What Are the Different Types of Physiotherapist Qualifications?

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  • Written By: Elle Jay
  • Edited By: Daniel Lindley
  • Last Modified Date: 14 September 2019
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Physiotherapists focus mainly on muscle function and how the body moves. Qualifications typically include several years of college and work experience to gain hands-on skills. Also called a physical therapist or physio for short, a physiotherapist might work with post-operative patients, injured athletes, or sports teams to help individuals maintain and improve performance. Hospitals, nursing homes, gyms, and private clinics may employ physiotherapists.

One of the most important physiotherapist qualifications is a positive bedside manner. Personality plays a large role in successful therapy, and a good physio will possess exceptional interpersonal skills and be able to communicate clearly and easily. This position involves working directly with patients to improve their mobility, so the ability to encourage, instruct, motivate, and assist is vital to work as a physiotherapist.

A specific skill set is needed to become a physiotherapist, including the ability to analyze and diagnose health problems. The physical therapist develops treatment plans and works hands-on with patients during therapy sessions, which can continue over many weeks or months. Acquiring the necessary knowledge requires a solid education.

Physiotherapist qualifications often include a Bachelor of Science degree in physical therapy, and most physios have a master’s or doctorate degree. Training to become a physiotherapist can begin in high school, however, with classes geared toward a medical career. Acceptance into a physical therapy program usually requires above-average grades, and early courses in health and biological science can lay a strong foundation for a future as a physiotherapist.


Experience plays a vital role in physiotherapist qualifications, and some positions require at least five years of prior work in the field. Other work demands specialized training, such as elder care, mental health care, or neurological rehabilitation. Work experience in a variety of medical settings can lead to a physiotherapist job, since this position is found in many facilities.

Government agencies and hospitals typically require physiotherapists to be licensed before they can practice, and CPR certification is generally needed as well. Joining relevant medical associations or groups can provide guidance about current physiotherapist qualifications. Physios work in a confidential environment that may be regulated, so it is important to stay up to date regarding legal restrictions and laws governing patient care and record keeping.

High-profile physio positions can be found on many professional sports teams, but these jobs are not the norm in this field. Physiotherapist qualifications for work in a major sporting organization include being extremely knowledgeable and well qualified. Starting out in an entry-level position and interning during college can open doors for a future as a physio for professional athletes or sports teams.



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