How To Become An Osteopath In Australia: A Complete Guide

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Students want to know how to become osteopaths in Australia.


Do you want to help people by relieving pain using hands-on treatments and therapies? If yes, a career as an osteopath could be right for you.


An osteopath identifies and treats conditions that impact the body's musculoskeletal system.


They apply scientifically proven muscle energy techniques that include massage, stretching, exercise, and manipulation of the joints and muscles to cut the condition's root cause.


This blog will take you through the qualification requirements, courses, degrees, training, certifications, salary, if they are doctors, steps to becoming an osteopath in Australia, and more.



1. What Is Osteopathy?


A thorough knowledge of osteopathy is the first and foremost requisite to becoming an osteopath in Australia. Osteopathy is an established health service practised for more than 100 years in Australia.


It focuses on working the neuro-musculoskeletal system. It includes the skeleton, muscles, nerves, joints, connective tissue, circulation, and internal organs that support the body and administer its movements.


Osteopathy is a holistic medicine that comprises gentle techniques, particularly massage therapy and stretching, to address pain and restore the elasticity and agility of the system.



2. Who Is An Osteopath?


An osteopath in Australia is a government-licensed allied health practitioner trained in physiologypathology, anatomy, osteopathic techniques, and general healthcare diagnosis.


He can examine and detect any condition or dysfunction in the body's neuro-musculoskeletal system. Based on the evaluation, they perform the applicable hands-on therapeutic technique to provide lasting relief to the patient.


People of varying age groups seek an osteopath's assistance to treat pain or discomfort that arises from internal issues or injuries. These include:


  • Headache

  • Mobility issues

  • Neck pain

  • Sciatica

  • Back pain 

  • Hamstring strain

  • Menstrual pain

  • Digestive issues



An osteopath provides assessments, advice, and therapeutic techniques to help eradicate the illness from the root level. Some of these includes:



  • The nervous system, ergonomic and musculoskeletal assessments

  • Manual therapy

  • Clinical exercise programs

  • Advice related to posture, movement, and positioning of the body

  • Therapeutic assistance using needling techniques like acupuncture, trigger point therapy, dry needling, etc. 


In addition to the above, an osteopath in Australia also offers continued support and advice regarding lifestyle, diet, stress management, and other factors that could impact pain, mobility, or injury.



3. Why Should You Choose To Become An Osteopath?


Here are some of the best reasons why you should consider a career as an Osteopath:


  • Osteopathic medicine is among the rapidly growing professions throughout the healthcare sector. It is in high demand in the healthcare world, and the same will continue for the next 100 years.

  • Osteopaths serve in leadership roles in therapeutic care and government.

  • They serve their communities, nation, and the globe to promote health and overall well-being in people. As an osteopathic medical student, you can attend international mission trips that serve nearly 10,000 patients yearly. 

  • Such grand-scale global events offer you an opportunity to provide medical assistance to underserved segments of rural and urban areas.

  • A career in osteopathy is highly satisfying and rewarding if your goal is to become an instrument to bring positive change in the life of people worldwide. 

  • Another reason why you should choose osteopathy as your career is if you want to develop a legacy by offering the best quality health care in the local community and beyond.


And finally, if you want to become trained in treating the patient, including their mind, spirit, and body, becoming an osteopath could be the ideal choice for you.



4. What Does an Osteopath Do?


An osteopath performs a thorough physical examination of the body and determines the inconsistencies in the functioning of the neuro-musculoskeletal system. He analyses the patient's extensive histories to determine the type and extent of disorders.


An osteopath also determines the impact of the injury on one or more organs within the system. He uses remedial measures, such as manipulation, massage, and exercise, to rectify problematic regions and help patients to return to their well-being.


Osteopaths treat patients who suffer from sports-related injuries or arthritis-induced pain. They work in community health centres, physical rehabilitation centres, and as a consultant in sporting and fitness organizations.


Here is a comprehensive list of osteopath duties in Australia:


  • Counsel patients about sleep, anxiety management, and nutrition.

  • Advise patients when they should seek the help of a primary doctor and specialists and liaise with other medical professionals whenever required.

  • Examine the working of the spine and nervous system.

  • Identify patients' issues by considering their case histories, physical check-ups, body movement and structure observation, and medical testing.

  • Organize and preserve patient records that include medical and case histories accurately and adequately.

  • Treat biomechanical complaints such as backache, joint pain, sports injuries, arthritis-induced pain, strain injuries, and stress.

  • Perform manual adjustments such as muscle relaxation, manipulation, soft tissue stretching, and soft mobilization to rectify any dysfunction in the muscles, bones, and joints.

  • Design, supervise, administer, and review nutritional and exercise programs.

