Podiatry assistants, also known as chiropody assistants, are foot health practitioners responsible for providing foot care and treatment to patients. Working under the supervision of registered podiatrists, they cut toenails, apply dressings and handle clerical issues. If you enjoy working with your hands and possess strong communication skills, this could be the career for you.
Podiatry assistants often work with aged people, those recovering from foot injuries or surgeries and diabetic patients experiencing circulation and sensation problems.
Their day-to-day activities include:
- Taking records of patients and getting them ready for treatment by podiatrists
- Giving support to podiatrists during treatment procedures
- Nursing patients who have already been treated by podiatrists
- Providing treatment to patients who have been assessed by podiatrists
- Advising clients on nail and foot care
- Making appointments and responding to clients’ enquiries
Full-time podiatry assistants work at least 37 hours a week. Opportunities for part-time and job sharing are also available.
They are normally based in clinics, health centers, pharmacies, private clinics and hospitals. At times, they visit some patients in their residential homes.
At work, podiatry assistants wear uniforms for easy distinction among other healthcare practitioners.
Podiatry assistants are paid using the National Health Service’s Agenda for Change pay system. Beginning podiatry assistants begin at Band 2 and rise to Band 4 with experience gain, as shown in the following table:
Source: National Careers Service
If you fancy jobs that require little formal training, keep reading!
To set your foot in this profession, you don’t need to hold a postsecondary qualification. With a good general education (preferably four GCSEs at grade A to C in subjects such as math, biology and English), you are eligible for employment as a podiatry assistant.
However, employers prefer hiring experienced professionals. As such, you can pursue an allied health profession support apprenticeship scheme to gain the relevant knowledge and practical experience.
If you don’t like the idea of working in the NHS and wish to work as a self-employed foot practitioner, you could complete the following steps to get started:
- Obtain a diploma in Foot Health Practice
- Apply to join the relevant voluntary register, such as the Foot Health Practitioner Register.
Important Skills, Abilities and Qualities
To be a competent podiatry assistant, you should have:
- Strong spoken and written skills to perform clerical duties assigned to you
- Good hand-eye coordination
- Good interpersonal and teamwork skills
- Good computer skills to work comfortably with IT systems
- Care, empathy and patience
Training and Development
After finding a job, you will receive training to enhance your knowledge of:
- Podiatric conditions
- Skin and nail pathology
How long would you like to work as podiatry assistant before becoming a podiatrist? Well, your answer is as good as mine: For the shortest time possible!
To fast-tract your career, you pursue a foundation degree, followed by a full degree in podiatric medicine.
The employers for assistant podiatrists and qualified podiatrists include:
- The NHS
- Private clinics
- NHS Jobs
- Volunteering England
- Alliance of Private Sector Practitioners
- NHS Choices
- Journal of Foot and Ankle Research
- The College of Podiatry
We have provided you with all the information you need to become a podiatry assistant. Your job to is to use it effectively. Good luck!
Image Sourced: Premier Podiatry