Physiotherapists, also known as physical therapists, work to increase the quality of life of their patients by helping them to restore their health and fitness levels. In order to become a physiotherapist, individuals must first obtain a baccalaureate degree in a science-related field. Interested students must then complete either a master's or doctoral degree in physiotherapy, as well as a substantial internship. Those who want to become a physiotherapist often also choose to obtain additional certifications and training in specialized areas as increased qualifications for specific kinds of treatments.
Individuals who are interested in becoming a physiotherapist typically must first obtain a baccalaureate degree in a science-related area. Often, students who are interested in this field are encouraged to major in areas such as biology, chemistry, or even mathematics. However, as the area of physiotherapy expands, undergraduate coursework in exercise science, kinesiology, and other similar areas becomes equally desirable as prerequisite education. Education in these areas can make further coursework less difficult and provides the base for success in the field.
After a baccalaureate degree has been obtained, individuals who want to become physiotherapists must then apply to graduate schools, which typically last anywhere from two to four years. Depending on their state of residence, students must obtain either a master's or doctoral degree in the field of physiotherapy in order to be qualified to practice. Due to these discrepancies in education, it is very important for individuals pursuing this field to research the requirements in their area. Typically, while doctoral degrees in physiotherapy require substantially more time, pay rates between master's and doctoral physiotherapists are usually quite similar.
Once a student has obtained his or her master's or doctoral education, an internship is often required. This internship is most often performed in a hospital, clinic, or other facility that has been approved by the governing bodies that regulate the field of physiotherapy. An physiotherapy internship often lasts for at least six months, and usually is unpaid.
While the above requirements satisfy demands for those who want to become a physiotherapist, many choose to obtain additional training in specialized areas. Often, physiotherapists seek additional training in the field of child and infant therapy, geriatric therapy, and acute injury therapy. Typically, this additional training requires only a short period of time as opposed to the requirements listed above. In some cases, certifications that allow physiotherapists to practice in certain areas may be obtained in as little as a few months.