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Summary of occupation

Podiatrists diagnose and treat ailments of the feet and lower limbs. They help to relieve discomfort or increase mobility for their patients by diagnosing and preventing foot injuries and disorders, prescribing orthotics and offering advice on foot care. They also treat walking abnormalities in children and perform both minor and major surgery, either on warts and ingrown nails, or on misaligned toes. They also undertake administrative work, order medical supplies, and may also offer public advice on foot care through talks or conferences.

ANZSCO description: Prevents, diagnoses and treats disorder of the  feet. Registration or licensing is required.
Alternative names: Chiropodist
Specialisations: Childrens Podiatrist, Diabetic Podiatrist, Podiatric Surgeon, Sports Podiatrist
Job prospects: Good
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

A podiatrist needs:

  • a desire to help people
  • an interest in human biology
  • strong communication skills
  • organisational skills
  • patience and tact
  • hand-eye co-ordination and manual dexterity
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Working conditions

Podiatrists work in private practices, health clinics, nursing homes and other medical facilities. They usually work regular hours but may be required to work long hours at times. They examine and handle peoples feet, and may come into contact with unhygenic body tissue.

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Salary details

On average, podiatrists can expect to earn between $1 500 to $1 999 per week ($78 000 and $103 000 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience. As a podiatrist develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase.

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Tools and technologies

Podiatrists make and fit insoles and other corrective devices that they fit to their client's shoes, feet and lower legs. They prescribe medications, skin creams and balms for their patients, and also use x-ray equipment to diagnose foot problems. They also use surgical instruments and dressings, sterilising equipment, and treatment tables, as well as orthotic materials, grinders and shaping equipment, and video gait-analysis equipment.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

To become a podiatrist, you must first complete a bachelor degree in any discipline, and then complete a postgraduate degree in podiatry.

The Doctor of Podiatric Medicine three year graduate degree from the University of Western Australia will provide you with the training to become an accredited podiatrist. To get into this course, you must first have successfully completed a bachelor degree in any discipline with a grade point average of at least 5.0 and achieved an average score of 50 in the Graduate Australian Medical Schools Admissions Test (GAMSAT).

To work as a podiatrist in Western Australia, you must obtain professional registration with the Podiatry Board of Australia, and hold a current Working with Children Check issued by the Working with Children Screening Unit of the Department of Community Services.

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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