To qualify as a podiatrist you’ll need to take a degree or follow an apprenticeship route.
Once you’ve successfully completed your degree you’ll need to register with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) before you can start practising.
An undergraduate degree normally takes three years to complete and you can search for courses on www.ucas.com. You could also follow a masters route – sites like FindAMasters may help you. Apprenticeships can be found at gov.uk
If following either degree route you’ll receive at least £5,000 a year to help fund your studies, through the NHS Learning Support Fund. And because podiatry is a shortage specialism you’ll receive an additional £1,000 a year. The best part? You won’t have to pay a penny of this back.
This website was produced in conjunction with the University of Brighton who developed the UK’s first undergraduate degree in podiatry and the first masters degree.
Below you can find out more about studying to be a podiatrist with the University of Brighton and get an idea of what being a student there is like.
University of Brighton courses
These are our students stories – inspirational, motivating & thought provoking
Medicine is in Lucy’s bones
She studied social anthropology, worked as a law firm business manager for ten years, but has now found her true vocation – as a foot doctor.
Lucy Rutler, an inspiration to those who believe in ‘it’s never too late’, now feels fulfilled as she graduates this summer from the University of Brighton with a first class Podiatry BSc(Hons) degree, having scored 90 per cent-plus across her final year.
Lucy is now practising at a foot clinic in Shoreham run by a University of Brighton alumni and at a sports clinic in Hove where she is working alongside physiotherapists specialising in foot and ankle musculoskeletal pathology.
Lucy said: “I am 45 so I think the ‘never too late’ phrase is highly appropriate in my case.
“My father was a GP and my mother an Occupational Therapist so I guess the medicine thing was in my bones. I didn’t really give my future career much thought first time round in my late teens so I just studied what I was most interested in at the time which was basically travelling the world and learning about other cultures.
“When I took the decision to study again, podiatry appealed because it’s medical, it felt achievable and it really appealed to me to specialise in one part of the body.
“Also feet are so important to maintaining mobility and independence – and I have seen both my parents struggle with this in their later years.
“I absolutely loved the opportunity of studying something new in my 40s and am really excited by my new career. It’s been very tough though balancing the demands of the course with my children’s needs and has resulted in many late nights and lots of parental guilt but it’s doable and I highly recommend it.”
Never too late to change careers
Three students who swapped careers for podiatry have graduated from the University of Brighton.
Niki Kourtoglou was a qualified nutritionist but found the subject lacked fulfilment. The podiatry programme enabled her to become a student ambassador, delivering presentations to schools, to work with Age UK to provide foot care, and to retrain as a podiatrist. She graduated with a first.
Adam Main taught English as foreign language, worked in the hospitality industry, taught scuba diving, and studied osteopathy – but finally changed careers, graduating this year in podiatry.
Finally, former dental nurse Natalie Laws opted for a career change in podiatry which she found “interesting, varied and challenging”. She plans to move to London in a graduate role with Guys & St Thomas NHS Trust.
Dr Simon Otter, podiatry Principal Lecturer in the University’s School of Health Sciences at the University’s Eastbourne campus, said: “All three were great students and a great inspiration to others – they have showed it’s never too late to change careers.”
These graduations come at a time of a national shortage of podiatrists and the NHS is keen to recruit more people into the podiatry profession.
Dr Otter continues: “Podiatry is a great career and one that has a direct impact on improving peoples’ lives.”
How my mum’s stroke changed my career
Amy Beaumont was heading for a career in ecology and the environment – until the day her mother suffered a devastating stroke.
“I watched my mum’s remarkable rehabilitation with a neuro-physiotherapist and other specialists and realised I had to switch careers and do something in healthcare – to help others.”
Amy, 22 and from Bishop Stortford, Hertfordshire, had already been accepted on an ecology course at another university but later declined the offer to pursue her new goal.
She applied to five universities to study physiotherapy but was rejected by them all: “This was a real setback but then a friend Richard Handford who happens to be our family podiatrist suggested I might like podiatry.
“I confess I had reservations about the idea, thinking that podiatry was all about verrucas, but Richard reassured me. I shadowed his clinic, looked at two other podiatry clinics and attended a College of Podiatry meeting.
“I soon realised podiatry had so much more scope and I learned about the real impact lower limbs have on daily functions.
“I was fascinated to learn more; especially regarding helping people improve their quality of life, like the physiotherapist had done with my mother.”
Amy was hooked. She studied Podiatry BSc(Hons) at the University of Brighton and her enthusiasm for the subject grew throughout her three-year course. Her dedication led to her being nominated to be the Representative of the College of Podiatry Student Association and it allowed her to set up a Podiatry Society at the University, the first in five years.
Amy said: “This had a positive impact on the podiatry student’s retention and united all the classes together, forming a real sense of community.
“If you told me four years ago that I would be graduating from the University of Brighton with a First Degree in Podiatry I would not have believed you.
“Despite my initial hesitation, I can now say that choosing to study Podiatry was the best decision I’ve made to date.
“Not only has it given me the chance to help people daily, it has given me a career, friends for life and a real sense of purpose.”
Amy now has jobs at two podiatry clinics close to her home but added: “The best news is that mum is making a great recovery.”
Sam’s labour of love
Sam Davies spent more than six hours a day travelling to and from her home in Portsmouth to study at the University of Brighton – and raised a son and wrestled with dyslexia at the same time.
Her three-year “labour of love” finally paid off this summer when she graduated with a 2-2 in Podiatry BSc(Hons). Sam who was in retail before is now a qualified podiatrist and is working for a chiropodist practice in Winchester.
Sam, 27, said: “What kept me going was my son – I was determined to show him a better future. I hope my story can help others improve their lives by showing that anything is possible if you try.”
Sam originally had ambitions to become a vet and spent two years at college before switching careers and going into retail sales. It was when her son Jessi, now five, arrived that “I knew I should take my mum’s advice and make another career change”.
Sam took an access-to-health science course at college and gained all merits and distinction but failed her maths: “I was over the moon that the University of Brighton accepted me without maths. I still needed that capability for exams in anaesthetics and nail surgery in my second and third years and, I’m pleased to say, I obtained a first in that module.”
Sam’s day started with an alarm at 5am which gave her time to make the 6.20am train. Her mother would care for her son at her home before Sam’s return at 9pm. If she was lucky, her son would still be awake for her to tuck him into bed.
Sam had to take time off from her studies and failed exams when her son fell ill with measles, chicken pox and mumps, all in the first year, but, she said, the University allowed her to re-take.
Sam said she couldn’t have coped without support from the University and her parents: “The support I’ve had from my mum and dad has been out of this world. Financially, I’ve struggled but the University has helped me with hardship funds – I can’t thank them enough.
“They also provided mentors and coaching sessions to help me with my dyslexia, plus extra time for my written work.
“I was brought to tears when I was told I had a 2.2. I can’t explain the happiness I felt on that day.
“No one in my family is in health care and no one has had a university education – and I wanted to change that.
“I feel so lucky that I got this chance and that I received such wonderful support. I hope one day I can help train other students if they ever want to go into podiatry – it’s such an important issue. It’s the first line in helping to prevent amputations especially among patients with diabetes.”
Sam added: “I can’t thank Simon Otter (Principal Lecturer in the School of Health Sciences) and his amazing team enough for all their help and support.
“And if anyone is looking to study at a university where you want a voice and need support, then choose Brighton.”