Podiatrist

Rata Waewae

Alternative titles for this job

Podiatrists diagnose, treat and prevent foot and lower limb problems.

Pay

Podiatrists usually earn

$46K-$65K per year

Senior podiatrists usually earn

$69K-$95K per year

Source: Podiatry New Zealand, 2017.

Job opportunities

Chances of getting a job as a podiatrist are good due to growing demand, especially in rural areas.

Pay

Pay for podiatrists varies depending on experience and level of responsibility.

  • Graduates usually start on about $46,000 a year.
  • After two to three years' experience they usually earn about to $65,000 a year.
  • Senior podiatrists and those with extra clinical or managerial responsibilities may earn between $69,000 and $95,000 a year.

Podiatrists in private practice may earn similar amounts or more, depending on the success of the business.

Source: Podiatry New Zealand, 2017.

(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our pay information)

What you will do

Podiatrists may do some or all of the following:

  • treat foot problems, sports injuries and walking or running disorders
  • treat gait (walking) abnormalities in children
  • prescribe and arrange the making of orthotics (inner soles) to correct foot problems
  • advise patients about foot health, prevention and treatment of problems, and choice of shoes
  • perform foot surgery such as nail or wart removal, or toe realignment
  • carry out biomechanical assessments.

Skills and knowledge

Podiatrists need to have knowledge of:

  • the structure and function of the skeleton and its muscular system
  • medical conditions that influence mobility
  • various medicines and how they affect the body
  • different x-ray and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques
  • how to sculpt orthotics (inner soles)
  • how to carry out minor surgical operations.

Podiatrists who run their own businesses also need business skills.

Working conditions

Podiatrists usually work:

  • regular business hours
  • in clinics or from their homes, but may also work in hospitals, marae or shoe shops.

What's the job really like?

Karyn Lehrke

Karyn Lehrke

Podiatrist

Satisfaction in helping clients - painlessly

"I'm really keen on keeping people walking – helping people who find it painful to walk or exercise because they have a foot condition," says Karyn Lehrke.

"Someone may have a really sore corn and been too scared to get anything done. They are amazed when you can painlessly remove it. It's satisfying giving that instant relief."

Keeping in touch with colleagues

Karyn, like many podiatrists, is self-employed. "It can be lonely at times, making decisions and running your own business. It helps to keep in regular contact with your fellow graduates, and join a professional organisation like Podiatry New Zealand."

Getting out in the community

"As well as working from my practice, I also treat people at rest homes. You are a bit of a team player there - contributing to the overall health and care of the residents.

It's great, knowing your work is appreciated. I like to know that I have helped people be more comfortable on their feet – that's the satisfaction."

Lawrence Kingi talks about working as a podiatrist - 1.31mins. (Video courtesy of Kia Ora Hauora)

Tēnā koutou, welcome to Kia Ora Hauora. Taratara te maunga. Whangaroa te moana. Ngāi Tupango me Ngāti Kahu ōku iwi. Ko Lawrence Kingi tōku ingoa, and I'm a Māori podiatrist.

Podiatry is a lower limb specialist, we mainly deal with the foot – feet, and it’s any diseases or malignments, so we just pretty much correct those.

We have got a huge area of diabetics in the community, so a lot of my work has to do a lot with screening, and amputation prevention. A lot of it is education. Like I might see them beforehand with GPs, because I work in GP clinics, and I say, ‘Make sure if you come to me you clean your feet, before you come into my clinic." You know, you tease them a bit, aye, but at the same time I'm thinking, "Don't you dare."

Podiatry you think it's just to do with feet but it’s every medical condition you can think of, will affect your feet. It's the last place to get the good blood and it's always the hardest to return the blood back up to the ticker.

I studied at AUT on the Shore; it's the only school. And it was a degree, Bachelor of Health Science in Podiatry. I think there was only so many Māori – six Māori podiatrists working in that year. I thought, 'Oh yeah, that sounds like me.'

I haven't had a dull moment yet.

So, if anyone’s keen out there to come and do the podiatry, we need a lot more Māori podiatrists.

Together with Kia Ora Hauora, let's see more Māori living careers in health.

Kia Ora Hauora.

Entry requirements

To become a podiatrist you need a Bachelor of Health Science majoring in podiatry from Auckland University of Technology (AUT), or an overseas qualification recognised by the Podiatrists Board of New Zealand.

You also need to be registered with the Podiatrists Board of New Zealand and have a current Annual Practising Certificate.

The Vulnerable Children Act 2014 means that if you have certain serious convictions, you can’t be employed in a role where you are responsible for, or work alone with, children.

Secondary education

A tertiary entrance qualification is required to enter further training. Useful subjects include biology, chemistry, physical education, health and English.

Personal requirements

Podiatrists need to be:

  • patient, friendly and helpful
  • practical and accurate, with an eye for detail
  • efficient and able to work well independently
  • good listeners and communicators
  • good at time management.

Useful experience

Useful experience for podiatrists includes:

  • work caring for people, such as nursing
  • experience in shoe manufacturing or sports industries.

Physical requirements

Podiatrists need to have good eyesight (with or without corrective lenses).

Registration

Podiatrists need to be registered with the Podiatrists Board of New Zealand and have a current Annual Practising Certificate.

Find out more about training

Podiatrists Board of New Zealand
(04) 474 0706 - registrar@podiatristsboard.org.nz - www.podiatristsboard.org.nz
Podiatry New Zealand
(04) 473 9547 - contact@podiatry.org.nz - www.podiatry.org.nz
Check out related courses

What are the chances of getting a job?

Best job chances outside Auckland

Demand for podiatrists is higher in rural areas rather than in Auckland. Auckland University of Technology is the only place to study podiatry and so competition for Auckland based jobs is high.

Demand for podiatrists is growing due to:

  • increased funding for podiatry services for health problems such as diabetes
  • an ageing population, meaning more people will need treatment for age-related foot and walking problems
  • increasing numbers of people with diabetes and obesity, which often cause foot problems
  • more awareness of, and demand for, sports podiatrists.

Direct approach can be the best way to get work as a podiatrist

Job vacancies are often not advertised. Approach podiatry businesses directly to look for work, or ask Podiatry New Zealand to be connected to a mentor. Trainees may also hear about openings during their study.

Most podiatrists are self-employed

There are around 380 podiatrists working in New Zealand. 

Over two-thirds of podiatrists are self-employed. Podiatrists may also work for:

  • established private practices
  • public hospitals
  • universities, teaching or doing research
  • private hospitals or rest homes.

Sources

  • Pelvin, J, chief executive officer, Podiatry New Zealand, Careers New Zealand interview, April 2017.
  • Podiatrists Board of New Zealand website, accessed April 2017, (www.podiatristsboard.org.nz).

(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our job opportunities information)

Progression and specialisations

Podiatrists may progress to work in managerial or educational roles, or establish their own practice.

Podiatrists may specialise in:

  • high-risk feet (diabetes)
  • sports injuries
  • paediatrics (children's feet)
  • aged care.
A close-up picture of a podiatrist performing surgery on a foot

Podiatrists diagnose, treat and prevent foot and lower limb problems

Last updated 2 July 2019