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Want to be a Physiotherapist? Here’s What You Need to Know

Different careers appeal to different people. One individual will want to be outside, and gardening in all weathers. Another will want to be on the road, driving a van. Many others choose to work indoors, in shops or offices. If someone is a ‘people person,’ however, they may opt for something in the medical domain. 

When someone chooses to be a physiotherapist, they are deciding to do something that is both challenging and rewarding. There will be training to undertake, qualifications to gain, and practice to be done. It also takes a certain type of person to do this work. Are you interested? Here’s what you need to know. 

You Can Be Helped As You Go

The internet is a rich resource for anyone interested in physiotherapy, and it contains many specialist websites. Anyone who researches Dave O’Sullivan’s physiotherapist training will discover that many people seek mentorship. They are looking for strategies for their businesses, and support for when things don’t go well. Therapists are wanting to create world-class treatment plans, so they can ethically increase their revenue. 


Anyone wanting to be a physiotherapist will need to obtain five GCSE exams (grades A-C) including English, Maths and at least one Science subject. They’ll also require two or three A levels, one of which must be in Biology. This should enable a person to qualify for a degree course that has been approved by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy. This will take three years full-time, or six years part-time. Students will experience a combination of theoretical studies and ‘hands on’ experience. 

The entry requirements will vary between universities and will include an interview. The NHS Learning Support Fund gives people at least £5,000 a year towards their study, and it does not have to be repaid. 


They provide an alternative route into the world of physiotherapy. They take between four and six years to complete. You’d receive no student grant, but your tuition fees would be paid by the government and your employer. 

In the first instance, you would need to apply through a healthcare provider. Apprenticeships can be a great way of earning money while you progress. 


Once someone has successfully graduated, they would need to register with the HCPC (Health and Care Professions Council). Registration would need to be retained by paying an annual fee. This organisation exists to protect the public from malpractice, and it serves to regulate fifteen different categories of medical practitioners. If training courses are created, they are required to  check they are satisfactory. Anyone who has qualified abroad will need to be assessed to ensure they are compliant with UK requirements.  

The physiotherapist would also have to stay up to date with their skills and knowledge. As a result, there would be an annual check-in with the CPD (Continuous Professional Development) body. This would require the practitioner to be involved in such things as attending group seminars or conducting research. There would also be other formal and educational activities to undertake.

All registered physiotherapists are also recommended to join the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy. This was established in 1894 and is registered in London. It’s an educational, professional and trades union body that was created to help chartered physiotherapists, students and support workers. It currently has over 60,000 members.

The Work

This could involve patients with neurological conditions, such as stroke victims, or those with Multiple Sclerosis or Parkinsons. The work may also include folk with neuromusculoskeletal problems arising from whiplash injuries, arthritis, or sports accidents. A physiotherapist could find themself working amongst children with physical or mental disabilities, or elderly people with mobility issues. Cancer patients sometimes benefit from physiotherapy as well. 

In the course of a day, someone may be recommending exercises and treatment plans for their patients or performing massage. They may also harness such technology as hydrotherapy pools or ultrasound equipment. 

Because of the variety involved, physiotherapists often have a wide choice of places to work.They may include such locations as rehabilitation centres or assisted-living facilities. Alternatively there are nursing homes and gyms, schools and clinics, and hospitals.

Job Progression

A self-employed person could focus on building their practice. NHS staff could aspire to become health service managers or senior physiotherapists. Some people leave the NHS to work with personal trainers or sports coaches. Others join the Army or RAF. 

Avid learners may decide to go into research or teaching. Alternatively, they may become a specialist in such fields as occupational health, sports therapy or a specific age group. 

The Skills Required

The work can be physically hard, requiring a strong level of fitness and stamina. The person’s motor skills will need to be precise when dealing with patients. 

A physiotherapist will need to be adept at critical thinking and analytical skills. Besides being conversant with dentistry and medicine, they’ll also need to be good with computers. This is because there would be specific software packages to use. 

People skills are obviously key, and they will include being long-suffering and calm under pressure. Therapists need to be sensitive, and good communicators. They will often be dealing with people who are injured and may have become traumatised. As a result, such folk are sometimes aggressive, wilful or confrontational. Some people may be reluctant to complete their recommended exercises. It can be emotionally draining when peoples’ recoveries are slow and there is a high degree of pain and suffering involved.

The Lifestyle

A physiotherapist’s working week is usually between 37.5 and 40 hours, although there may be additional time spent on administration. Unlike a typical 9 to 5 job, the role is usually performed as shift work, covering early mornings, late evenings, and weekends. As a result, therapists need strong organizational and time-management skills.  

Although this can be a demanding career that requires a lot of training, many people find physiotherapy to be very fulfilling. NHS workers also benefit from a generous pension when they retire. In the course of your work, you would be able to help countless people experience a better quality of life.