Pedorthists work in nursing homes, hospitals, foot and ankle clinics, podiatrists' offices, and other medical facilities. Some pedorthists do research in labs or operate specialty shoe stores.
The most direct way to enter this field is to earn at least a two-year degree that includes a summer internship. Most likely, the internships will turn into jobs or into leads to other possible job opportunities. Although certification is important, it's not necessary to break into the field.
If a four-year degree is chosen, there is even more opportunity to gain hands-on experience through internships and summer jobs. Many college and university campuses have abundant student jobs in all areas. When choosing a college or university, be sure to select one with an on-campus hospital so you'll have opportunities to learn in a health care setting.
The more skills a pedorthist gains, the easier it is to advance in the field. For example, a pedorthist who has experience in creating certain footwear and devices may be able to get a higher level position in a foot clinic that specializes in making its own footwear. Other pedorthists may become the head of research in the pedorthic area at a college, university, or laboratory.
Since there are many areas in pedorthics to specialize in, skilled pedorthists can use their experience to advise shoe companies or any business that relies on proper footwear. Some pedorthists will advance to manage therapeutic shoe stores or run a foot and ankle clinic.
Tips for Entry
Find a pedorthist program that is accredited by the National Commission on Orthotic and Prosthetic Education. A list is available at https://ncope.org/index.php/home-page-v2/academic-programs/ncope-accredited-pedorthic-programs/.
Some states require pedorthists to be licensed. To see a map of these states, go to https://www.abcop.org/State-Licensure/Pages/state-licensure.aspx.
Join the Pedorthic Footcare Association, https://www.pedorthics.org/default.aspx, which offers career and certification information, publications, and networking opportunities.