Thinking of training to be a Foot Health Practitioner? With an ageing population and a reduction in NHS Podiatry provision for only the most high-risk and vulnerable patients, there has never been a better time to consider a career in Foot Health.

Brenda Griffin – Only Footcare Managing Director

You may be looking for an opportunity to become self-employed after enduring the vulnerability of being employed during the pandemic or simply have come to a point in your life where you want to work hard and reap the rewards for yourself, enjoying the freedoms that working for yourself gives you.

Becoming a Foot Health Practitioner (FHP) isn’t for everyone. It takes a lot of independent study hours, usually working alongside your current employment and family commitments, but those who undertake training and continue to progress their careers with quality continued professional development will tell you they love their jobs and wish they had taken the plunge years earlier.

Foot Health Practitioner Training

Every worthwhile career starts with training. One quick Google Search will throw up a whole host of training providers which range from short online only courses to courses that offer you a pathway to a degree in podiatry. How you navigate this information will depend on what you want your career to look like.

Firstly, you need to know what is the difference between a Podiatrist (POD), a Chiropodist, a Foot Health Practitioner (FHP) and a Pedicurist! They’re all capable of looking after feet but their job roles and educational training vary vastly. Understanding the foot health care world will help you make the right decision for your future.

Once you are qualified, your skillset will just keep expanding over time. With our foot health care training we furnish professionals with new skills to help them expand and grow their practice with innovative products and techniques.

What is a Foot Health Practitioner? Different Types of Practitioners:

A Podiatrist has a degree in Podiatry from university. They may have studied for 3 years full time, or worked towards a degree on a part time program or even completed a Podiatry Degree via an apprenticeship program while working in a podiatry clinic or an NHS Trust. The opportunity to ‘earn while you learn’ is appealing. The Royal College of Podiatry has loads of information on their website, where you can find out everything you need to know about podiatry careers and work out which route is best for you.

In the UK we haven’t trained any new Chiropodists since 1999. Those that were trained prior to 2000, have mostly upgraded their qualifications and have now completed a Podiatry degree equivalent. They may use the older moniker of Chiropodist as many elderly people still know and understand this term, but in essence, most would use both Chiropodist and Podiatrist or state that they offer Chiropody and Podiatry services. They may also be a member of The Institute of Chiropodists and Podiatrists. Both Podiatrists and Chiropodists are able to register with the Health and Care Professionals Council and work under their guidance and regulation.

Foot Health Practitioners started to be trained in the UK in about 2000, following the change in Chiropody training provision. FHP’s do not have a degree in Podiatry and can’t be registered with the HCPC, but they are an invaluable addition to the workforce and play an important role in foot health care. In fact, there are probably more FHP’s in the UK workforce than Podiatrists, but as they are unregulated the actual numbers are unknown.

Pedicurists are usually trained to Level 2 and may work in beauty salons, nail bars and spas’. They offer cosmetic foot care services, but are nevertheless usually trained in A&P and have a good understanding of nail knowledge and basic skin care knowledge. They are not able to work with a scalpel or work with clients who have medical foot care needs.

Where To Train As A Foot Health Practitioner

The Royal College of Podiatry is currently working on how to incorporate FHP’s into their workforce in order to bolster the NHS podiatry teams. They offer an Assistant Practitioner Training Program for those who want to work in the NHS under a Lead Podiatrist.

The Institute of Chiropodists and Podiatrists also acknowledge the importance of FHP’s in the workforce and have opened their own training college – The College of Foot Health – which offers foundation training in foot health, tutored by Podiatrists. It also offers an interesting variety of ongoing CPD Courses to its members as well as insurance and a listing on their professional register. FHP’s who have not trained with the College of Foot Health can still apply to be members provided they meet their criteria and are sponsored by another member.

The SMAE Institute is one of the oldest training establishments offering FHP training. They used to train Chiropodists but made the change at the turn of the century. They uniquely offer FHP’s the opportunity to upgrade their qualifications to degree level in partnership with Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh.

