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How to become a Physiotherapist

What does a Physiotherapist do?

Physiotherapy helps to restore movement and function when someone is affected by injury, illness or disability. It can also help to reduce your risk of injury or illness in the future (NHS, 2016).

What qualifications are needed to become a Physiotherapist?

In order to become a sports physiotherapist, you need to qualify as a chartered physiotherapist by completing a physiotherapy degree approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).

After this you will then be eligible for state registration and membership of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP).

Competition for places on physiotherapy degree course is incredibly high, therefore experience previous is essential to gain an advantage over other people.

It is possible to undertake a physiotherapy degree part-time whilst working as a Physiotherapy Assistant.

For all courses you will need to pass background checks by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) before registering with the HCPC.

The NHS would usually pay your course fees, and there is also a means-tested bursary to help with the cost of living while you train.

If you have a first or upper second class honours degree in a relevant subject (such as a biological science, psychology or sports science) you might be eligible for an accelerated postgraduate programme.

What to expect at work:

As a sports physiotherapist, you may work with top professional sports people, amateurs or people who do sport for leisure.

Your work will likely include:

Examining and diagnosing injuries

Planning treatment programmes

Using methods such as manipulation, massage, heat treatment, electrotherapy and hydrotherapy

Keeping records of patient's treatment and progress

What Salary can I expect?

Sports physiotherapists working for Public sector organisations such as universities can earn up to £30,000 a year. In the Private Sector the wage can increase considerably higher.

Skills and Experience

In order to be a good Physiotherapist you must have excellent spoken and written communication skills. You will also need to be very interested in Physical Education and Activity. You must have good interpersonal skills in order to encourage and motivate patients who often are not due to the injuries that they have. Having ability to work as part of a team is another essential skills that is required in this field of work.

Who might employ?

-Private hospitals

-GP practices and health centres

-Charities and voluntary organisations, particularly those serving people with disabilities

-Sports clinics, professional sports clubs, gyms and leisure centres

-The armed services

-Schools and children's centres

-Residential homes and day centres for elderly people

Career Progression?

When you are fully qualified, there are many opportunities to gain enhanced positions such as going into health service management. There are also other careers to look at in the industry such as going into teaching, training or research.

Best things about being a Physiotherapist?

Being a Physiotherapist is a very rewarding job as you are able to make a difference in patient’s lives. Every day is different and there are always new challenges around the corner.

Are there any Drawbacks?

The hours of being a physio are often unsociable, working at nights. The profession also requires a great deal of work experience to gain a full-time job.

More information:

For more information, advice and guidance about careers in PE, Sport, Training and Fitness and Activity Holiday Jobs, visit our careers advice centre; including job hunting tips,  CV guide and much more.