Physiotherapists work with people to help with a range of problems which affect movement using exercise, massage and other techniques.
Training and qualifications required
You need to study for an approved degree level programme in physiotherapy - either through a full-time or part-time university degree or a degree apprenticeship in physiotherapy. There are also two-year accelerated MSc courses available to people who already have a BSc degree in a relevant subject. To get onto a physiotherapy degree course you usually need two or three A levels (or equivalent qualifications), including a biological science and/or PE, along with five GCSEs (grades 9-4/A-C), including English language, maths and at least one science. You'll need similar level 3 qualifications to get onto a degree apprenticeship. Each university and employer sets its own entry requirements, so it’s important to check carefully.
Expected working hours and salary range
Physiotherapists in the NHS work standard hours, which are likely to be around 37.5 a week. They may work shifts, including evenings, nights and weekends. They start at band 5 of the Agenda for Change pay scale. Elsewhere, a physiotherapist’s hours will depend on where they work. For example, a sports physiotherapist is likely to work at weekends. In private practice, physiotherapists’ hours depend on client needs. They may work evenings and weekends to suit private clients.
Desirable skills and values
Physiotherapists need to be happy to be hands-on with patients, good listeners, caring, able to motivate people and normally physically fit as the work can be strenuous. They also need good manual (hand) skills good organisation and communication skills and an ability to explain treatment to patients.
You may choose to specialise in a particular area of practice such as sports injuries, critical care, care of the elderly or working with children or cancer patients. Teaching and research are also options. You could also move into management, either within physiotherapy services or general management. As head of a local physiotherapy service you would be responsible both for a team of staff and for managing a budget. Some physiotherapists set up their own clinics, on their own or with other professionals.