How to become a physiotherapist
Physiotherapists work with patients to their improve mobility and overall physical health, particularly after accidents, sports injuries, or surgeries. They are also important in helping elderly people gain better movement, as well as working with people with physical disabilities. Physiotherapists can work in a wide variety of settings; from clinics, fitness centres, and community health centres, to home care facilities, and hospitals. Becoming a physiotherapist is not as lengthy as many other medical-oriented careers, requiring only a three year long degree in the UK, and a two year Master’s degree in the USA and Canada.
- Becoming a physiotherapist in the UK
- Becoming a physiotherapist in the USA and Canada
- Useful school subjects
- Skills required
Becoming a physiotherapist in the UK
To become a physiotherapist in the UK, it is necessary to register with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). To do this you need to complete a BSc degree in physiotherapy. These are available at many universities, and take either 3 years full-time or 6 years part-time. If you already have a degree in a relevant subject, you can do a 2 year long accelerated Master’s degree in physiotherapy.
To gain entry to earn a physiotherapy degree, you need at least two A levels, including biology and/or PE. Physiotherapy degrees often contain a lot of practical elements, allowing students to gain experience of working with patients.
Becoming a physiotherapist in the USA and Canada
To become a physiotherapist in the USA, you need to complete a graduate degree program that is approved by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). Acceptance into one of these programs requires a relevant bachelor’s degree in a subject such as biology, health science, kinesiology, or sports science.
In Canada, to become a physiotherapist you must undertake a Master’s degree in physiotherapy and pass the National Physiotherapy Competency Examinationation (PCE). Like in the USA, having a biological or health sciences related undergraduate degree is extremely beneficial for being accepted into the Master’s program.
Useful school subjects
As with any medical career, studying science subjects at school is incredibly useful. Biology is the most obvious subject, but subjects such as chemistry, physics, and mathematics may also be helpful. For physiotherapy, it may also be beneficial to study a subject such as PE or sports science, as this is related to sports injuries and human movements, therefore physiotherapy.
To become a physiotherapist, it is often useful to have a certain set of skills, especially as physiotherapists constantly interact with their patients. Some useful skills for becoming a physiotherapist are listed below:
- Passionate about health
- Caring and compassionate
- Good manual dexterity
- Good organisational skills
- Excellent communication skills
- Excellent listening skills
- Calm under pressure
- Good physical fitness as work can be physically demanding
- Able to motivate patients
- Ability to clearly explain medical problems and treatments to patients
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