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How to become a Physiotherapist

physiotherapist careers

What does a Physiotherapist do?

Physiotherapists treat patients with physical problems caused by accidents, illness and ageing, particularly those that affect muscles, bones, heart, circulation and lungs.

Physiotherapists use a range of treatments including: manipulation, massage, therapeutic exercise, electrotherapy, ultrasound, acupuncture and hydrotherapy.

The work can involve helping patients with spinal and joint problems, especially after an operation; assisting the rehabilitation of patients following accidents and sports injuries; working with children who are mentally or physically disabled; and possibly working with elderly patients with mobility problems.

Physiotherapists work in a team with other health care professionals. As well as treating patients, a physiotherapist must keep accurate records of patient treatment and progress.

Some physiotherapists specialise in sports therapy. For more details check the sports physiotherapist job profile.

What's the working environment like working as a Physiotherapist?

Physiotherapists in the NHS generally work 37.5 hours a week.

Most physiotherapists working for the NHS are based in hospitals or in the community in health centres, clinics and GP surgeries. They also visit patients in their own homes. Some may work for the local authority and voluntary organisations or in the private sector in hospitals, clinics, hospices, nursing homes, fitness centres and sports clinics.

Some travel may be involved if working at several centres.

What does it take to become a Physiotherapist?

To be a physiotherapist, you should:

  • have an interest and ability in health science
  • be concerned for the health and wellbeing of patients
  • have excellent communication skills
  • work well as part of a team
  • have good interpersonal skills
  • be patient, sensitive and tactful
  • have good organisational and administrative skills.

Physiotherapist Career Opportunities

Most physiotherapists work in the NHS. Other opportunities include working for local authorities or in the private sector in hospitals, hospices, nursing homes, fitness centres and sports clinics, or self- employed in private practice. There are also opportunities in large organisations to work in occupational health.

As an experienced physiotherapist promotion to senior positions is possible. There are also opportunities to specialise in one of many areas such as orthopaedics, sports therapy, occupational health or working with the elderly or children. Others work in research or teaching, or move into management.

Further information

If you would like to know anything about Physiotherapist that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

NHS Learning and Development Service
Tel: 08000 150 850
Email: learning@nhscareers.nhs.uk

Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP)
14 Bedford Row
Tel: 020 7306 6666

NHS Careers
PO Box 376
BS99 3EY
Tel: 0845 606 0655

Health Professions Council
Park House
184 Kennington Park Road
SE11 4BU
Tel: 020 7582 0866