  • Educate patients and their family members about positive lifestyle changes and easy-to-do home exercises to improve a patient's overall well-being and health.



5. What Skills Does an Osteopath Need?


Employers in Australia look for the following skills in an osteopath:


  • Interested in human anatomy and health science

  • Independent

  • Highly motivated

  • Understanding

  • Good communication and interpersonal skills

  • Good hand-eye coordination

  • Caring and emphatic

  • Like to serve humanity 

  • Friendly demeanour



6. How Can You Qualify For A Career As An Osteopath?


You need to fulfil the following osteopath qualifications in Australia:


  • Good knowledge of English, chemistry, mathematics, physics, and biology. 

  • A university degree in clinical sciences majoring in osteopathic studies. A Master's qualification in osteopathy afterwards.


Alternatively, you can undertake a double degree in osteopathy, majoring in applied science and health science.


To practice as an osteopath, a student should have the following documents:


  • A National Police Certificate

  • A Provide First Aid Certificate

  • A Working with Children Check (WWC)

  • University-level training

  • Register with the Osteopathy Board of Australia

  • Exhibit high professional standards

  • Complete a minimum continuing professional development CPD every year.



7. How To Become An Registered Osteopath In Australia?


Here is the pathway to obtaining a license to work as an Osteopath in Australia:


  • The first and foremost step to becoming a licensed Osteopath in Australia is to complete an undergraduate degree, i.e., a bachelor's degree majoring in Health Science and Applied Science.


  • To practice as a licensed osteopath, supplement it with a Master's level course of 1 or 2 years in osteopathy in an accredited program.


  • Once you gain the osteopath qualifications, the next step is registering with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency through the application process. AHPRA is the governing body of health practitioners. Only those osteopaths who fulfil the ethical and academic standards of AHPRA qualify to register. 


  • Renew AHPRA registration once every year to keep your license active. You can do this by showcasing the necessary CPD, recentness of practice, and professional indemnity insurance.


  • You should also have an existing First Aid certificate.



8. What Are The Working Conditions For An Osteopath?


Many osteopaths working in a public/private centre or are self-employed find the job highly satisfying and rewarding. They engage in providing private medical practices and specialist services in areas of pain management and elderly-care facilities.


Talking about Australia, most osteopaths are self-employed and run their primary practice.


They have a flexible work schedule wherein the working hours depend on the number of patients they need to serve in a day. Sometimes, they may require working on weekends and late evenings at the patient's convenience.


However, newly qualified osteopaths work in the private sector part-time or full-time. They often work with an established clinic to get decent work experience before entering practice. 


Osteopaths would generally conduct their tasks and duties in a consulting room. It could be a medical or a healthcare centre.


Suppose a patient is not in a condition to visit the centre. In that case, an osteopath can also visit their home to provide them with treatment/therapy. In that case, an osteopath must have an existing driver's license.


Osteopaths have a high level of networks with people in their related fields. They work in association with surgeonsphysiotherapistsmidwivesmedical practitioners, podiatrists, and alternative medical practitioners.


When necessary, osteopaths refer their patients to the appropriate medical professional for the best treatment and speedy recovery.



9. What Are The Job Prospects Of An Osteopath In Australia?


Osteopathy is the fastest-progressing health industry that is practised in more than fifty nations in the world. It has made a phenomenal annual contribution of more than 500 million AUS dollars to the Australian economy.


Job prospects of an osteopath in Australia depend on the area where you wish to practice, along with the extent of awareness of these allied medical practitioners.


Talking about employment opportunities, a qualified osteopath can work in a multitude of healthcare settings:


  • Private practice clinics

  • Private/public hospitals

  • Maternal health centres

  • Community organizations



The elderly population growth and increasing use of therapies to eliminate stress and pain will lead to new employment opportunities for osteopaths.


All these factors ensure that the job prospects for osteopaths are estimated to grow faster than other jobs in Australia.



10. How Much Does An Osteopath Earn In Australia?


You can find osteopaths in almost every state and territory throughout Australia. Victoria records the highest number of employed osteopaths. Looking at the past few decades, the number of osteopaths has nearly doubled in each decade.


For an average working week of 35 hours, an osteopath draws between $85000 to $90,000 in Australia.


In Australia, a registered osteopath with below five years of experience earns around $60K a year. However, their experienced counterparts earn between $75K and $93K per annum.


State-wise osteopath salary based on the past two years' data:


  • New South Wales: earns between $70k and $80k every year

  • Victoria: earns between $80k and $90k per year

  • Queensland: earns between $70k and $80k per year



11. Relevant Certifications And Courses To Become An Osteopath In Australia


To gain osteopath qualifications and make a career in Osteopathy in Australia, a student should complete relevant courses in Australia. 


