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How to Become an Osteopath

Last Updated Aug 21, 2020

Osteopaths specialise in the diagnosis and treatment of pain and disorders affecting the musculoskeletal system. They have a solid grounding in science and are adept at a wide range of massage and stretching techniques.

However, an osteopath must not be confused with a massage therapist because the former draws their treatment plan following a thorough assessment of their client’s physical condition and the identification of the root of their problem.

Osteopathy works around the concept that treating an individual’s whole person allows them to harness their body’s natural healing ability. The rest of this article guides you through the steps you need to take to become a registered osteopath.  

Who Can Qualify as an Osteopath?

More than a diploma, a genuine interest in helping people improve their health is an inherent qualification of an osteopath. You must have empathy, compassion and good communication skills to boot. Aside from these personal traits, you need to earn a professional qualification from a nationally accredited school or college.

Know Your Duties

As an osteopath, you are responsible for diagnosing the condition of a patient and determining its connection with their body systems. Once you have determined the underlying cause of their health issue, you will develop a treatment plan which aims to eliminate their pain and improve their overall health. Osteopathy has been proven effective in addressing the following conditions:

Obtain Your Qualification

If you have a profound interest in the field of health science, you’ll find the coursework for osteopathy engaging. Undertaking a Bachelor of Clinical Sciences with a major in Osteopathic Studies is the first phase of your learning journey. Upon completion of this, you can move on to a master’s degree in osteopathy medicine. 

These courses will not only provide you with the qualifications you need to work as an osteopath but also take you through the principles of biology, physics and chemistry in the context of manual therapy. These fields of study are integral to developing osteopathic treatments that are tailored to the individual needs of each person.

As part of the coursework, you have to undertake a clinical placement in a healthcare setting to gain practical experience. It’s important to note that before you can proceed to this stage you have to secure a First Aid certificate and a Working with Children Check.

Register with a Professional Association

After having completed your studies with flying colours, register with the Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency (AHPRA). Gaining membership with this governing body for registered health practitioners will boost your credibility and, no doubt, drive potential clients’ trust.  

As a registered osteopath, you can pursue a career in any healthcare facility and work with different clients. You can even set up your private practice and use it to deliver manual therapies to treat pain and revive health.

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Originally published on Jul 27, 2020

FAQs About Becoming an Osteopath

Is osteopathy a good career?

Yes. It's a rewarding career as you get to improve people's lives. As an osteopath, you can treat a wide range of musculoskeletal problems by personalising your treatment plan to meet each client's specific needs.

How long does it take to train to be an osteopath?

A bachelor's degree in osteopathic studies will take four years to complete, then you have to spend another two years in a master's degree program. So all in all, it could take six to seven years.

What is the difference between a chiropractor and an osteopath?

A chiropractor focuses on spine alignment to reduce pain and improve joint mobilisation. An osteopath takes a more holistic approach when treating a musculoskeletal problem. They work on the root of the symptoms to treat all the body systems.

How much do osteopaths get paid?

The salary of an osteopath depends on their level of experience and location. On average, a practitioner with one to four years of experience could earn about $58,813 a year. A more experienced osteopath can make anywhere from $78K to $94K annually.

What do osteopaths do?

An osteopath employs a wide range of manual therapy techniques to improve all the body systems. This approach effectively treats various musculoskeletal disorders such as arthritis, lower back pain, headaches and tennis elbow, among others.

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