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Becoming a Podiatrist

Last Updated Sep 07, 2020

Looking for a rewarding career in the natural health space? You ought to consider becoming a podiatrist! At a time when holistic health niches are filling faster than the demand for it, the need for qualified podiatrists in Australia is growing at twice the rate of the country's population, making it an ideal profession to enter today.

What is a Podiatrist?

Podiatry is derived from a Greek word for 'foot', and a podiatrist is a specialist who treats disorders of the feet and lower extremities. Until 1977, podiatrists in Australia were called chiropodists. It was later changed to reflect the changes to the educational requirements for practising the profession.

Today, an aspiring podiatrist has to complete the relevant course and gain membership with a podiatry board supported by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) in the state where they intend to practise.

A podiatrist provides post-surgery rehabilitation, preventive care and specialised treatment for a variety of disorders. They can perform surgical procedures to remedy ingrown nails, corns, calluses and warts, among others. In addition to this, they provide diagnosis and treatments for fungal disorders and prescribe medications for conditions they are qualified to treat.

Some of the disorders they typically treat include:

  • Bone and joint disorders of the feet and lower limbs
  • Arthritis
  • Muscular and soft tissue pathologies
  • Circulatory problems
  • Foot injuries
  • Skin and nail disorders
  • Diabetes
  • Damaged ligaments
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Flat foot
  • Bunions

What are the Qualifications of a Podiatrist?

Completing a Bachelor of Podiatry is the only educational requirement you need to fulfil to become a qualified podiatrist in Australia. If you hold a relevant degree in science, you may pursue a postgraduate course such as the Master of Podiatric Practice.

Once you have completed your studies, you must register with a professional podiatry board in the state where you intend to practise, such as the Podiatry Board of Australia (PBA) or Australian Podiatry Association (APA). They are responsible for setting forth ethical standards which their members must comply with.

What Subjects are Covered in a Podiatry Course?

As a podiatrist, you need to have a good understanding of the different branches of health sciences so that you can address various conditions that affect a person's feet and lower legs. As well as rendering 1,000 clinical training hours, your four years in school will involve studying the following subjects extensively:

  • Anatomy
  • Physiology
  • Dermatology
  • Molecular biology
  • Biomechanics
  • Pharmacology
  • Surgical procedures

What are the Career Outcomes for Podiatrists?

The majority of podiatrists work in private practice. Others seek employment in hospitals, aged care facilities, community care facilities, research facilities, sports clinics and other healthcare settings where their services are in demand. Some of them sign up to advanced podiatry training programs that centre on one or more fields of study, including:

As a specialist in an important aspect of health care, a  podiatrist can look forward to a long and rewarding career that's in demand throughout Australia. Check out numerous courses on the Natural Therapy Pages to launch your career in complementary medicine.

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Originally published on Aug 26, 2020

FAQs About Becoming a Podiatrist

Are foot doctors real doctors?

They are, indeed, doctors. Podiatrists are highly trained to diagnose and treat a variety of conditions affecting the feet and lower limbs.

How much do podiatrists earn?

A registered podiatrist in Australia who has less than five years of professional experience can earn, on average, $64K a year. On the other hand, the more experienced ones can rake in up to $82K annually. Their salaries depend on the location of their work and their area of specialisation.

Is podiatry a good career?

Podiatrists are in high demand because their skills are unique to their profession. It's only they who can provide comprehensive care and treatment for conditions affecting the feet and lower legs. This rare ability makes them an invaluable asset to the healthcare industry.

Related Topics

A Career in Natural Therapies,  Studying Natural Therapies,  Podiatry

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