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Becoming a Physiotherapist

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Last Updated Sep 07, 2020

Physiotherapy, also dubbed as physical therapy, is the practice of using non-invasive means to treat physical injuries and dysfunctions. A physiotherapist is a highly trained professional with a thorough knowledge of life sciences and therapeutic techniques used for treatment. Becoming a physiotherapist requires tertiary studies leading to a Bachelor of Physiotherapy degree.

The uniqueness of physiotherapy lies in the safe, gentle and effective use of holistic techniques for treating a variety of physical conditions. In addition to earning your qualification, taking a physiotherapy course will hone your skills in the following modalities:

  • Therapeutic soft tissue massage
  • Tailored stretching and/or exercise programs
  • Breathing exercises
  • The application of heat, cold or ultrasound to relieve inflammation
  • Hydrotherapy

What are the Qualifications of a Physiotherapist?

To become a physiotherapist, you should have a sound understanding of the body's structure in relation to its different functions. You must also have a keen interest in maths and sciences, which are the primary focus of a four-year Bachelor of Physiotherapy course. 

On the other hand, if you have obtained a degree from another science course, you may receive advanced standing towards a two-year Master of Physiotherapy program. 

After earning these qualifications, you will be eligible to register with the Physiotherapy Board of Australia, a crucial step to becoming a full-fledged psychotherapist.

What are the Subjects Covered in a Physiotherapy Course?

Undergraduate and postgraduate courses in physiotherapy focus on different branches of life sciences to give students a grounding in body structure and movements. You will learn both the theoretical and practical aspects of the study, and explore all areas of anatomy, including its general and functional components. In addition to the body's form and function, you will also study the following:

  • Biology
  • Neurology
  • Psychology
  • Exercise science
  • Movement science
  • Physiology
  • Sociology
  • Pathology
  • Biochemistry

Besides treating injuries, a physiotherapist also resolves other physical disorders due to illness or old age. That said, your course may require you to take elective subjects concerning disabilities, aged care, drug and alcohol treatment. These subjects and several others will equip you with the skills and knowledge to provide an array of treatments and improve the quality of your patients' lives.

Like other physiotherapists, you have the option to take further studies later on through a certification or diploma course in specific therapeutic techniques, to supplement your treatment programs. Here are some training programs that are worth considering:

Where Can You Study Physiotherapy?

Several Australian universities focus on science courses. However, you want to study with a nationally accredited institution whose curriculum is recognised by the Australian Physiotherapy Council (APC). This professional body is responsible for setting and maintaining the highest standards for physiotherapy in the country.

Career Opportunities for Physiotherapists

Registered physiotherapists can pursue a range of career paths because they possess a unique set of skills and knowledge which no other health professional is capable of performing. Some go on to work with elite athletes in sports clubs, others in orthopaedic clinics and then are also those who work in the following:

  • Hospitals
  • Rehabilitation clinics
  • Aged care facilities
  • Sports therapy clinic
  • Private practice
  • Community health centres

The way to becoming a physiotherapist may require a lot of hard work, but a rewarding career awaits you at the end of the road. To start your career in complementary medicine, find a relevant course on the Natural Therapy Pages.

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Originally published on Aug 25, 2020

FAQs About Becoming a Physiotherapist

How do I become a physiotherapist?

You have to complete a four-year Bachelor of Physiotherapy or a Bachelor of Applied Science majoring in Physiotherapy. If you've obtained a qualification from another science course, you need to earn a Master of Physiotherapy degree.

Is it difficult to become a physiotherapist?

The answer depends on your interest. If you're a math and science enthusiast, you'll find studying physiotherapy enjoyable. Keeping your goal in sight will also make the learning process less daunting.

How many years does it take to study physiotherapy?

A Bachelor of Physiotherapy will take you four years to complete, but you have the option to undertake a two-year Master of Physiotherapy if you have been awarded a qualification from a relevant science course.

Do physiotherapists earn a lot of money?

On average, a registered physiotherapist in Australia with less than five years of experience earns $65K a year, while a more experienced practitioner can earn up to $89K.

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