How to Become a Physiotherapist: A Step-by-Step Guide
With around 113,000 physiotherapists, it’s one of the most popular and well-paying healthcare professions in Australia.
In this blog, you’ll discover more about the role as a physiotherapist, find out which physiotherapist course you should choose, what the job involves, and the steps in getting a job.
What is a physiotherapist?
A physiotherapist, also known as a physical therapist, is a healthcare professional who specialises in the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of physical conditions and injuries. They work with patients of all ages to restore and maintain physical function, mobility, and overall well-being. Physiotherapists often work as part of a healthcare team, collaborating with doctors, nurses, and other specialists to provide comprehensive care.
What does a physiotherapist do?
Physiotherapists perform a wide range of tasks to help patients improve their physical health and recover from injuries. Some of their key responsibilities include:
- Assessing and diagnosing physical conditions and injuries
- Developing personalised treatment plans and goals for each patient
- Providing hands-on treatments such as manual therapy, exercises, and stretches
- Using specialised equipment and modalities like ultrasound, electrical stimulation, and heat therapy
- Educating patients on injury prevention, self-management techniques, and promoting overall health and well-being
- Monitoring and evaluating patient progress and adjusting treatment plans accordingly
How much does a physiotherapist earn?
According to PayScale, the average annual physiotherapist salary in Australia is around $70,000 to $100,000 AUD. Entry-level physiotherapists can expect to earn around $60,000 AUD per year, while experienced professionals with advanced qualifications and expertise can earn significantly higher salaries.
How to become a physiotherapist in Australia
To become a physiotherapist in Australia, these are the recommended steps you should take:
- Study a physiotherapy course: Start by completing a Bachelor’s degree in Physiotherapy or a similar degree such as a Bachelor of Health Science (Exercise). This typically takes three-to-four years to complete, with full time and part time study options.
Alternatively if you are time sensitive, a Certificate III and/or Certificate IV in Allied Health Assistance (Physiotherapy) can help you get your foot in the door as a physiotherapy assistant. The course only taking up to 12 months to complete.
- Work experience: During your studies, you’ll have the opportunity to gain hands-on clinical experience through placements in hospitals, clinics, and community settings. This practical experience is crucial in developing your skills and understanding of the profession.
- Registration: Upon graduation, you must register with the Physiotherapy Board of Australia, the regulatory body for physiotherapists. This registration ensures that you meet the required standards and can legally practice.
Six main specialisations in physiotherapy
Specialisations in physiotherapy allow physiotherapists to focus on specific areas of practice and provide specialised care to patients with different needs. Here are some common specialisations in physiotherapy:
These physiotherapists work with athletes and active individuals, helping them prevent and recover from sports-related injuries. They focus on rehabilitation, improving performance, and preventing future injuries in sports and athletics.
These specialists focus on assessing and treating conditions that affect the muscles, joints, and bones. They help people with issues like back pain, arthritis, fractures, and recovery after surgery.
These physiotherapists work with patients who have neurological conditions such as stroke, multiple sclerosis, or spinal cord injuries. They focus on improving movement, function, and independence for individuals with neurological impairments.
These specialists work with children who have developmental delays, congenital conditions, or injuries. They help address motor development, coordination, and physical challenges specific to kids.
These physiotherapists work with older adults, addressing age-related conditions, mobility issues, and diseases like osteoporosis or arthritis. They focus on promoting independence, fall prevention, and maintaining functional abilities.
Cardiovascular and respiratory physiotherapy
These specialists work with patients who have heart or lung conditions. They assist with pulmonary rehabilitation, manage breathing difficulties, and improve cardiovascular fitness.
By specialising in one of these areas, physiotherapists gain additional training and knowledge to provide targeted care that meets the specific needs of their patients. It helps them contribute to better health outcomes and improve the quality of life for their patients.
Becoming a physiotherapist in Australia requires dedication, a passion for helping others, and a commitment to ongoing learning. With a rewarding career that focuses on improving physical health and well-being, physiotherapy offers numerous opportunities for personal and professional growth. If you’re considering a career as a physiotherapist, follow the outlined steps, and kickstart your career in an exciting journey in this dynamic and fulfilling field.
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