What To Look Out For Before Signing Up To Train

There are many other training providers offering either Level 3 or 4 qualifications in Foot Health. The cost and quality of the courses vary, but there are definitely some important points you should consider before you part with your hard-earned money.

Are they a dedicated foot care training provider?

Schools that specialise in foot health care training are always going to be more passionate, more experienced and offer better support than large multinational colleges that offer all sorts of career and recreational courses.

The principal of a specialist school is usually qualified as a Chiropodist or Podiatrist and has done the job you are training to do. They have real life experience and a wealth of knowledge to share with their students. Take a look at Finest Feet Training Academy for more information.

Is the qualification offered a Certificate or Diploma?

A certificate is generally considered a less intense qualification, as it takes less time to complete, sometimes only a day or only online modules. It is often the cheapest qualification offered. The content of the course is variable.

A Diploma offers more in-depth study and practical work and prepares the learner for a professional role as well as more complex study. Usually the practical element is 2 weeks long and very intensive. Take a look at Innovate Awarding for more information.

Has the qualification on offer been listed on The Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF)?

RQF is an Ofqual regulated system of cataloguing qualifications. Qualifications on the RQF can be found by their size or level. Qualifications at a given level can differ depending on their content and purpose.

Qualifications not on the RQF vary in quality and content,

How much self-study do you have to complete?

Quality organisations will provide you with a series of modules, usually done online that include core topics like Anatomy & Physiology, some independent research and essays. This part of the training can take many months to complete, as you work towards your qualifications. How quickly you complete the work will always depend on your motivation and time available to study.

How much practical work is included in the course?

Courses that offer no practicals, or ask you to arrange your own should be avoided. You absolutely must have some practical element to your training. It is generally accepted that 2 weeks should be the minimum amount of practical work.

Usually students do have to travel away from home for the 2 week practical, but most find it a great experience, getting to know their cohort that are going through the training together. Lifelong friendships are often formed during this time.

What support is offered by the training provider?

Support to get you through the course – will you have a dedicated tutor who can guide and advise you through your studies?

Post training support is invaluable and you should be able to go back to your tutor or join a dedicated Facebook group associated with the school to be supported through your career

Do they offer ongoing CPD courses so that you can increase your knowledge?

Getting your FHP qualification is just the start of your career as an FHP but you will want to gain more knowledge and experience as you progress.

Once you have completed your initial training, the learning doesn’t have to stop. Throughout your career you are likely to continue to learn and grow with new methods and techniques to help your clients. At OnlyFootcare we run our own training courses to offer professionals the qualifications to enable them to use The Verruca Pen, as well as in nail reconstruction and correction with Onyfix and Toeflex training courses. This gives you access to a network of fellow practitioners, and a place on our directory. We’re also of course on hand to provide professional foot care products, all approved and sourced by our experienced team of foot care professionals.

29 Comments. Leave new

  • Danielle Doherty
    March 8, 2023 4:45 pm

    I am a beauty therapist with around 30 years experience and would like to further my career into foot health care. What I can’t do is find any training for this in London or even the south east, due to family and commitments I can not go to any of the training courses I’m wales or stone bridge. Sue you have a solution to my predicament?

    Reply
  • Danielle Doherty
    March 8, 2023 4:46 pm

    are there any training courses in London?

    Reply
    • Brenda Griffin
      March 8, 2023 5:05 pm

      HI Danielle, We don’t know of any FHP courses in London. Maidenhead in Berkshire at the SMAE Institute is the closeset to the capital. As with all courses, you would complete all the theory online and only visit the college for your 2 week practical. This is usually planned well in advance so is manageable. The time spent away on your practcal weeks is hard work, but worth it.

