Training as a Podiatrist

It is a legal requirement that all podiatrists working in the NHS or privately are registered. This entitlement is conferred after completing a three year full time Bachelor of Science Honours degree at a recognised school of podiatry, after which time podiatrists are designated as registered podiatrists/chiropodists.

The government introduced this way of standardising and regulating qualifications through the health and care professions council (HCPC). Please note that some Institutions offer courses to train as Foot Health Practitioners (or similar titles) – these courses do not train people to be podiatrists and it is illegal to claim to be a podiatrist/chiropodist without being registered.

Entry to a recognised podiatry school usually requires three science ‘A’ levels, but prior experience and other training/qualifications will be considered and it is best to discuss entry requirements with the school of your choice. The nearest schools to Oxford are in Southampton and Northampton.
There is growing recognition that students are seeking greater flexibility in studying methods and some schools are developing a modular course alongside the traditional taught degree route. For a list of podiatry schools and information on how to apply, please see the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service or

Use of Protected Titles from 1st April 2003

The health and care professions council (hcpc) has obtained legal clarification over the use of protected titles by the unregistered sector until 2005. This particularly relates to those currently undertaking training at private intstitutions whose courses are not approved for state registration.

The law changed on 1st April 2003. Anyone using the common titles of the professions regulated by the hcpc must now be on the hcpcregister, or they will be liable to prosecution.

There is an exception to this for anyone who has previously been practising under a protected title. These practitioners may continue to use that title until 2005. During this time they can apply to come onto the HPC register via the ‘Grandparenting’ process.

However, legal advice confirms that unregistered practitioners will only qualify for this exception if they have been in practice before 1 April 2003. Anyone who started practising after that date will only be able to use a protected title if they have taken an approved course and are registered with hcpc.

Those individuals who have trained at private sector training institutions and started practising after April 2003 can still apply for Grandparenting, but cannot use a protected title until they have successfully applied to come onto the Register.

This may apply to students currently studying in the private sector who did not complete their training until after 1st April 2003, or individuals who have previously qualified from private sector institutions, but did not start practising until after 1 April 2003.

These individuals may wish to gain relevant experience in order to support their grandparenting application, but will have to do so without using a protected title. Anyone improperly using a protected title will be committing an offence. If they then apply to come onto the HCPC register under the Grandparenting rules, conviction of this offence may be taken into account in assessing their application.

For more information, please see and follow the link to Grandparenting information.

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Page last reviewed: 14 August, 2017