How to become a Podiatrist

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. Podiatrists may develop a special interest in dealing with particular client groups, such as children, the aged or sportspeople. They may also work in a particular area, such as occupational health, or with general medical conditions that result in foot and leg problems.

Personal requirements for 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. Universities have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information.


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.

Duties & Tasks of a Podiatrist

Podiatrists:

  • 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.

Tasks

  • Examining and treating foot disabilities caused by diseases such as diabetes, peripheral vascular disorders, rheumatoid arthritis and other neuropathies.
  • Examining patients' feet to determine the nature and extent of conditions, deformities and injuries.
  • May refer patients to or have patients referred from Medical Practitioners.
  • Advising patients about continued treatment and foot care.
  • Performing minor surgery to remove and improve abnormal conditions.
  • May provide rehabilitation services to the physically handicapped.
  • Prescribing and fitting replaceable pads, palliative and functional supports and other devices for the protection and correction of foot abnormalities.
  • Prescribing and arranging the fabrication of footwear to correct foot abnormalities.

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.


Specializations

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. Podiatrists may develop a special interest in dealing with particular client groups, such as children, the aged or sportspeople. They may also work in a particular area, such as occupational health, or with general medical conditions that result in foot and leg problems.

  • Average age
    Average age
    36 years
  • Future Growth
    Future Growth
    Very strong
  • Gender Share
    Gender Share
    60% female
  • Average full-time
    Average full-time
    43 hours
  • Weekly Pay
    Weekly Pay
    Unavailable
  • Skill level rating
    Skill level rating
    Very high skill
  • Unemployment
    Unemployment
    Lower unemployment
  • Full-Time Share
    Full-Time Share
    64% Full-Time
  • Employment Size
    Employment Size
    3,600 workers
  • Employment Size
    Employment by state
    ACT: 1.4%
    NSW: 28.2%
    NT: 0.5%
    QLD: 17.4%
    SA: 9.1%
    TAS: 2.4%
    VIC: 31.1%
    WA: 10.1%
  • Employment Size
    Age brackets
    15-19: 0%
    20-24: 8.8%
    25-34: 38.3%
    35-44: 25.4%
    45-54: 17.9%
    55-59: 5.4%
    60-64: 2.5%
    65 and Over: 1.7%
  • Employment Size
    Education level
    Advanced Diploma/Diploma: 10.6%
    Bachelor degree: 70.5%
    Certificate III/IV: 0.4%
    Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate: 17.9%
    Year 10 and below: 0%
    Year 11: 0%
    Year 12: 0.7%
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