      Reply
  • I’m doing my course in FHP but would like to have face to face tutoring is this possible obviously I would need to pay . I’m in Leicester

    Reply
    • Brenda Griffin
      November 7, 2023 2:56 pm

      Hi Gary, thanks for your enquiry. I would like to recommend you speak to finestfeettrainingacademy@gmail.com who will be able to advise you of your options, taking into account any prior learning you have done etc. You will find them very helpful. They are based in the West Midlands, so not so far from you. Good Luck

      Reply
  • Hi , I was wondering if there were any foot health practitioner training colleges in Scotland

    Reply
    • Brenda Griffin
      November 9, 2023 1:47 pm

      HI Karen, we spoke on messenger, but for other readers, I don’t belive there are any FHP Training facilities in Scotland – happy to know if there are though!

      Reply
  • Hi, I’ve just completed a Level 3 training with 10 day practical. The Level 4 trainings I’ve seen look remarkably similar: same modules and same 10 day practical. Could you tell me why mine (Stonebridge and Learn Direct) was only a Level 3 course?

    Reply
    • Brenda Griffin
      December 11, 2023 9:22 am

      Hi Emma, our education system in the UK goes in Levels – from Level 1 (beginner) to Level 7 (graduate) so as you work your way up the levels, there is always a deeper understanding of the subject and the educator requires more indepth answers and a demonstration of your knowledge and the subject. Both L3 and L4 FHP education will allow you to work as an independent FHP and run a successful buisness. If you want to progress to get a degree in Podiatry, L4 is your next step or going direct to a Podiatry apprenticeship. Having completed the L3 qualification, you will no doubt have a hunger for more knowledge and that is where CPD (continuous professional development) courses come in. I hope this helps you understand your qualification a bit more?

      Reply
    • Hi Emma I am currently looking at enrolling in this level 3 course with learn direct. There are some terrible reviews though and it’s putting me off. Can I ask you opinion on the course/support/tutors please

      Reply
  • I am a registered nurse and keen to venture into self employed FHP, predominantly home visiting and from a hired clinic space one day a week.

    Can you please advise if I need to get CQC registration to offer this service.
    Many thanks.

    Reply
    • Brenda Griffin
      January 15, 2024 9:26 am

      Hi Lisa

      In the UK, Foot Health Practitioners are currently unregulated, therfore no CQC registration is possible. There are a number of voluntary registeres, usually run by the school you train at, that you can join, but there is no obligation. Hope this helps?

      Reply
  • Pippa Mulhearn
    February 16, 2024 8:24 am

    I work as a Podiatry Assistant Practitioner with NHS Dumfries and Galloway and would like to transition as a FHP as I am unable to get on a register to practice privately as considering setting up a private practice is there anywhere near me that offers training.

    Reply
  • Pippa Mulhearn
    February 16, 2024 8:27 am

    I work as a Podiatry Assistant Practitioner with NHS Dumfries and Galloway and would like to transition as a FHP to practice privately as considering setting up a private practice is there anywhere near me that offers training.

    Reply
    • HI Pippa, thanks for your eqnuiry. Unfortunatley there are no FHP Colleges or education providers in Scotland to my knowledge. You would need to speak directly to a college of you choice and register with them. There will be a certain amount of APL (aquired prior learning ) that they should be able to map against the qualificaton on offer, so that you don’t have to complete all the written modules but you would still have to complete the 2 weeks practical work to complete the qualification. I have spoken to Finest Feet Training Academy on your behalf and they would be very happy to work with you to achieve your goals.

      Reply
  • Karen Cochrane
    March 8, 2024 6:29 pm

    Hello. I have employed many foot health practitioners for my own mom and have been very disappointed in the level of service. I just want someone to cut her toe nails well and not charge £35 for 10 mins !!!!! Can I learn to cut toe nails ?

    Reply
    • Brenda Griffin
      March 18, 2024 9:26 am

      HI Karen, You of course can learn to be a foot health practitioner if you are prepared to study for 6-9 months on your own then attend your chosen college for 2 weeks of practical work. FHP’s don’t just cut nails, they check your feet and take care of the skin as well. They invest in their education and instruments, that they sterilise after every use. All that costs money and each client is allocated a time slot. If your mother is kept comfortable and is happy with the job done by the FHP then I would say they have done a good job.

