Physiotherapists are medical professionals who treat and assist people with physical difficulties caused by disability, illness, injury, and old age. To become a physiotherapist, one needs to study physiotherapy courses, such as bachelor of physiotherapy.
If you are interested in treating people, health, and science, and are looking for a varied and active job, a physiotherapy career could be an ideal choice for you. As a healthcare professional, a physiotherapist work with people of different gender and age.
Moreover, every physiotherapist must be registered with PBA, the Physiotherapy Board of Australia. For anyone wanting to know how to become a physiotherapist, this guide will help you understand the steps you need to follow to pursue this goal.
Now, let’s dwell a little deep in the process of becoming a physiotherapist in Australia. This guide will cover the course you need to study, the skills you need, the responsibilities a physiotherapist will have, and so on. Keep reading to find complete details.
1. What Does a Physiotherapist Do?
Primarily, a physiotherapist job is to treat people who are affected by disability, illness, old age, and injury. The treatments will include manual therapy, exercise, advice, and education. In addition, a physiotherapist will also have to help patients in preventing diseases and managing pain.
Physiotherapists take a science-based approach while treating their patients. The end goal is to promote the patients' health and wellbeing and enhance their overall life. As a licensed professional, a physiotherapist will work closely with their patients and create customized programs that will suit the patient's requirements.
As said, the physiotherapist will make the patient do specific exercises that will allow them to move better, ease their pain, and minimize their dependency on objects and other people.
For example, the professional will massage muscles, manipulate joints, use muscle stimulation devices, stretch muscles, and teach lifestyle activities to a few patients, such as posture, walking, and so on.
Overall, the physiotherapist will have to take a holistic approach to address the patient's physical issues so that they can heal. A physiotherapist will work for every healthcare stage- rehabilitation, intervention, education, treatment, and prevention.
2. What Are the Primary Duties and Tasks of a Physiotherapist?
As a physiotherapist, you will be working for patients who need physiotherapies. The kind of therapy you will offer will differ from patient to patient depending on the type of issues they are dealing with. Here’s what a typical day of a physiotherapist will look like:
You will deal with multiple patients in a day. The patients will come with varying conditions. Some patients could be seeking physiotherapy because of old age, while others could be advised to go for physiotherapy because of an illness and injury.
You will have to assess the issue, understand what needs to be done, diagnose the problem, and create a treatment plan specifically designed for them.
You will have to assist them in doing physical activities and exercises because some patients can have minimal body movements. Your job will be to help them heal and be able to move.
You will have to encourage patients in leading a healthy lifestyle. You will also have to guide them to do that. For example, prepare a plan for the patient that will consist of the activities they need to do daily.
Since you will be taking care of your patients, your duty will be to keep reports of your patient’s health, progress, whether they need additional therapies, and so on.
If other healthcare professionals assign a patient for physiotherapy, you will have to report to them to let them know about their progress.
Apart from the day-to-day duties, you should be caring and compassionate towards your patients because they are dependent on you for their improved health. There could be some challenging patients, but you need to maintain your calm and listen to them.
3. Steps to Follow to Become a Physiotherapy in Australia
To become a physiotherapist, a student must study a physiotherapy course. You can go for a bachelor for physiotherapy or a diploma in physiotherapy. The university or institute you will apply for should be accredited by the Physiotherapy Board of Australia.
Follow the steps that we have mentioned below to understand the process easily.
Step 1: Complete Physiotherapy Degree
After completing high school, the first thing you need to do is research the colleges from where you can get a physiotherapy degree in Australia. You will finish the bachelor of physiotherapy in four years, and the annual indicative fee is approximately AUD 30,480.
When it comes to what subjects will you study to become a physiotherapist in Australia, they are physical education, health, physics, chemistry, biological science, and English. You can also apply for a degree apprenticeship to study and work simultaneously.
After completing the graduation degree, you can apply for post-graduation as well. You can apply for post-graduation if you meet the minimum requirement. The minimum Grade Point Average requirement is 4.5 out of 7.0.
The post-graduation course will also give you the confidence to comfortably do physiotherapy jobs in Australia. Of course, you can do a job after completing your bachelor's, but with a post-graduation, you can get better pay and enhance your skills.
Step 2: Register Yourself
Once you are done with the course, the next step that you need to take is to get yourself registered with the Physiotherapy Board of Australia. Registration is essential and mandatory. Before you begin to practice physiotherapy, ensure that you register with PBA.
You can apply for registration six weeks before you complete your graduation.
Step 3: Complete 20 Hours of CPD
The next step is to complete 20 hours of CPD, Continued Professional Development annually. CPD can consist of presenting education sessions while working, reviewing journals, attending conferences and lectures.
