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Profession: Physiotherapist

Qualifications and Registration Requirements

Physiotherapists are university qualified allied health professionals. There are three principal degree programs:

  • A four year Bachelor degree in Physiotherapy or Applied Science (Physiotherapy)
  • A graduate entry Master's program
  • A Doctor of Physiotherapy program

These pathways to physiotherapy qualify the graduate as competent, entry-level physiotherapists eligible to apply for registration with the Physiotherapy registration Board of Australia. Physiotherapists must be registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), Physiotherapy Board of Australia, and meet the Board's Registration Standards, in order to practice in Australia.

What is a Physiotherapist?

Physiotherapy is a health profession which addresses the prevention, assessment and treatment of human movement disorders.

Physiotherapists treat patients with physical difficulties resulting from illness, injury, disability or aging.

Physiotherapists treat people of all ages including children and the elderly.

Physiotherapists work in a range of settings, including hospitals, health centres, industry, private practices and sports clubs.

Physiotherapists assess, diagnose and treat a wide range of clinical presentations which usually involve musculoskeletal, neurological or cardio respiratory disorders.

Conditions and problems Physiotherapists can assist with include:

  • Neurological conditions e.g. Stroke, Parkinsons disease
  • Respiratory conditions e.g. Cystic fibrosis
  • Musculoskeletal conditions e.g. sports injuries, fractures, posture and movement, occupational injuries
  • Multi system and/ or other conditions e.g. Movement disorders in children; rehabilitation after surgery or major injury. Other physical interventions are applied as appropriate for clients in units such as intensive care, obstetrics and gynaecology, palliative care, mental health etc. Physiotherapy also plays a central role in the management and prevention of chronic conditions such as asthma and chronic pain.

What does a Physiotherapist do?

Physiotherapists apply treatment programs based on clinical assessment and reassessment. Interventions applied by Physiotherapists in the management of movement disorders may include (as indicated by assessment):

  • Joint mobilisation and manipulation; massage
  • Exercise and stretches; breathing exercises; hydrotherapy
  • Electrophysical agents e.g. Hot packs, ice, ultrasound

Advice and education to assist people manage their rehabilitation, avoid injuries and maintain physical fitness and health.

Web Links

For information on how to gain recognition of Allied Health qualifications obtained overseas, please contact the relevant professional association as per web links above.