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How To Become A Physiotherapist: The beginner’s guide

Physiotherapy is a treatment procedure where a patient’s mobility and function are restored through prevention, rehabilitation and different fitness activities. Physiotherapists help a patient to speed up their recovery. To kick start your career as a Physiotherapist, you might need a hands-on approach to promote helping others through movement, reducing pain and restoring function. A passion for helping out people through an understanding of muscle, bone, and ligament structure and making a commitment to patient health will be inspiring fuel to become a Physiotherapist.

To become a Physiotherapist, at the very beginning, you should know the responsibilities and daily tasks the job entails.

Daily responsibilities of a Physiotherapist

  • Assisting patients with spine and joint problems
  • Treating physical disabilities or mental disorders
  • Collaborating with professionals such as doctors and nurses
  • Helping patients recovering from accidents and different injuries
  • Assisting older people with physical problems become more mobile
  • Organising sessions on therapeutic physical exercise
  • Providing advice about exercise and movement
  • Having up-to-date knowledge on the latest advancements in the profession
  • Massaging patients
  • Using several techniques such as electrotherapy and ultrasound
  • Statistical data collection
  • Report writing

Physiotherapist salaries and job outlook

Salaries for qualified physiotherapists range from £30,000 to £37,267. You could work as a physiotherapist at a client’s home, at a GP practice, fitness centre, for the NHS or at any private hospital.

Employers of physiotherapists are as follows:

  • Private clinics
  • Hospitals
  • Mental and physical disability services
  • Professional sports clubs
  • Nursing homes
  • Community centres
  • Charity organisations
  • Special schools

Required Qualifications to become a physiotherapist

If you want to be a full-time physiotherapist, required degrees typically take three years. There are also a few two year physiotherapy degrees appropriate for those who already have a degree in a relevant subject. Besides, you will be eligible to receive at least £5,000 a year concerning your studies while you are at university. 

To get an opportunity to study a physiotherapy course, you typically need two or three A levels, including biological subjects and/or PE, along with five GSCEs, including Mathematics, English and at least one subject from science, or equivalent qualifications.

 You can get into physiotherapy through:
  • A university course
  • An apprenticeship
  • Relevant work experience

How to become a physiotherapist

  • Get a Bachelor's Degree in a health-related field
  • Get a Doctorate in physical therapy
  • Obtain a State PT License
  • Complete a Physical Therapist Residency
  • Find the right Physical Therapist job for you
  • Attend continuing education for physical therapy
  • Specialise in physical therapy
  • Obtain PT Board Certification

Physiotherapy Approaches and Techniques

Physiotherapy can include several treatments and preventative approaches, based on particular problems experienced by the patient. A patient’s first appointment is to assess what kind of approach must be taken.

There are three main approaches a physiotherapist may use. These are:

Education and advice

Physiotherapy encompasses the body as a whole, instead of focusing on the different factors of a specific injury. Taking regular exercise and continuing a healthy weight for your height is an important portion of treatment. If patients have back pain, as a physiotherapist, you may advise on good posture, proper weight lifting or techniques for carrying things, avoiding uncomfortable twisting, overstretching or extended standing.

Movement and exercise

According to the NHS, Physiotherapists typically recommend the following movement and exercise to improve mobility and function of a patient. These are as follows:

  • Exercises that improve movement and strength of a specific body part – these type of exercise usually need to be frequently repeated for a long time
  • Moving the whole body, such as walking or swimming, which can help the patient to recover from an operation or injury that affects his or her mobility
  • Hydrotherapy or aquatic therapy, (movements that are carried out in warm and shallow water) – muscles and joints get relaxed and supported from the water while providing resistance to help the patient slowly get stronger.

Physiotherapists offer advice and use special exercises to help increase physical activity to maintain sound health in patients.

  • Provide mobility aids – walking stick or crutches will help patients to move around

Check these Exercise advice leaflets, as well as A guide to staying steady, on the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) website.

The Physiotherapist uses manual therapy via their hands to handle and massage the body tissues to relieve pain, improve blood circulation throughout the body and promote relaxation.

Massage helps to improve quality of life, ideal for people with long-term ailments, through reducing levels of anxiety and refining quality sleep. This therapy can be used to treat particular problems, such as back pain, and is very beneficial for the bones, joints and muscles. 

Some other techniques used by physiotherapists include:

  • Acupuncture: Needles are inserted into exact points of the body, to remove pain and endorse recovery. Learn more about Acupuncture.
  • Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS): Generally, a battery-operated device is used to provide an electric current to the proposed affected portion, aiming to relieve pain. Learn more about TENS
  • Ultrasound Scan: High-frequency sound is used to treat deep tissue injuries by stimulating blood circulation and cell activity aimed at reducing pain. Learn more about Ultrasound Scan.

Level 2 Certificate in Physiotherapy Training

As a physiotherapist, you need to be trained in several techniques:

  • Muscle stretching
  • Joint mobilisation techniques
  • Neurodynamics
  • Joint manipulation
  • Massage and soft tissue techniques
  • Physiotherapy Instrument Mobilisation (PIM)
  • Minimal Energy Techniques (METs)

Top 12 Skills you need as a physiotherapist

  • Physical awareness
  • Communication
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Observational skills
  • Science acumen
  • Critical thinking
  • Critical thinking skills
  • Time management
  • Organisation skills
  • Work ethic
  • Empathy
  • Willingness to learn

Master real skills today

Choose from our 900+ online courses
  •  You can show your expertise yourself as a Physiotherapist; there is a chance you could become a senior Physiotherapist in the NHS, or you can move into health service management. With experience, you could become self-employed and set up your own practice. You could specialise in orthopaedics, sports therapy, occupational health, adult care or child health. Alongside, there are a lot of options to move into research or teaching. 
  • What are you waiting for? 

Level 2 Certificate in Physiotherapy Training

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October 13, 2020

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