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Physiotherapists

 

Would you like to know more about what it’s like to work as a physiotherapist? Watch this video with Dr Isaac Sorinola, a lecturer in physiotherapy, to discover what it’s like to work in this area.

What do physiotherapists do?

Physiotherapists work with patients to assist with a range of physical problems caused by issues such as ageing, disability, illness or injury. Taking a holistic approach and using techniques such as physical exercise, manual therapy and electrotherapy, physiotherapists aim to help patients restore movement and function required for an optimised quality of life.

Alongside treatment of physical issues, physiotherapists also promote general good health and wellbeing, advising people on how to avoid injury and manage existing physical disabilities.

A career in physiotherapy can provide the opportunity for you to work with a variety of people of different ages and social demographics, across many industries. In hospitals, physiotherapists are required across all departments, treating patients with a variety of conditions such as:

  • cardiovascular (including chronic heart disease or rehabilitation after a heart attack)
  • neurological (stroke, MS, Parkinson's disease)
  • neuromusculoskeletal (arthritis, back pain or sports injuries)
  • respiratory (asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cystic fibrosis).

 

Working in the field of physiotherapy is extremely satisfying and rewarding. What do I enjoy the most? The joy of helping people!'

Dr Isaac Sorinola, Physiotherapist


Qualifications

If you are interested in developing a career as a physiotherapist, it’s important to be able to understand how the human body functions, as well as having a passion for caring for others and good teamwork and communications skills.

At A-level or equivalent, some science subjects such as biology, chemistry, psychology, physics or physical education are usually required, while mathematics and humanities subjects such as English or Sociology also provide useful preparation for studying physiotherapy at university.

To become a qualified physiotherapist in the UK, you will need to study an approved university degree (BSc) in physiotherapy at undergraduate level, which will enable you to become a qualified physiotherapist in the UK.

Alternatively, if you’ve already completed an undergraduate degree in a relevant subject (such as biomedical science, psychology or sports science) you can study a two-year accelerated MSc course in physiotherapy, as an alternative route into the profession.

Career opportunities

Studying physiotherapy is a varied career choice and can lead to many interesting work opportunities. Once qualified, you can join the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy and choose to specialise in a particular area of practice. Some examples of specialisms include:

  • geriatric medicine
  • critical care
  • sports injuries
  • working with children
  • working with cancer patients.

Physiotherapists also work in a variety of other settings outside of hospitals, including:

  • working in management within physiotherapy services
  • setting up their own private physiotherapy clinics
  • working with sports professionals
  • working in schools
  • moving into policy-making roles
  • volunteering for international organisations during natural disasters
  • academia and research.

Top tip

Explore opportunities for voluntary or paid work experience in a health or care setting to demonstrate your interest in the field. Speak to private physiotherapy clinics, sports clinics or nursing homes for potential opportunities. Voluntary work for charities such as the British Red Cross or St John Ambulance may also be valuable to support your university application.

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