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There are three steps required to become a chiropodist: post-secondary education, clinical experience, and completing the license requirements. A chiropodist is also known as a podiatrist. This type of medical doctor specializes in the foot and treatment of mobility issues related to the foot and ankle.
A chiropodist can find employment opportunities in a hospital, fracture clinic, private practice, or a health services clinic. Patients are typically referred to a chiropodist by their family physician or by the hospital. The foot is critical to mobility and the appropriate treatment can allow patients with injuries, diseases, or foot pain to maintain normal, active lives.
The first step to become a chiropodist is to attend medical school. All chiropodists are fully trained medical doctors. Admission to the chiropody program is based on marks obtained in the undergraduate degree, letters of recommendation, and an entrance examination. This type of program is not available at every medical school. Take the time to review the different schools that offer this degree before making your selection.
Courses in the first year of the chiropody program include the anatomy of the foot, locomotion, biomechanics of the foot, foot diseases, and treatments. People who want to become a chiropodist are usually detail oriented, have an interest in biomechanics, and are excellent observers. Many gait or movement irregularities are related to foot problems.
Clinical experience is part of the training program to become a chiropodist. The work terms are coordinated by the medical school and allow the student to work under the supervision of a chiropodist in both hospital and clinical practice settings. The variety of experiences available varies greatly by school. Take the time to review the different programs available and the different links and associations that the school has cultivated before making the school selection.
In order to become a chiropodist, a license from the state medical board is required. The license is granted after a review of academic credentials, a specific number of clinical hours, and the successful completion of a written examination. A separate license is required to practice in each state, although many states have reciprocal licensing arrangements, so that candidates do not have to write the same exam in multiple locations.
People who have the greatest enjoyment from a career as a chiropodist enjoy helping people, are naturally outgoing, and gain personal satisfaction from problem solving. Foot problems are notoriously complex and have a huge impact on patient quality of life. A chiropodist can make a difference in the lives of children, adults, and seniors with foot and mobility issues.