Podiatrists (or chiropodists) diagnose and treat conditions of the feet. They may provide foot care advice, screen patients for foot problems and carry out minor foot surgery.
To work as a podiatrist, it is necessary to have a degree in podiatry. At least two A levels, including Biology, and five GCSEs are required to study for a podiatry degree. In addition to formal qualifications, good interpersonal skills, an interest in podiatry and relevant paid or voluntary work experience in a healthcare environment are likely to increase a candidate's chances of gaining a place on a degree course.
Following gaining their degree, podiatrists wishing to work in their field must register with the Health Professions Council (HPC). They may also be required to have a Criminal Records Bureau clearance and a medical screening. Once in employment, qualified podiatrists may undergo specialist training.
The NHS is the UK's largest employer of trained podiatrists. However, many podiatrists also work in private practice. Some podiatrists combine their NHS work with private sector work. Vacancies for podiatrists are advertised in podiatry publications, national newspapers, through the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists, and on recruitment agencies.
Podiatrists working in the NHS may start on a salary of around £19,000 a year. Staff working in and around London tend to receive additional pay and allowances.