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Physiotherapist Job Description, Career as a Physiotherapist, Salary, Employment

Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

Education and Training Master’s or Doctorate degree

Average Salary $70,000 per year

Job Outlook Very good

Basic Job Description

Physiotherapists treat patients who are suffering from physical restraints and disabilies as a result of illness, injury, aging, or other factors. They will work with patients to identify what is causing problems for them and create treatment and rehabilitation plans to help the patient gain back their strength and mobility. They often work with patients who have suffered from a stroke or sports injury. Their goal with patients is to promote and improve their health and well being by working with the musculoskeletal, nervous, respiratory and cardiovascular systems to rehabilitate patients back to health and teach them how to exercise safely and prevent future injuries.

Education and Training Requirements

To practice physiotherapy, a physiotherapist will have to obtain a Master’s or Doctorate degree in medical science with a concentration in physiotherapy. Once they have graduated with the degree, they will be required to take an examination through the state board of physiotherapy to become board certified to practice medicine in the state they wish to work.

Physiotherapists need to know human anatomy and understand how each system is connected to one another in order to determine what is causing injury and how it can be prevented. High school classes that are ideal for someone looking to go into physiotherapy are biology, anatomy, health and various science courses.

Most physiotherapists gain the relevant work experience by working as resident practitioners in a medical office under the supervision of a licensed physiotherapist. This is required by most states, to work a specific number of hours before qualifying to take the certification exam.

Getting the Job

Physiotherapy is an interactive and hands-on profession. The ideal physiotherapist will be comfortable working with people and helping them to feel comfortable in the process. They will need to be able to patiently explain conditions and routine treatments to patients so they understand what they’re doing and how to keep their body healed and in good health. In order to determine what is best for each patient, they will need plenty of knowledge on the anatomy of the human body and all of its systems.

Physiotherapy may also involve lifting patients in and out of wheelchairs, moving heavy equipment and operating heavy machinery used in rehabilitation treatments. Physiotherapists will need to be in good physical health so they can operate machinery and lift or help move patients without hurting them.

Physiotherapists also need a sense of compassion to effectively communicate with patients and their families. Many patients will be suffering from severe pain or mental disabilities as well as their physical disabilities, so physiotherapists will need to be patient and able to communicate effectively.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook and Career Development

Jobs in physiotherapy are continually on the rise as more people are seeking physical therapy for more and more injuries. Some companies are even offering physiotherapy as part of their health insurance, so this will result in a demand for more doctors as well. The increase in baby boomers retiring and increasing the elderly population is also increasing the demand for physiotherapists.

Many physiotherapists start off working in a hospital or private clinic. Over time, physiotherapists will often open their own private practice. Some physiotherapy offices work in coordination with massage therapists and holistic medicine practitioners, so opening a practice that also offers these treatments is a rising opportunity for many doctors.

Working Conditions and Environment

Most physiotherapists work in hospitals or clinics and must be able to handle stressful situations in a fast-paced environment. They will have to operate heavy machinery and sometimes lift patients who cannot move on their own, so physical strength is also necessary.

It is not unusual for physiotherapists to work long or unusual hours, particularly those working in a hospital. Therapists who own a private practice can usually set up specific hours of operation, but a physiotherapist working in a hospital may have to work with patients who have just gotten out of surgery and need assistance in moving around.

Physiotherapists also need to be comfortable working with the human body and sometimes experiencing unpleasant sights or smells that come with working in a hospital. Therapists will need to be comfortable working with patients of all sizes, genders and ages.

Salary and Benefits

The average salary for a physiotherapist is about $70,000 per year. Salaries vary according to where a therapist works and level of experience. Physiotherapists who work in hospitals make more than a therapist who works in a private clinic. However, physiotherapists who advance their career to own a practice of their own can make upward of $89,000 per year. Working for a hospital provides employees with a secure health insurance plan, as well as vacation and sick time. Self-employed therapists will have to pay for health insurance and vacation packages for them as well as the rest of their employees.

Where to Go for More Information

World Confederation for Physical Therapy
Kensington Charity Centre
4th Floor, Charles House
385 Kensington High Street
W14 8QH
Phone: +44 (0)20 7471 6765

Centre for Evidence-Based Physiotherapy
Musculoskeletal Division
The George Institute for International Health
PO Box M201, MISSENDEN RD NSW 2050, Australia
Phone: +61 2 9657 0385

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Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesHealth & Medicine