How to Become a Physiotherapist: Australian Careers in Physiotherapy

Physiotherapists are health professionals that assist patients in managing their physical movement. They are responsible for assessing, treating and preventing disorders affecting movement that are caused by a disease or injury. The goal is to repair, prevent or alleviate the pain associated with an impairment. Whilst doing this they educate their patients on the best practices to prevent further injuries and to assist in pain relief and other issues that can impact quality of life. Physiotherapists must complete a degree to practice.

  • Task Career in focus: What a physiotherapist does

    Physiotherapy is a profession where no two days are the same. The type of work will depend on the patient and the condition they are in. It could be back problems, recovering from a sports related injury or stroke, or simply increasing mobility in someone with limited movement. To achieve success, physiotherapists use physical manipulation, massage. and therapeutic exercise, and refer patients for electrotherapy, ultrasound, acupuncture and hydrotherapy where necessary. They are also required to keep accurate records and collaborate with other health professionals.

    Tasks:

    • Identify physical problems in patients
    • Design treatment programs
    • Treat patients to reduce pain, improve circulation and strengthen muscles
    • Review, monitor, assess and evaluate programs and treatments
    • Consult with other health professionals where necessary
  • Skills Core qualities: Skills to be a successful physiotherapist

    People who want to become physiotherapists often have a natural interest in human movement, health and helping people. Patients may be sensitive about their predicament, so physiotherapists must have the compassion, integrity and communication skills to do their job and make their patients feel positive.. They must also be able to problem solve and collaborate with other health professionals to find solutions, or create treatment plans, for their patients.

    Skills/attributes
    • Excellent physical fitness
    • Interest in anatomy, physiology and health science
    • Communication skills
    • Desire to help people improve their health Initiative and problem solving skills
  • Specialisations The field: Specialisations within physiotherapy

    Physiotherapists will often begin their careers as “general” physiotherapists working in a private clinic. As they gain more experience and develop interest in certain areas, they may choose to specialise.

    Paediatric physiotherapists

    Paediatric physiotherapists work with infants, children and adolescents to detect, diagnose, treat and manage injuries, disorders and diseases affecting muscles, bones and joints. Treatments focuses on trying to improve motor skills, balance, coordination, strength, endurance, cognitive and sensory processing.

    Neurological physiotherapists

    Neurological physiotherapists assist people who are suffering from diseases or injuries like Alzheimer’s disease, ALS, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, brain injury, spinal cord injury and stroke. These diseases or injuries can cause a multitude of problems, including paralysis, troubled vision, difficulty staying balanced and walking. The goal of a neurological physiotherapist is to work towards improving a patients overall health, wellbeing and recovering from the problems associated with their condition.

    Sports physiotherapists

    Sports physiotherapists are responsible for helping athletes give their best performance. To so, they identify and treat sports injuries and develop programs to help with recovery and future prevention. They often work together with the players, the coach and other members of the team to get the best results.
  • Pathways The right track: Find study options for becoming a physiotherapist

    Aspiring physiotherapists need to either complete a four year undergraduate degree, or an related undergraduate degree and a two-year master’s in physiotherapy. 

    Starting Out

    To gain experience, many people choose to complete a vocational qualification in allied health assistance, specialising in physiotherapy support. This is a great way to dip your toes in the water and figure out if physiotherapy the career for you.

    Building Skills

    To qualify as a physiotherapist, it is essential to complete a tertiary qualification in physiotherapy. Like many other health-related courses, a physiotherapy degree will include a practical component that involves work experience in a relevant setting.

    Developing Your Resume

    The Physiotherapy Board of Australia requires physiotherapists to continually upgrade professional knowledge and skills.

    Industry Recognition

    To practice physiotherapy, you are required to register with the Physiotherapy Board of Australia.

    Entering the Workforce

    Get a head start in your physiotherapy career by networking early on – forge relationships while on placement and figure out if you have pre-existing connections to the industry. You never know when a job offer might pop up! Get some inspiration for your applications by taking a look at our sample resumes and cover letters.

    Job Prospects in Physiotherapy: Working life as a physiotherapist

    There has been strong demand for physiotherapists in recent years, and that trend is only expected to grow as Australia’s population ages.

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