You also need to have practical skills so that you can carry out the treatment, an understanding and calm demeanour when dealing with the concerns of your patients, and a desire to work with people. Finally, communication skills are important; you need to be able to listen well and explain things to people in a manner that they understand.
Training and entry requirements
You will need to undergo the necessary training to become a podiatrist. This involves talking a BSc degree in podiatry. In order to be accepted on such a course, you will typically need three A levels, with biological science being one of these. Moreover, you will require five GCSEs with grades C or higher, including science, matches and English language. Alternative qualifications are accepted such as science-based accesses courses, HND, and BTEC incorporating biological science. Of course, requirements differ from education institution to education institution, and so you will need to look at this in further detail when you make an application.
Once you have then taken your podiatry course and achieved a degree in the subject, you will need to register with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) in order to practice as a podiatrist. You must make an effort to ensure that your skills and knowledge are up to date if you are to remain on the HCPC register.
Last but not least, work experience is important nowadays. Most job advertisements will ask for a certain amount of work experience. Thus, you should contact local private practices or NHS clinics to see if there are any opportunities for work shadowing or observation. If you have any experience of working in any other health-related role, this will also be beneficial. To stay in-the-know with everything that is going on in the industry, it is a good idea to get a student membership with the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists, as you will receive discounted prices for the annual conference, as well as access to news articles and journals.