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Physiotherapist

Physiotherapists work with patients to improve their range of movement and promote health and wellbeing.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £22,000 to £41,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 37.5 per week

1. Entry requirements

You’ll need a physiotherapy degree or postgraduate award approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). You’ll then be eligible for state registration and membership of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP).

To do a degree in physiotherapy, you’ll usually need:

  • 3 A levels including a biological science (PE may sometimes be accepted)
  • 5 or more GCSEs (A* to C) including maths, English and a science

Relevant paid or voluntary experience may help you get get on a course. Organisations like the NHS, Do-it and the CSP have more information about getting work experience.

You could also gain experience through an apprenticeship.

You'll need to pass background checks by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).

You may be able to get NHS funding to pay for your course fees and help with your living expenses.

2. Skills required

You’ll need:

  • excellent communication skills
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • interpersonal skills
  • the ability to be firm yet encouraging
  • patience, sensitivity and tact
  • organisational and administrative skills

3. What you'll do

Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • helping patients with spine and joint problems
  • helping patients recovering from accidents, sports injuries and strokes
  • working with children who have mental or physical disabilities
  • helping older people with physical problems become more mobile

You’ll work in areas and departments like paediatrics, outpatients, intensive care, women's health and occupational health. You’ll use treatments and techniques like:

  • physical manipulation
  • massage
  • therapeutic exercise
  • electrotherapy
  • ultrasound
  • acupuncture
  • hydrotherapy

You’ll keep accurate records of patients' treatment and progress. You’ll work closely with other health professionals like nurses, occupational therapists, health visitors and social workers.

4. Salary

Starter: £22,000 to £28,500

Experienced: up to £35,000 (specialist physiotherapist)

Highly Experienced: £41,000 (advanced physiotherapist or team manager)

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You’ll usually work 37.5 hours a week. You’ll be based in a hospital or the community, in a health centre, clinic or GP surgery. You may also visit patients in their own homes.

If you work for local authorities, voluntary organisations or the private sector, you may be based in a nursing home, fitness centre or sports clinic.

6. Career path and progression

With experience you could become self-employed and set up your own practice.

Within the NHS, you could progress to senior physiotherapist or move into health service management. You could also specialise in an area like orthopaedics, sports therapy, occupational health, or working with older people or children.

You could also move into research or teaching.

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Last updated: 08 December 2016