How Do I Become a Sports Physiotherapist?

T. L. Childree

Sports physiotherapists help amateur and professional athletes recover from sports-related ailments and also offers injury prevention training. To become a sports physiotherapist, you must first earn a Bachelor of Science degree from an accredited college and complete an internship in sports-related physical therapy to gain practical work experience. Many employers also require completion of a master’s or doctoral degree program to become a sports physiotherapist. It may be necessary to become professionally licensed and certified before beginning this career in a health club, school, or with a sports team.

A sports physiotherapist helps athletes prevent and recover from injuries and surgery.
A sports physiotherapist helps athletes prevent and recover from injuries and surgery.

Earning a Bachelor of Science degree from a four-year college is necessary before you become a sports physiotherapist. Courses in chemistry, anatomy, and physics, as well as physiology and psychology must be taken to earn this degree. It is important to choose a college that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). Lack of proper accreditation may affect your future ability to become licensed and certified in this field.

After earning your bachelor’s degree, you must also obtain an advanced degree in this field. Some employers will accept a master’s degree, but most require a doctorate degree in sports physiotherapy. Master’s degree programs typically take two years to complete, while doctoral programs last for three years. Your postgraduate degree must also be obtained from a CAPTE-approved college. A list of accredited institutions can be found at the website of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA).

Many employers require a certain amount of hands-on experience before you can become a sports physiotherapist. You must also participate in some type of internship to gain practical work experience. Most colleges offer internships as part of their postgraduate degree program. It is best to train at a sports-therapy clinic to receive the most relevant training. An internship at a hospital or physical therapy facility may also be sufficient.

You may need to also become professionally licensed before beginning this career. Each local region has its own particular licensing requirements. Continuing education classes are typically required for annual license renewal. You should also consider becoming professionally certified in this field to assure prospective employers that your skills are up-to-date. One of the most widely accepted, professional certifications is offered by the APTA.

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