A physiotherapist helps people to recover physical health through education, advice, exercise and physical movement. While working with people of all ages suffering from illness, injury or disability, physiotherapists also help with prevention of disease.

While the scenario of someone having an accident and needing rehabilitation is common, there’s much more to it. For example, Cystic fibrosis sufferers use physiotherapists to help remove blockages and secretions in their chests.

Physiotherapists work with people suffering from Parkinson’s disease to develop strategies in dealing with the tremors.

It’s a holistic practice, with wide-ranging types of patients, techniques and outcomes.

Career opportunities in physiotherapy

If you want to become a physiotherapist, there are a huge range of choices of specialization, employment options and the kind of people you can work with.

Hospital physiotherapists: There are a range of options within a hospital. You can work in ICU, mobilizing patients to help with their strength and endurance and ensure a better long term outcome. The orthopaedic department needs physiotherapists to rebuild strength after surgeries and traumatic injuries. You could work with people with severe chest infections to help clear blockages and help breathing.

Physiotherapy clinics: These will cover a range of injuries and physical problems, and allow you to specialize in a specific body area or type of treatment if the clinic is large enough. This could be something like aged care, women’s health or sports injuries.

  • musculoskeletal physiotherapy
  • sports medicine
  • neurological physiotherapy
  • paediatrics
  • gerontological physiotherapy
  • occupational health and safety
  • cardio respiratory physiotherapy
  • continence and women's health

It’s projected that job growth for physiotherapists will increase by 24.6% over the next five years. The career is also on the current skilled shortage list, meaning it’s a great pathway to a medium to long term visa or permanent residency in Australia.

What will you learn while studying physiotherapy?

A Bachelors degree in physiotherapy prepares you to qualify as a physiotherapist. This allows you to treat a range of health conditions. There will be courses on exercise, community health sciences, biomedical sciences, sport science, movement analysis, techniques to restore, improve and promote health. You’ll carry out treatments on others, and will receive treatments yourself, be aware this will involve partial disrobing.

In the later stages of your degree, you will study with other health students to develop teamwork skills. There is also long periods of hands-on work experience, working alongside qualified and experienced physiotherapists.

Physiotherapist salary expectations

An average salary for a physiotherapist is around AU$66,000. A salary for a recent graduate starts at $53,000 and the top performers that specialise and have experience can earn up to $94,000.

Types of physiotherapy courses you can do in Australia

The most basic entry into physiotherapy as a career requires a Bachelor’s degree. This means a three- or four-year degree in either physiotherapy or applied science (physiotherapy).

If you wish to specialise, then you can go on to complete your two-year Master’s degree. This allows you to learn about a specific treatment area, and it means you are more highly sought after by employers.

To apply for one of these courses, you need to meet minimum English language requirements. Each course has a different expected level of English. There are also academic pre-requisites.

Check out the website of your provider to find out specifics for your intended course of study.

Once you’re qualified, you must register with the Physiotherapy Board of Australia before you can practice. If you intend to stay in Australia once you graduate, simply apply to Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) six weeks before you finish your degree.

There is also an expectation of continued learning in the industry. All registered physiotherapists are required to complete 20 hours of continuing professional development each year. This may include attending lectures or conferences or reviewing journals.

Top three physiotherapy courses in Australia

The University of Sydney: As well as being ranked fourth in the world for sport and physical therapy courses, it’s a prestigious institution with a fantastic reputation. They offer Bachelors and Masters degrees.

University of Canberra: Offering a Bachelor and Masters in physiotherapy, Canberra University gives you strong industry connections and a focus on practice based learning.

Monash University: A Bachelors and Doctorate degree in physiotherapy are possible at Monash. It’s a highly ranked institution, with great outcomes for their students.

I want to study physiotherapy in Australia. What do I do next?

A degree in physiotherapy opens a range of career options. If you think that this could be your future, contact us at ACEM. We can discuss entry requirements, help you choose an excellent university, assist with your application and even get the ball rolling for your visa. We want to see you succeed in your chosen education, and with our years of experience helping students do that, we will make it happen.

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