Physiotherapy helps restore movement and function when someone is affected by injury, illness or disability. Physiotherapists help alleviate back pain, sudden injury, long term medical conditions such as cystic fibrosis, prepare for childbirth and help sporting related injuries. They help promote their patients' health and wellbeing, and assist the rehabilitation process by developing and restoring body systems, in particular the neuromuscular, musculoskeletal, cardiovascular and respiratory systems. They work with people of all ages helping patients to manage pain and prevent disease. They use a variety of approaches including movement and exercise therapy, manual therapy, massage, manipulation and electro and/or hydrotherapy, education and advice. Physiotherapy uses a 'whole person' approach to helping patients which includes looking at their lifestyle a whole.

A Physiotherapy degree gives students eligibility for registration with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and membership of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP).

Career Options

Career development opportunities for physiotherapists exist in the specialist areas of care of the elderly; occupational health, orthopaedics, obstetrics, paediatrics, sports medicine as well as in private practice, teaching, training and research. The CSP website also gives further information on career development opportunities by going onto specialist in service training courses and postgraduate courses, careers and development. 

Physiotherapy offers many flexible employment options. Once qualified and after you have gained some clinical experience you can work as a physiotherapist in acute and primary care trusts of The National Health Service (NHS), in local authorities and the private sector such as: private hospitals, GP practices and health centres, schools and children's centres, residential homes and day centres for elderly people, charities and voluntary organisations, particularly those serving people with disabilities, sports clinics, gyms and leisure centers and the armed services. Some physiotherapists work in a portfolio way juggling a part-time post at a sports injury clinic with another part-time post within the NHS or private hospital for example.

A graduate in Physiotherapy typically will:

  • work with patients to identify the physical problem;
  • develop and review treatment programmes;
  • assist patients with joint and spinal problems, especially following surgery;
  • help patients' rehabilitation following accidents, injury and strokes;
  • supervise physiotherapy assistants;
  • write patient case notes and reports;
  • collect patient statistics;
  • educate and advise patients and their carers about how to prevent and/or improve conditions;
  • keep up to date with new techniques and technologies available for treating patients;
  • liaise with other healthcare personnel to supply and receive relevant information about the background and progress of patients, as well as refer patients who require other specific medical attention

The prospects website also gives information on entry requirements including academic, personal skills, and work experience for graduates from other disciplines wishing to train for this profession. Graduates will often find work as chiropractors, dance movement therapists, osteopaths and sports coaches as well as other related roles.

Self Employment

This is becoming an increasingly popular option for physiotherapists.   Physiotherapists find clients from the private sector, via nursing homes, and private hospitals such as BUPA and charities such as stroke rehabilitation organisations and insurance companies as well as private clients.  It is however one which needs careful consideration as it can be difficult to access immediately on graduation. It is worth considering building up private practice gradually whilst perhaps working for the NHS at the same time.

See Finding and Applying for jobs in Physiotherapy for more information.

Last modified: 
Wednesday, April 4, 2018 - 14:42