How to become a Podiatrist

Podiatrists look after the health of people's feet by diagnosing, treating and preventing foot abnormalities, and educating the public about good foot health.

Personal requirements of a Podiatrist

  • Independent and highly motivated
  • Interest in health care
  • Good communication skills
  • Able to cope with the physical demands of the job

Education & Training for a Podiatrist

To become a podiatrist you usually have to complete a degree in podiatry at university. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education. Prerequisite subjects, or assumed knowledge, in one or more of English, mathematics, chemistry, biology and physics are normally required. You may also need to demonstrate your suitability for, and interest in, podiatry by providing additional information, including details of relevant paid and unpaid work experience. A number of universities in Australia offer degrees in podiatry. Universities have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information. For full details, refer to the entries on the website at www.goodcareersguide.com.au or university handbooks.

Duties & Tasks of a Podiatrist

Podiatrists may perform the following tasks:

  • examine patients’ feet to diagnose any disorders or infections and decide on an appropriate treatment
  • give advice about foot health and the prevention of foot disorders
  • treat deformities such as flat feet and foot imbalance by using corrective devices such as orthoses
  • work with patients suffering from diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, peripheral vascular disorders and other neuropathies
  • perform surgical procedures on feet
  • treat abnormalities of bones, joints, skin and nails such as bunions, toe deformities, ingrown toenails, corns, warts and other infections
  • recommend footwear for specific foot conditions
  • prescribe orthotic devices for protection and correction of a wide range of foot and leg irregularities.

Employment Opportunities for a Podiatrist

Most podiatrists work in private practice as a sole proprietor, partner or employee. An increasing number are employed in community health centres, hospitals, rehabilitation centres, specialist high-risk clinics and sports medicine clinics. Some obtain teaching and research positions. Podiatrists may also work in aged-care services, such as day care centres for the elderly, nursing homes and hostels, which they visit to treat residents. Many podiatrists also provide treatment in patients’ homes.

Additional Information
Before undertaking clinical placements required by courses, students will need to obtain a National Police Certificate, a Provide First Aid Certificate and immunisations, and undergo a Working with Children Check. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information. It is a legal requirement for graduates to be registered with the Podiatry Board of Australia before practising as a podiatrist in any state or territory in Australia. For full details, visit the board’s website.
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