How do I Choose the Best Physiotherapy Program?

Carol Francois

The best physiotherapy program can be evaluated by researching the following five items: different education options, accreditation, industry partnerships, alumni graduation statistics, and faculty quality. A physiotherapy program is offered at both the college and university level. A physiotherapist is a member of the health services team, helping people recover from bone and muscle related injury or surgery. A physiotherapy technician works in the guidance of the physiotherapist, providing support at a practical level.

Physiotherapy using weights.
Physiotherapy using weights.

The main difference between the two programs is the length and depth of education. A physiotherapist must attend university, completing a four-year program. A physiotherapist technician attends community or career college for two years. The career options for advancement for a technician are limited without further education.

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

Take an honest look at the marks you have earned in high school science courses. Think about the level of effort that you are willing to put in and decide which path is best for you. The best physiotherapy program is one that you can complete successfully, in the standard time, and allows you to start a career in physiotherapy.

Accredited physiotherapy programs have been evaluated by an independent agency, authorized by the government. This agency is responsible for reviewing the quality of academic programs and administrative policies to ensure that they meet a minimum standard. Courses completed at an accredited school are transferable to other educational institutions, and can be used when upgrading your skills, later in your career.

Many physiotherapy programs have close connections to hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and long-term care facilities. These relationships can result in well-known guest speakers, opportunities for work terms, and chances to interact with hiring managers. Connections to industry help the school ensure the course content is relevant, accurate, and has application in real life.

Every post-secondary school maintains statistics on graduate employment rates. This information is collected at three-, six-, and 12-month intervals and provides insight into the impact of the education program. The level of detail varies, but typically includes current job title, starting salary, full time or part time, type of industry, and if the job is training related. The best physiotherapy programs will have a high alumni employment rate, regardless of the level.

When selecting a physiotherapy program, take the time to review the credentials of the faculty or teaching staff. The actual course instructors should be experts in their respective fields and have relevant industry experience. Avoid any school that is unwilling to discuss the background and qualifications of its teaching staff.

Discussion Comments


@popcorn - I think that making the move into physiotherapy rehabilitation would be a big challenge, but one that is really worth while. I suppose with your nursing background that you would be able to get at least a few transfer credits to whatever program you choose, but be warned, it is still going to take you awhile to get certified.

My sister works as a sport physiotherapist and she had to do quite a bit of schooling to get where she is. First she completed a 4-year undergrad and then a college diploma course to specialize in the area of physiotherapy she wanted to get into. If you're lucky your nursing schooling may knock a year off the training.


I have been looking at various physiotherapy schools as I am considering a career switch. Right now I work in nursing but would like to make the transition over to a physiotherapy job because of the friends I have made in that sector of our hospital. It really seems like something I could learn to do well.

Does anyone know how long it would take to get a physiotherapy degree, considering that I already have a nursing background?

I would really like to help people in a different way, plus from what I have read the increase in salary would also be welcome.

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