If you like helping people, are interested in anatomy, and have a holistic view on health, then physiotherapy might be your perfect career.
A physiotherapist can help someone to regain full physical function and get their life back after illness or injury. They also work with disabled people to ensure their best possible health outcomes, and prevention of further injury or disease. It’s a rewarding career with plenty of opportunities for specialisation and an assured career both in Australia and overseas.
Career options in physiotherapy
A physiotherapist works with individuals to assess their specific needs, and then creates and implements a treatment plan. This plan will include long term care as the patient improves and their needs change, as well as future planning for long term health and wellbeing. There are a range of different employment options, making physiotherapy an excellent stable career choice.
Within the hospital system, there are a range of specialties and interests to work with.
- Working in ICU, mobilising patients to help ensure better health outcomes
- The orthopaedics department uses physiotherapy to help people regain strength and flexibility after traumatic accidents
- Chest infections, pneumonia and cystic fibrosis sufferers need assistance to clear blockages and secretions in lungs and respiratory system
- Women needing assistance before and after birth to ensure optimal outcomes.
Whether you’re working within a large generic clinic or specialising, qualified physiotherapists can work with a range of people and problems:
- Aged care/ gerontological physiotherapy, ensuring mobility and better quality of life
- Sports medicine, working with injury rehabilitation, strength and stamina training
- Paediatrics and helping children with injury or disability
- Occupational health and safety, ensuring a work environment is encouraging wellness using a range of strategies
- Neurological physiotherapy, where people are given physical therapy after traumatic brain injury, often teaching simple tasks such as gripping implements or walking
- Continence and women’s health, especially around pregnancy and birth complications.
Gaining a physiotherapy qualification
There are two basic qualifications you can get in order to become a physiotherapist. The basic degree required is a Bachelors degree. This will be a three or four year course, either in physiotherapy, or applied science.
From there, you can specialise by taking a two year postgraduate Master’s degree. These degrees can focus on a range of topics, including:
- Musculoskeletal physiotherapy
- Clinical physiotherapy
- Continence and women’s health
- Exercise or sports physiotherapy
All of these courses have minimum IELTS/ English language requirements and academic pre-requisites. These standards differ according to the university and the course, so check this out before application.
Practising expectations for physiotherapy in Australia
Once you have your degree, it is a requirement that you must register with the Australian Physiotherapy Board. This will allow you to legally practice in Australia. You will need to apply via the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), at least six weeks before completion of your studies.
Because physiotherapy is a medical science that is constantly changing, it’s expected that you’ll continue to learn throughout your career. This ensures you are up to date with best practices and new scientific developments. Every year, you are expected to do 20 hours of professional development each year, comprised of journal reviews, attending conferences and lectures.
What will you learn when studying physiotherapy?
A Bachelor of Physiotherapy gives you the skills to qualify as a physiotherapist. It prepares you to treat a range of conditions in relation to sports, exercise, movement analysis, and biomedical sciences. You will be able to treat others for problems and help them ensure full health in future.
Where can you study physiotherapy in Australia?
The top three physiotherapy courses in Australia are:
The University of Canberra: You can choose to study both a Bachelors and Masters and physiotherapy. Canberra University has a focus on hands-on, practice-based learning. They have strong industry connections which can help with future employment options.
The University of Sydney: Ranked number four in the world for their sport and physical therapy courses, Sydney University offers Bachelors and Masters degrees. This is one of the oldest institutions in Australia and has a fantastic reputation internationally and locally.
Monash University: A focus on research-based teaching means that your Bachelor or Doctorate from Monash University will hold its own in the field. There are tremendous opportunities to conduct research and contribute to innovation in the field.
Do you want to study physiotherapy in Australia?
If this sounds like the career for you, give IDP a call. If you’re unsure of what you need to study at secondary school or you need assistance planning and choosing the best university for your needs, professional guidance can help you plan the best pathway for your career.