As a physiotherapist, you’ll help people improve their mobility and regain their independence after an injury or operation, or as a result of ageing or a disability.
You’ll work with people on a daily basis, recommending exercise, carrying out massage, and using high-tech ultrasound equipment or even hydrotherapy pools, depending on your patients’ needs.
Once a patient’s movement problem has been diagnosed, you’ll work with them to determine a treatment plan. You’ll also promote good health and advise people on how to avoid injury.
In the NHS, you’re needed in nearly every hospital department such as outpatients, women’s health, paediatrics and occupational health. Physiotherapy is also provided in the local community, so you could be based in health centres or treat patients in their own homes, day centres, nursing homes or schools.
Whichever route you take, you’ll need to be a good communicator who can be hands-on and explain conditions and treatments easily to clients. Having a caring and calm nature is equally important. You’ll be tolerant, patient and compassionate with the ability to build a rapport with patients of all ages, their families and your wider team.
Physiotherapy can be physically and mentally strenuous so you should also be physically fit with strong organisational and planning skills too.
A university degree is the most popular way to become a physiotherapist. A full-time degree can take three years and a part-time course will take six years. A two-year accelerated Masters course is also an option if you already have a relevant degree. Once you’ve successfully completed your degree you’ll need to register with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) before you can start practising. The other option is to apply for a degree apprenticeship.
Entry requirements for an undergraduate course are typically:
Or the equivalent qualifications:
Each university sets its own entry requirements, so it’s important to check with them directly. In most cases, the results of an interview and other selection processes are taken into account as well as academic qualifications. It’s also a good idea to spend some time with a registered physiotherapist to get some first-hand experience of what the role’s really like.
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