      Reply
  • Susan milburn
    March 17, 2024 12:26 pm

    I am a registered nurse and looking to set up a foot healthcare practice. I live in south Wales. Where is the nearest practical training.

    Reply
  • Mrs Tracy McCarthy
    March 18, 2024 8:50 pm

    Hello, at present I run my own mobile hairdressing business but I would really like to train to become a FHP. Could you possibly please advise me on were to start training. Many thanks.

    Reply
    • Brenda Griffin
      March 19, 2024 3:46 pm

      HI Tracy, that’s great that you want to retrain to do foot health, it’s a really rewarding career. There are many schools you can attend and I suggest you take a look at each one and see what suits you. If you can aim for a Level 4 course that gives you a 2 week practical element, this is by far the best way forward. ! week in a busy school often results in students not getting enough hands on practical and they end up spending more time trying to find someone to help them gain confidence. Please don’t try to do an course that is only online as that is just not good enough. You need tutuors that can guide and support you. Good luck

      Reply
  • Hi I am a registered nurse and interested in starting a career as FCP. I don’t particularly want to study for a year & would be happy to enrol in level 3 course. I have contacted learn direct who offer a level 3 diploma and 10 days practical @ Stonebridge in Birmingham. Has anyone had experience with Learn Direct ??? I have seen some very negative reviews but unsure if any were related to this course as not stated

    Reply
    • Brenda Griffin
      March 20, 2024 9:58 am

      Hi Lynne, may I suggest you join some of the Foot Health forums on Facebook and ask your qwestion there. You will get lots of personal opionions and be able to make up your mind better. What I would say is, that as a nurse, you will fly through the online modules as you already know most of it, and it will be mostly a refresher for you, A&P etc is all the same. Make sure that you get a full 10 days practical and ask previous students how many actual clients they saw in the days they were on their practical. You don’t want to waste your time, watching other people work when you really need to get stuck in and gain experience. Try the FHP Lounge or Finest FHP’s or Foot Health Practitioners all these groups are very active.

      Reply
      • Thank you so much for your advice Brenda. I did actually look up fb forums but had to be qualified as they asked for my company name. I will try as suggested 🙏

        Reply
  • Hi I am a registered nurse and interested in starting a career as FCP. I don’t particularly want to study for a year & would be happy to enrol in level 3 course. I have contacted learn direct who offer a level 3 diploma and 10 days practical @ Stonebridge in Birmingham. Has anyone had experience with Learn Direct ???

    Reply
  • Teresa Mitchell
    May 3, 2024 3:42 pm

    Hi, I wondered if you could give me some advice?
    1. Are there apprenticeships available for adults to train as FCP?
    2. I have worked as a beauty therapist for many years, and do alot of pedicures, but would like to change career course and now specialise solely in feet care, which Foot Institute, offer level 4 courses?
    Many Thanks
    Teresa

    Reply
    • Brenda Griffin
      May 13, 2024 5:05 pm

      HI Teresa, there are no apprenticships for FHP’s but there are for Podiatry. Please check the Royal College Website for more information https://rcpod.org.uk/careers/the-apprenticeship-route alternativley check out some of the references in this blog post for Level 4 FHP Qualifications. The route you choose to go will depend on many factors like your age, your business plan, how much time you want to devote to study, how quickly you want to be able to earn money among other things.

      Reply
  • Hi , I am a Level 3 beauty therapist with 20 years experience. I am looking for a FHP course. I am based in south wales . Could you recommend a really good training centre and what qualifications would I need

    Reply
    • Brenda Griffin
      May 13, 2024 5:07 pm

      Hi Sarah, the nearest established training provider offering Level 4, that I can recommend is Finest Feet Training Academy in Wolverhampton.

      Reply

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