Entry requirements and training (physiotherapist)

This page has information on the entry requirements and training needed to become a physiotherapist.

To practise as a physiotherapist, you must be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). To register with the HCPC, you first need to successfully complete an approved degree level qualification in physiotherapy. This may be a full or part-time course or a degree apprenticeship in physiotherapy. Full time degrees take three years. Part time degrees vary from four to six years.

There are also two-year accelerated MSc courses available to people who already have a BSc degree in a relevant subject.

University courses

Courses differ but all involve a lot of practical work with patients.

To get onto a physiotherapy degree course you usually need two or three A levels, including a biological science and/or PE, along with five GCSEs (grades A-C), including English language, maths and at least one science.

You may also be able to get onto a course with alternative qualifications, including:

  • BTEC, HND or HNC which includes biological science
  • relevant NVQ
  • science-based access course
  • equivalent Scottish or Irish qualifications
  • a previous degree or a full practising qualification in a related area

Each institution sets its own entry requirements, so it’s important to check carefully. Wherever you study, you will need to show that you have an understanding of physiotherapy and an aptitude for caring for others. In most cases, the results of an interview and/or other selection processes are taken into account as well as academic qualifications. It is a good idea to spend some time with a registered physiotherapist to see what the work is like.

Financial support while studying at university

You'll be entitled to receive at least £5,000 a year towards your studies while at university. Your personal circumstances may mean you could receive more. And the good news? You'll never have to pay it back

Degree apprenticeships

A degree standard apprenticeship in physiotherapy has been approved for delivery. To get onto a degree apprenticeship, you will need to apply for an apprentice position with a health care provider. You can search for vacancies on the NHS Jobs website and Find an Apprenticeship website.

Once you’ve successfully completed a programme approved by the HCPC, you are then eligible to apply for registration with the HCPC. Once registered as a practitioner, you’ll be required to retain your name on the register by keeping your knowledge and skills up to date and paying an annual retention fee.

Want to learn more?

  • Physiotherapists need to be:

    • happy to be hands-on with patients
    • good listeners
    • understanding
    • caring
    • calm
    • able to motivate people
    • willing to work alone or in a team
    • normally physically fit themselves as the work can be strenuous
  • Skills needed to become a physiotherapist include:

    • good manual (hand) skills
    • organisation skills
    • good communication skills
    • ability to explain treatment to patients
    • business skills for private practice
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