How To Become A Physiotherapist (Physio) In Australia: Explained

Students want to know how they can become physiotherapists in Australia.


Do you like treating people, health, and science and are looking for an active job? If yes, a physiotherapy career could be an ideal career.


Physiotherapists treat and assist people with physical difficulties caused by disability, illness, injury, and old age.


To become a physiotherapist in Australia, you need a bachelor's degree. Moreover, every physiotherapist must register with PBA, the Physiotherapy Board of Australia.


This guide will cover the steps to become a physiotherapist, how long it takes, what qualifications you need, the courses to study, the skills needed, the responsibilities, salary and more.



1. What Does A Physiotherapist Do?


A physiotherapist's job is to treat people 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 goal is to promote the patient's health and well-being and enhance their overall life. As a licensed professionals, a physiotherapist will work closely with their patients and create customized programs that suit their requirements.


They will make patients do specific exercises that allow them to move better, ease their pain, and minimize their dependency on objects and other people. For example, they will massage muscles, manipulate joints, use muscle stimulation devices, stretch muscles, and teach lifestyle activities, 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?


Physiotherapist work with patients who need physiotherapies. The kind of therapy they offer will differ from patient to patient, depending on the issues.


Here's what a typical day for a physiotherapist looks like:


  • You will deal with multiple patients in a day, and the patients will come with varying conditions. Some patients seek physiotherapy because of old age, while others are due to an 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 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 to lead 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 are 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 must inform them about their progress.


Apart from the day-to-day duties, be caring and compassionate towards your patients because they depend on you for their improved health. If there are some challenging patients, maintain calm and listen to them.



3. Steps To Become A Physiotherapist In Australia


To become a physiotherapist, you need a physiotherapy qualification. A bachelor's or a diploma in physiotherapy is a great option. The university or institute you apply for should be accredited by the Physiotherapy Board of Australia.


Follow the steps below to understand the process:



Step 1: Complete A Physiotherapy Degree


After completing high school, you need to research the colleges from which 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.


The subjects to become a physiotherapist in Australia 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


After finishing the course, the next step is registering 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 your graduation.



Step 3: Complete 20 Hours of CPD


The next step is to complete 20 hours of CPD, Continued Professional Development annually. CPD consists of presenting education sessions while working, reviewing journals, and attending conferences and lectures.



4. What Skills Do You Need 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 in a team, which means they must 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 the documents of every patient. 

  • Since the therapist will meet different types of patients, they need to be good at problem-solving. Using the right skills, the therapist must 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 places where you will see a physiotherapist working are as follows:


  • Paediatrics

  • Orthopaedics

  • Ergonomics

  • Sports physiotherapy

  • Musculoskeletal outpatients

  • Neurological physiotherapy

  • Respiratory physiotherapy


Most physiotherapists work in these fields and within the health system. Regardless of the area of expertise, their key responsibilities remain the same throughout different regions.


They must care for the patient, diagnose their issues, consult other health professionals, and plan their treatment. Further, 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 patients visiting a physiotherapist are referrals from hospital consultants, GPs, and hospital ward doctors. 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?


To become a physiotherapist in Australia, you must complete a bachelor of physiotherapy. 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 give you hands-on training. Apart from a bachelor's, you can do a master's as well. If you go for a master's, it will be additional two years of education.



7. Is It Hard To Become A Physiotherapist In Australia?


Whether a physiotherapist job is hard 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 a bachelor's in physiotherapy and training. If you do a master's, 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, manage your time, and score during your graduation and master's, including how dedicated you are to this job profile.



8. How To Apply For A Physiotherapy Job in Australia?


Before going for a physiotherapy career, you must be 100% sure that this is the right career. That's why if you are thinking about this career, spend some time doing research. Learn about the different subjects you will study and the growth perspective.


Once you have decided, apply for a bachelor's degree in physiotherapy. Complete your coursework and internship. Ensure to do an internship 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. If you are an experienced professional, add the 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 invited for an interview, 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 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 a physiotherapist's salary will depend on many factors. For example, where you apply, your graduate or post-graduate experience, and your location.


You should apply to good healthcare organizations where the working environment is good, and you can balance your professional and personal lives.



10. Where Can You Study Physiotherapy Courses in Australia?


Physiotherapy is a highly demanding profession. 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 to becoming a physiotherapist will become easy if you follow the correct path. First, study for a bachelor of physiotherapy, aim for a master's, prepare your resume, register yourself, and start looking for jobs.


This career is fulfilling and quite gratifying and provides 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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