These courses train osteopaths in diagnosing, administering, and treating pain disorders related to the musculoskeletal system.


The bachelor of osteopathy combines traditional medical testing procedures, physical assessment methods, motion testing and palpation skills to diagnose and treat a patient's condition.


Students who study osteopathy postgraduate courses learn the following:


  • General healthcare consultation 

  • Soft-tissue techniques

  • Joint mobilization

  • Joint manipulation

  • Exercise rehabilitation



Bachelor of Clinical Sciences - Osteopathic Studies at Southern Cross University


Bachelor of Health Science / Bachelor of Applied Science – Osteopathy at RMIT University


Bachelor of Science - Osteopathy/Master of Health-Science - Osteopathy at Victoria University (VU)



Diploma in Biomedical Science at Australian Catholic University


The diploma course provides a broad understanding of significant concepts. It also incorporates units from the Bachelor of Biomedical Science course. The course helps students develop essential knowledge, skills, attributes, and understanding to study this discipline further.


The below institutions offer tertiary osteopathy degrees in Australia:


  • Southern Cross University

  • RMIT University Melbourne

  • Victoria University Melbourne



After completing their courses, students can pursue further osteopathy postgraduate courses at Victoria University and RMIT University. It helps improve their chances of securing a work placement in an osteopathic clinic in Australia.



12. FAQ's On Becoming An Osteopath In Australia



What Are The Key Osteopathic Bodies In Australia?




What Do I Have To Study To Become an Osteopath?


To practice as an Osteopath in Australia, you need to gain a thorough understanding of human physiology and anatomy. As osteopathy is a holistic approach to health, an osteopath also needs to study the organ systems that contribute to the biological procedures of the body.


An osteopathy course provides comprehensive learning about different aspects of science. These include anatomy, pathology, general medical diagnosis, osteopathic techniques, and physiology.



Where Can I Study Osteopathy In Australia?


Several universities and schools in Australia offer courses to help you earn the necessary osteopath qualifications. 


Enrol in the right Australian university on the following parameters:


  • It offers both undergraduate and postgraduate courses in osteopathic studies.

  • It excels in your study area.

  • It provides coaching on all aspects of osteopathy that will help you secure an osteopath degree.

  • It is a nationally accredited and recognized course curriculum by key osteopathic bodies. 

  • Finally, the university has to be recognized by Australia's peak osteopathic bodies organizations. It will enable you to register with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency and get your dream job and indemnity insurance.



How Long Does It Take To Become an Osteopath Doctor?


To become qualified and begin your practice in osteopathy, you must complete a 3-year bachelor's degree. After, you must study for a 2-year master's degree in osteopathic medicine. In total, it will take five years to become an osteopath doctor.



Are Osteopaths Equivalent To Doctors In Australia?


An osteopath is a medical practitioner. They receive more in-depth holistic medicine coaching than a medical student receives.


An osteopath is a Doctor of Osteopathy. He is a physician who is licensed to practice surgery and medicine. The requirements of an osteopathic medical school are the same as those of prerequisite science courses and M.D. schools.


Just like M.D.s, and D.O.s who undergo residency training and internships in standard medical specialties, osteopaths have to do the same in their practice areas. 


Like M.D. schools, osteopaths also have to complete the 4-year curriculum course to develop a solid base in medical science coursework to offer direct patient care experience.



How Is Osteopathic Medicine Different?


Osteopathy believes in the holistic treatment of the health issue of a patient. 


It comprises several hands-on techniques that include stretching, spinal manipulation, and massage therapy to address the root cause of the health issue in the body.



Where Can I Work as an Osteopath In Australia?


An osteopath primarily works in private practices. However, he can also work in a broad array of health settings. 


This includes multidisciplinary medical or health clinics, professional sports clubs, aged care facilities, rehabilitation clinics, government, severe pain management facilities, and research institutes.



What Does It Take To Get Admission Into Medical school?


Admission to an osteopathic medical school is competitive. The committee board of members that chooses applicants for admission is quite selective.


An osteopathic medical school looks for various personal attributes in an applicant for admission. 


To enhance your selection chances, you need to have academic excellence such as:


  • Education

  • Undergraduate degree

  • Medical school prerequisites

  • Extracurriculars that include experience in clinical, vocational, and research work

  • At least three letters of recommendation (one should be from a medical doctor)

  • GPA

  • Average matriculant total GPA: 3.73

  • Average matriculant science GPA: 3.66


Medical schools also admit students from broad and non-conventional backgrounds, such as administrators, business executives, managers, attorneys, newspaper reporters, and professional musicians.


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