4. What Are the Skills Required to Become a Physiotherapist in Australia?
Like any other profession, physiotherapists will require skills to do this job. The more enhanced your skills are, the better you will be able to do your duty. Take a look at the skills below:
As a physiotherapist, you need to have bespoke communication skills. A physiotherapist will have to meet multiple patients in a day. You need to explain the therapy that you will offer.
A physiotherapist will work within a team, which means they need to have good teamwork skills. By team, we mean occupational therapists, nurses, and doctors.
The specialist must be good with organizational and tie management. The professional will have to manage each appointment and provide their service accordingly. The physiotherapist will also have to maintain documents of every patient.
Since the therapist will meet different types of patients, they need to be good at problem-solving. By using the right skills, the therapist will have to prepare treatment plans and exercises, ultimately improving the patient's health.
Physiotherapy is not a quick fix that will work immediately. It will take time, and therapies can last for months. The specialist must show and have patience while treating patients with severe issues.
5. Types of Jobs a Physiotherapist Can Do?
A physiotherapist can work in different areas depending on their areas of interest. Some of the areas where you will see a physiotherapist working are as follows:
Most of the physiotherapists work for these fields and within the health system. Regardless of the area of expertise, their key responsibilities remain the same throughout different areas.
They need to care for the patient, diagnose their issues, consult with other health professionals, plan their treatment, speak to the patient and family members explaining the therapies the patient will go through and the outcome, and keep note of improvements.
As you climb the ladder of success and become senior, your responsibilities will be more related to training and mentoring junior physiotherapists.
Most of the patients who visit you will ideally be referred to you via hospital consultants, GPs, and hospital ward doctors. Apart from this, you may also receive referrals, meaning patients sent by your patients or other healthcare professionals.
6. How Long Does It Take to Become a Physiotherapist in Australia?
Anyone wanting to be a physiotherapist in Australia has to complete a bachelor of physiotherapy course online or offline. In addition, you will have to study for four years, including your internship. Please note that an internship is compulsory, and without it, you won't be able to complete your degree.
The course will teach you everything about physiotherapy, and the internship will let you have hands-on training. Apart from bachelors, you can do masters as well. If you go for masters, it will be additional two years of education.
7. Is it Hard to Become a Physiotherapist in Australia?
Whether a physiotherapist job is hard or not will mostly depend on how passionate you are about this career. Every career has its ups and downs. Similarly, even physiotherapy jobs will have their advantages and disadvantages.
Take the course duration, for example; you will have to complete bachelors in physiotherapy and training. If you do masters, there will be two more years of education. You will have to be excited to do the physiotherapy job because it can be tiring, just like the rest of the medical health professions.
Therefore, in the end, it will boil down to how you work, how you manage your time, how good you score during your graduation and masters, and how dedicated you are towards this job profile.
8. How to Apply for a Physiotherapy Job in Australia?
Before going for a physiotherapy career, you need to be 100% sure that this is the right career. That's why if you are thinking about this career, spend some time in doing research. Learn about the different subjects you will study, find out about the growth perspective.
Once you are confirmed that physiotherapy is the course you should go for, apply for a bachelor’s degree in physiotherapy. Complete your coursework and internship. Ensure to do the internship properly to understand the work you will have to do.
While doing the internship, start working on your resume. Add your qualification, experience (if any), and internship details. These details are necessary for freshers. In case you are an experienced professional, add the number of years you have worked.
Then start applying for physiotherapy jobs. You can search for jobs in your locality, else drop your resume at a recruitment agency website. They have networks and can help you find a good job. Once you are called for an interview, make sure to work on your communication skills to impress everyone.
9. What is the Salary of a Physiotherapist in Australia?
If you want to know how much physiotherapists earn in Australia, you can expect to earn an average of AUD 80,000-85,000 per annum. That's the median salary of a physiotherapist.
The lowest salary earned is AUD 65,000, and the highest can go beyond AUD 100k. Please note that the salary of a physiotherapist will depend on a lot of factors. For example, where you are applying, your experience, are you a graduate or a post-graduate, the location, and so on.
Salary is always based on these factors. You should aim to apply for good healthcare organizations where the working environment is good, and you get to balance between your professional and personal lives.
10. Where Can You Apply for Physiotherapy Courses in Australia?
Physiotherapy is a highly demanding professional. And since illness and old age are inevitable, the requirement for a physiotherapist will always be there. Here are a few universities in Australia where you can study physiotherapy:
11. Final Words
Your journey of becoming a physiotherapist will become easy if you follow the correct path. First, study the bachelor of physiotherapy, aim for masters, prepare your resume, register yourself, and finally start looking for jobs.
This career is fulfilling and quite gratifying and provides you with a good growth opportunity. So, plan, and do some research.
We hope this guide will help you become a physiotherapist. Study well and good luck!
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